After Hours

iPods endanger pacemaker patients

We've all been in hospitals and seen the signs warning us not to use cell phones because of possible dangers to patients on delicate electronic equipment, but a Michigan high school student has found that iPods interfered with about one-third of implanted pacemakers tested.

The Denver Post (among multiple other publications) is reporting that a study of 83 patients conducted by Okemos High School student Jay Thayer and Dr. Krit Jongnarangsin, a University of Michigan cardiologist, found that having iPods even within 18 inches of a patient's chest could cause false telemetry readings and, in one instance, actually caused the pacemaker to fail.

And lest you think the test was biased because the elderly patients might merely have been reacting in revulsion to hip-hop or rap music played on the iPods, the researchers report that they conducted the test using Old Blue Eyes (Sinatra) tunes. Apple, which has sold nearly 100 million copies of the devices, has not responded to the reports.

Although it was the iPod model used for testing, these results are likely to trigger studies on all other brands of similar devices. Not only does this mean that people with pacemakers should avoid using iPods — it also means no hugs from grandkids wearing iPods. In addition, healthcare workers and caregivers should not be permitted to use them.

Hey, I'm NOT making this up, this really is a potential danger!

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