iPods Can Cause Pacemakers to Malfunction, Study Finds

Just call him Doogie Howser.

A Michigan high school student has discovered that electromagnetic interference from iPods can cause pacemakers to malfunction, Reuters reported.

Jay Thaker, 17, a student at Okemos High School in Okemos, Mich., presented his findings at the Heart Rhythm Society's annual meeting in Denver on Thursday. The 100-patient study conducted at the Thoracic and Cardiovascular Institute at Michigan State University examined the effects of the popular digital music players on the sensitive heart monitoring equipment.

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Electrical interference was detected half of the time when an iPod was held just 2 inches from the patient’s chest for 5 to 10 seconds. In certain circumstances, the devices could cause problems with heart devices from 18 inches away. A pacemaker for one of the 100 patients involved study stopped functioning all together.

More than 1 million pacemakers are implanted in people worldwide each year. Apple has sold over 100 million iPods since it launched the product in 2001.

Thaker says he now wants to do a similar study involving iPods and implantable cardioverter defibrillators.