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iPod makes pacemakers skip a beat

A new study finds the music devices can interfere with pacemakers.

Culture

A new study has determined that iPods can cause pacemakers to malfunction.

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The report, presented at the Heart Rhythm Society annual meeting in Denver, was authored by a teenager and medical doctors, who conducted the study at the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University.

The study found that electrical interference was detected half of the time when the iPod was held just 2 inches from the patient's chest for 5 to 10 seconds. The study looked at 100 patients whose mean age was 77. iPods were the only type of portable music device tested.

The report's authors said the effect may not have been noticed before because pacemaker recipients are not typically iPod users.

Apple fans were, predictably, outraged.

Blog community response:

"We'd really liked to have been there to see him try and pitch this study of his to the variety of seniors with heart problems who participated (they averaged 77 years of age), but don't get alarmed, we have a feeling your grandparents -- who've probably never even heard of that newfangled iPoddie doohickie -- won't find out first hand whether this is the real deal."
--Engadget

"So what have we learned? It's not that electronics produce electromagnetic frequencies capable of killing grandpa. No, the moral of the story remains the same as always: Don't strap electronics to the chests of people with pacemakers."
--Crunchgear

"At one point or another, it seems like every new technology or gadget gets a story where it's either deemed safe or harmful to pacemakers -- such as when some mobile phones were said to interfere with some older pacemakers, while a flimsy-sounding study said WiFi was safe."
--Techdirt

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