Pacemakers and iPods, a DangerousCombination?
We know that cell phones producefrequencies which can be dangerous for us, especially if we possessheart problems which are treated by the installment of pacemakers.However, not only cell phones contribute to this issue since thereare many other things we use often, being capable of disrupting thesedevices. For example, even though everyone was skeptic when thispossible issue was initially mentioned, iPods may be a dangerouscombination to go with you and your pacemaker, however, strange thismight sound. People often consider this music player benign andincapable of causing anyone harm. Unfortunately, researches onthe topic proved things to be quite different and the situationsignificantly more serious.
The iPod Problem
The first thing scientists noticed about iPods,once they tested them, is that if iPods were held near the chest area of patientswith pacemakers for several seconds, these 'benign' music playersinterfered with the proper working of the pacemaker. Namely, in 50% ofcases, interference of some sort was triggered by the action.
What is more, in 29% of the cases, iPodseemed to make the pacemaker misread certain heartbeat information.Furthermore, in 20% of the cases, these health devices reportedproblems where there were not any. Finally, there was a single caseduring the tests, where an iPod caused the pacemaker to cease workingcompletely.
However, the situation became even moredangerous, as it was revealed that iPods, even when held farther away fromone's chest, were still capable of causing disruptions. This made allpeople who have pacemakers in danger even when being near people orplaces with iPods.
Even though older people tend to avoidadvanced technical gadgets like iPods, there are still individualswho are younger but have pacemakers installed, and older folks withthe same problem, who like to enjoy music wherever they go. This canpresent a problem and this research has helped us realize it.
An interesting thing about this wholeissue is that a 17-year-old student was the first to have doubted theneutral effect of iPod music players and pacemakers. This young mantriggered the whole groundbreaking research and has possibly savedmany lives so far, not even being aware of it. Knowing this effectmakes doctors capable of establishing better diagnosis, not mistakinginterference with actual results. Also, it makes people withpacemakers aware that they should be more careful since manydifferent things may cause them problems with the device which iskeeping their heart alive.