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iPods and Pacemakers Don't Mix

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the listen-to-your-heart dept.

Media (Apple) 152

fermion writes "The Register reports a study that indicates that iPods and pacemakers do not get along. While there do not appear to be any long term effects, iPods disrupt the operation of the pacemaker. It is noted that such effects have not previously been observed as iPods do seem to be popular with the pacemaker-wearing population."

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152 comments

Frist Post (1, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077711)

I've already patented the iPacemaker add-on for the iPod!! w00t!

Re:Frist Post (1)

MrNormS (1002849) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077783)

I hope it matches your heartbeat to the beat of the song you're listening to.

Re:Frist Post (4, Funny)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077889)

Yeah, that's the problem with this thing.

I originally tried it out with some favorite DeathSpeedMetal tunes, but alas, it induced extreme fibrillation- had to reload my iPacemaker with neil diamond. Now I can't even get out of my chair from in front of my computer.
Oh well, nothing lasts forever. *sigh*

Re:Frist Post (5, Funny)

bccomm (709680) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078193)

neil diamond

Still searching for that artificial heart of gold, eh? I know the feeling.

Re:Frist Post (1)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078759)

Hah Hah Hah LOL!

Still able to fly over a curb, faster than a speeding tortois, able to leap a fire hydrant on one my GOOD DAYS, and to top it off...huh? what?... HEY YOU KIDS,GET OFF OF MY LAWN! Oh, where was I?...Nevermind!\

(BTW: Date of Birth: 02/16/58: DOB != Older Than Dirt--please?!!!!

Re:Frist Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19079129)

"Heart of Gold" was Neil Young, jackass.

Re:Frist Post (0, Redundant)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077903)

That's the last black metal music I'll ever listen to then... if my heart beat that fast it would probably kill me...

Re:Frist Post (5, Funny)

Goldberg's Pants (139800) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077959)

"Look at that guy dancing to his iPod..."
"He's not dancing, he's having a coronary!"
"Either way, he's got good rhythm!"

Re:Frist Post (1)

that this is not und (1026860) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078687)

By definition, pacemaker recipients have bad rhythm.

Unless they're the animals used as test subjects in the 'dog lab.' Then they've just got bad luck.

iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (2)

Saint V Flux (915378) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077727)

Well what the hell is someone with a pacemaker doing jogging in the first place? It could kill them!

Re:iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (5, Informative)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078093)

Despite the fact that you've been modded into oblivion, I'll respond because it's a fairly common belief that people with heart problems requiring a pacemaker are always restricted in terms of their cardiovascular activity. In fact, pacemakers are often prescribed to treat symptoms such as exercise intolerance, and the patients who have them can often exercise just as vigorously as anyone else (barring other physical problems). A quick googling turned up this American Heart Association paper [ahajournals.org] which details many of the common misconceptions associated with pacemaker use.

Re:iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (1)

Saint V Flux (915378) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078251)

It's called a JOKE. You might want to google it since you obviously don't know what one is.

Re:iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (1)

Babbster (107076) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078499)

Good, good. Glad to hear it. I'm sorry that I didn't get (and still don't get) your joke.

Re:iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (1)

Saint V Flux (915378) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078581)

The joke is about how you see all these people jogging with iPods. Therefore (using flawed logic), only people who jog use iPods. We obviously know that this isn't true, and that was the joke. I never said it was a good joke, just a joke!

Re:iPods and pacemakers don't mix?! (2, Funny)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079861)

I think the problem here is simple: joke - funny = stupid statement. You got caught in the whirlwind is all.

Ipod only? (4, Insightful)

yakumo.unr (833476) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077739)

Despite them being by far the most popular portable digital player, why would this focus purely on the ipod? how can they possibly be doing this, and it not be a problem for other players?

Re:Ipod only? (1)

megamerican (1073936) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077855)

The mean age of the study was 77. I don't imagine many people at that age use mp3 players very often. You would think that they'd use other devices, but the iPod has such a large market share over anything else. Now that they know the iPod can cause problems for pacemakers, the next step would be to test similar devices. Why waste your time with 50 devices when you aren't sure if there will be a problem with one? The iPod is clearly the logical choice to start a study.

You would think that after doing a study on iPods only and finding such surprising results that they would start studying other devices.

Re:Ipod only? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078139)

Maybe the iPod a large market share compared to any other single player, but I see a lot more people with portable CD players (discman) than with iPods. They aren't all specifically 1 brand or model, but they are a lot more prominent.

Re:Ipod only? (2, Interesting)

johnpaul191 (240105) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078361)

as of last year i read somewhere that in the USA portable CD players (discmans) still outsold digital music players something like 5:1. not sure where they are going, i feel like i see digital players of some flavor everywhere i look.

Re:Ipod only? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078669)

they are cheaper by a huge margin.
I'm sure that's got a lot to do with it.
you don't need a PC to use a diskman, that too must count for many sales.
-nB

Re:Ipod only? (1)

Nalgas D. Lemur (105785) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079109)

I just saw someone with a Discman/portable CD player of some sort a day or two ago, and it occurred to me how few of them I see now. It really does seem like the vast majority of what I see these days is iPods and similar. I would say that maybe it's because I hang around nerdy tech people, except I usually see people listening to things like that while I'm riding the bus or subway, which have pretty much all kinds of people on them.

Re:Ipod only? (3, Insightful)

Misch (158807) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078197)

Jay Thaker, a student at Okemos High School in Michigan, co-authored the the report with a friend of his father, Dr. Krit Jongnarangsin, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Michigan.

High school student & assistant medical professor doing the study. Probably not a lot of money to go around and get lots of devices there. Probably used what they had on hand.

Easy... (5, Funny)

adona1 (1078711) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077937)

They did try to do the same study with the Zune, but were unable to find anyone to participate

Re:Easy... (0)

rts008 (812749) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078069)

Is that what they mean by 'Plays For Sure'?

Imagine the BSOD with you're pacemaker!

Spectator1: Hey, that dude is turning blue and flopping around on the ground!

Spectator2: Look at the grip he has on his Zune and his chest!

Spectator1: Yeah, BSOD Plays For Sure, let's grab a cup of coffee before we have to get back.

Spectator2: Cool, entertainment AND coffee on our break....it's great to be alive!

The answer is obvious (2, Funny)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077949)

It's because the iPod has DRM.

(not only that; you should see how long it takes to copy a 17 megabyte file from an ipod to a pacemaker!)

touch sensor, maybe (4, Insightful)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078035)

how can they possibly be doing this, and it not be a problem for other players?

Well, for one thing, the touch-sensitive scroll-wheel is somewhat (though certainly not completely) unique. They use capacitive touch sensing. They utilize a low-voltage, low current AC voltage to measure the change in capacitance when you move your finger over the sensor. The googles say 102kHz is common.

My "second generation" nano produces a high-pitched noise whenever it's on- it's noticeable if you have it within 2 feet or so of your head. I'm pretty sure it is the inverter that generates the AC current, but if it's 120kHz, that shouldn't be possible, unless there's a resonant frequency in the audible range.

Maybe the sensor just happens to use a frequency that confuses pacemakers. Now that Apple is aware of the problem, they might do some testing and change it on future iPods.

Re:touch sensor, maybe (3, Informative)

hazem (472289) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078335)

My "second generation" nano produces a high-pitched noise whenever it's on- it's noticeable if you have it within 2 feet or so of your head. I'm pretty sure it is the inverter that generates the AC current, but if it's 120kHz, that shouldn't be possible, unless there's a resonant frequency in the audible range.

That's a known problem and you can get a warranty replacement. I bought one and as soon as I turned it on I notice the sound. Googled and found many people complained about it. I called the mac store and they said bring it back and they gave me a replacement with no hassles.

Re:Ipod only? (4, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078133)

Here is a list of at least 30 common devices [guidant.com] that would probably interfere with a pacemaker. This is nothing new. All pacemaker patients are told about this when they first get one. The iPod angle was just a way to get the story in the news.

Re:Ipod only? (5, Insightful)

bay43270 (267213) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078641)

Patients aren't told as much as you would think. When my infant son got his, we were given a list that basically included anything wireless. It wasn't until we asked around a little before we got more reasonable information.

With that in mind, this article taught me something new. I had always assumed interference was related to the wireless nature of pacemakers. My son's is regularly re-programmed via a wireless device set anywhere near his chest. I had assumed if there was a problem it would be related to whatever memory was being programmed. The ipod article suggests the interference is just an interruption between the device and its leads. They suggest the interference won't cause lasting problems once the patient is separated from the interfering device. That's not something that was in the 50 page booklet that they provided with the pacemaker.

Re:Ipod only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19079403)

wow....that is a pretty exhaustive list...
what would be the motivation to getting a pacemaker, if you weren't allowed to live afterwards??

why wouldn't pacemakers have been upgraded to adapt to our ever changing lifestyles? Ipods have already have like 5 generations....when can we expect a 2nd gen. pacemaker that is compatible with other electronic devices??

Re:Ipod only? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079957)

Might wanna reread the column headers there. Most of "livin'" falls in the first column, which is labeled, "safe." I would assume safe means safe. I am curious as to why scuba diving would be verboten. It's not electronic, and if it's the pressure thing, then "travel to high-altitude biomes" should also be forbidden. Like, no more trips from LA to Aspen...

Re:Ipod only? (1)

Xaker (472139) | more than 6 years ago | (#19080045)

Agreed. EMI is nothing new. I am unsure how some 17-year old got an article everywhere considering that it's not really "news". I figure he picked the main topics that people want to hear about death/danger + popular technology (iPod)

Re:Ipod only? (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078175)

Get real! The idea of someone with a pacemaker dying with a Zune in their hand is laughable. If fact, such a person would more likely die from embrassment than a pacemaker failure.

Re:Ipod only? (1)

vishbar (862440) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079013)

Get real! The idea of someone with a pacemaker dying with a Zune in their hand is laughable. If fact, such a person would more likely die from embrassment than a pacemaker failure.

Well don't stop there! The idea of anyone, pacemaker or no, dying with a Zune in their hand is laughable! Actually....well, the idea of anyone with a Zune in their hand, living or dead, is laughable in itself :-).

wait a min (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077747)

The interference usually just caused the equipment to misread the heart's pacing, but one case caused the pacemaker to stop working entirely. none of the symptoms are life-threatening, and the pacemakers returned to normal when the iPods were shut off.
I wouldn't be so sure about that, what concerns me is that it can cause the pacemaker to misread the heart rhythm, the actual heart rhythm can be disrupted if the pacemaker doesn't work right- and if it happens during driving or something like that it xan be life threatening.

Re:wait a min (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078287)

...and if it happens during driving or something like that it xan be life threatening.

Everybody who uses their iPod while driving is life threatening.

No way in heck (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077749)

This study is prima facie complete BS. iPods emit less RF than pretty much anything else in the environment around you. They have to meet FCC Part 15 and other international standards, just like any other device.

If someone's pacemaker is acting up, it had better not be an iPod causing it, or that person had better move into a Faraday cage.

File this under "OMG cell phones kill bees!!!11!"

Re:No way in heck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19079051)

You are correct.

Re:No way in heck (2, Insightful)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079449)

First off, the various standards only set a maximum limit for interference. It is practically impossible to eliminate it entire and the iPod certainly emits its fair share. Secondly, since the heart's electrical signals do not generate very much current, the pacemaker's sensing leads are necessarily very sensitive. They are so sensitive that they will pick up interference from nearby EMI sources. It's a known problem with the fundamental concept of a pacemaker. The manufacturers do their best to protect against it, but mostly the only thing you can do is maintain physical distance.

Meaningless. (0)

Ihlosi (895663) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079695)

They have to meet FCC Part 15 and other international standards, just like any other device.



Sorry, but you seem to be unaware that the FCC has exactly zero to do with pacemakers.


Heck. Even ECGs (that are fully compliant to FDA/AAMI specs) can affect pacemakers (which are also completely compliant to any regulations), simply because there is no rule about things like what frequency a certain device may use to measure respiration (it's done by measuring the impedance across the chest at a certain frequency in the 10's of kHz range, using a few hundred nA of current). Pacemaker and ECG are using the same frequency ? You're in trouble.

iPods *do* seem to be popular? (2, Insightful)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077753)

"It is noted that such effects have not previously been observed as iPods do seem to be popular with the pacemaker-wearing population." Is this a typo?

Re:iPods *do* seem to be popular? (2)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077801)

Yes.

The reason why it this hasn't been caught before?
"Most pacemaker patients are not iPod users," Jongnarangsin said. ®

Re:iPods *do* seem to be popular? (1)

resequenced (656161) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077885)

I was wondering the same thing. I'm guessing it was meant to say "do not".

Though, it could be emphasis that the issue is more prevalent with newer generation iPods, and noting that despite their popularity the effects hadn't been observed before. I don't think it'd be note-worthy to say "We didn't notice because people with pacemakers just never used iPods."

(no subject) (1)

blhack (921171) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077765)

This is actually quite startling. What exactly inside of the ipod is giving off interference that effects the pacemaker? Is it the hard disk? If so, there is most likely quite a few more devices that could cause disruption.

Clearly this is a covert terrorist attempt by toshiba against bush!!!! Toshiba KNEW bush would buy an ipod, and thats why they included the secret ray gun device emmitter in their hardrives!!

-toshiba killed my best friend
--I am an american
---I am an american
----I am an american

Misquote in summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077771)

FTA:

"Most pacemaker patients are not iPod users,"...

Shouldn't the summary read:

"...iPods do not seem to be popular with the pacemaker-wearing population."

Just an observation to clear things up, as I don't think my grandfather will ever rock out to an iPod.

I knew it! Apple makes such shitty products (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077819)

I didn't know it would extend to killing. It still hasn't surprised me though. Apple should be sued out of existance and all apple-loving fucktards, like the linsux/open-sores-loving fucktards, should end fucking it all by slitting their fucking wrists.

GO AHEAD FUCKING FLAME AWAY OR WASTE YOUR GODDAMNED MODPOINTS FUCKTARDED SHITDOT SHEEPLE!!!

Re:I knew it! Apple makes such shitty products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078309)

Your ideas intrigue me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

iRobot (2, Funny)

ghoul (157158) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077853)

In further investigation it was found this effect is present only in the new fifth generation iPods when the red light is on. Apple has denied plans for world domination by sending signals to iPods to control peoples minds. "Ridiculous", said an Apple spokesman "Our brain control waves are on a totally different wavelenth than the heart stopping killer waves" Inestigators have also come across reports of a single iPod mini going around turning off the waves

Returns (4, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077859)

And why are you returning this product today sir ? Has it quit functioning properly ? Would you like to trade it in for a new one ?

Nah, it killed grandpa, I want my money back.

must be a slow news day.... (3, Interesting)

blankmange (571591) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077895)

so this is a valid study? a 17-year-old high school student tested 100 pacemaker-wearing subjects with only iPods (and no other MP3 devices)..... yeah...

Re:must be a slow news day.... (2, Funny)

networkzombie (921324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078705)

Are you kidding? Let's send an iPod to Dick Cheney ASAP! Wait... am I posting anonymously?

Re:must be a slow news day.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19079447)

I was going to suggest pummeling him with a few hundred high velocity iPods, that old bastard is a toughie.

Just iPods? What's going on, Apple? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077897)

Wow, Apple have really dropped the ball if only their MP3 player interferes with pacemakers, while every other company that produces similar devices has somehow taken that into consideration in the design of their products.

Why do people say "iPod" when referring to any portable music player? This is something I'd expect from a young kid or an old woman who doesn't realize there's more than one brand available. But not from Slashdot.

Re:Just iPods? What's going on, Apple? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078179)

RTFA you stupid dickhead. it WAS written by some 17 yo and all he tried was an ipod

Re:Just iPods? What's going on, Apple? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078457)

Wow. Anonymity really brings out the worse of people, doesn't it? You should learn some manners, buddy.

I read the article. I realize they only tested the iPods. But that wasn't the point of my post, and a cleverer person would have realized that. There is nothing intrinsically different about an iPod that other players or similar devices wouldn't also exhibit, particularly when you're talking about electromagnetic emissions. It's like saying, "Coke is bad for you, but I won't mention any other similar cola because I didn't have time to test them."

The article almost implies that you're better off with an alternative music player, when in reality, they would all have the same effect on the pacemakers. Are you starting to get the point now? Glad to hear it! :D

where's all the EM noise coming from (0, Redundant)

uncreativ (793402) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077899)

Is the electromagnetic noise coming from the hard drive? Wouldn't many other devices, besides just iPods, cause the same kinds of problems?

I can understand microwaves and particle accelerators :) causing problems with folks who have pacemakers. It would appear they should be concerned aout much more. I would think manufacturers of pacemakers have some responsibility to make their devices handle the everydy environment they work in. Do cell phones break pace makers? Those who have pacemakers just aren't able to avoid electronics.

Re:where's all the EM noise coming from (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078169)

I work for a pacemaker company and have personally seen the vast amount of engineering and V&V that goes into a new pacemaker. Pacemakers aren't just slapped together by a 4 or 5 guys in a weekend, and the FDA says "Yeah that looks about right." They are built over the course of years, by teams of dozens and dozens of hardware and software engineers with a mind numbing amount of V&V. Then the FDA goes through their literally thousands of test results with a fine tooth comb.

That said, I think the biggest problem I could see happening is if an external device somehow managed to fake out a "wake up and communicate" pulse and caused an unnecessary power drain on the pacemaker.

uh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077901)

as iPods do seem to be popular with the pacemaker-wearing population.


the ipod, no, but the zune is sure being aimed towards the fossil market, at least according to steve ballmer.

This is a bit biased... (4, Interesting)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077907)

iPods obviously meet FCC regulations for RF emissions.

The real concern is why pacemakers are made so they are susceptible to such interference. What happens when a user is exposed to an intentional RF radiator [wikipedia.org] , which would be expected to put out much more power, and consequently cause problems at much greater distance?

It should be obvious that more study must be done - at what frequencies are pacemakers most affected? Might an 802.11 device, for example, be even more disruptive?

Re:This is a bit biased... (0)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#19077965)

It's the rare-earth magnet in the harddrive. The easiest solution would be to get a nano.

That is not... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078049)

stated in the article, or any reference to this issue that I can find. Can you provide a cite to back that up?

If it were true, the the title would be even more misleading, since it's not all iPods, but is all harddrives.

Of even more concern would be the danger posed by something as simple as refrigerator magnets. In a simple experiment, I could easily pick up paperclips with refrigerator magnets, but was completely unable to do so with a hard drive based iPod.

Re:That is not... (2, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078221)

stated in the article, or any reference to this issue that I can find. Can you provide a cite to back that up? If it were true, the the title would be even more misleading, since it's not all iPods, but is all harddrives.

The article is misleading, yes, but it is not the magnet that's doing the interference. In 1995 cell phones [fda.gov] were also found to interfere with pacemakers at the same range. This is not news, there are a number of devices [guidant.com] that can interfere with pacemakers -- all patients with pacemakers already know this.

Re:This is a bit biased... (2, Informative)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078771)

802.x frequencies generally don't cause any problem if they stay in the frequency range, but at extremely close proximity any RF source would give significant power to frequencies outside this range and could contribute to noise seen by the device...

In fact, Guidant released a defibrillator/pacer awhile back that programmed wirelessly, I believe in the 802.11 spectrum.

http://www.guidant.com/news/500/web_release/nr_000 570.shtml [guidant.com]

This opens up a whole realm of bad possibilities, to your ambitious neighbor kid reprogramming your device to accidental interference. Of course, the engineers prepared for this -- one must initiate programming with a wand / frequency outside 802.11, which only has a range of 2 inches. Thus, there can be no drive-by hacking of the device. This wireless device is not used much (in fact, I've never seen one outside the research setting) as the wireless convenience of programming was still regarded as a security / safety risk and did not really add too much utility...

Re:This is a bit biased... (2, Informative)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079485)

The real concern is why pacemakers are made so they are susceptible to such interference.
The heart's electrical signals are very weak, so the pacemaker's sensing leads have to be incredibly sensitive in order to pick them up. Unfortunately, any ungrounded wire is an antenna, so that hyper sensitivity means that they pick up noise, even from sources that meet FCC regulations. Since the exposed lead has to be in physical contact with the heart at some point, there's no 100% effective way to eliminate the noise. It's a known problem with the very concept of a pacemaker.

Correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19077973)

It is noted that such effects have not previously been observed as iPods do not seem to be popular with the pacemaker-wearing population.
Also, does this affect HDD and flash based ipods?

Pure Sensationlism (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078051)

I'm an engineer who works for a pacemaker company, and from what I've understood on this hype, the iPod is just disrupting communication with the cardiologist's programming station. "The equipment to misread the heart's pacing" is misunderstood as the pacemaker missing the heart's pace, but I believe it much more likely to be the programming station missing the real time EKG stream to the programming station. With the exception of that lone device, I bet the rest of the pacemakers paced and performed as properly as they could with a noisy communication channel. The communication protocols for the devices I've worked on are often wrapped with many parity checks and CRCs. And yes, modern pacemakers are even run through lengthy tests of randomly hitting them with a multitude of communication errors to make sure these situations are covered.

So in short, this is just a poorly written and misleading article that is going to feed off the public's misunderstanding of technology.

Re:Pure Sensationlism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078235)

That was my initial thought as well...it was disrupting the programming station or whatever device was used to monitor/record the cardiac information. I have a pacemaker and an iPod and have not experienced any problems.

Re:Pure Sensationlism (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078357)

Speaking as a pacemaker recipient, I realized that the last time I was in for a pacemaker checkup, the docter made an adjustment to one of the settings.

Then it dawned on me that he was programming my heart (More correctly, sripting, or pointy-clicking.)

But that's one device I'll never be able to program.

And I'm freaking jealous. /Cyborg since 2006 //Waves the flag that the Robots made

I'm going to make an exception... (0)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078351)

and respond to an AC.

Assuming you actually are who you claim, how is this communications done? I would assume that it's done with inductive coupling. If so, what is the interference mechanism?

Re:Pure Sensationlism (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078673)

I think The Register has been accused of hosting a significant anti-Apple bias several times in the past. I really don't read the site so I don't really know. If they were out for page hits, then they can easily pull a Dvorak and publish sensationalist stories when they find a low-hit day.

No problems with my pacemaker (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078099)

I'm 31 and I've got a pacemaker (implanted when I was 17) and I have not experienced any problems when using my 5th generation iPod. I don't keep the iPod on top of my pacemaker, either, but I can't recall ever having a problem when using the iPod. I use lots of wireless devices as well (blackberry pearl, MS wireless keyboard, bluetooth headset, etc) and don't experience any problems. Again, as the manufacturers of the devices and the pacemakers recommend, I usually keep the devices a few inches from the pacer (and most often use the phone on the ear opposite the pacer implant location).
The study should include information about the pacer models and manufacture dates...perhaps these were very old units.

iWorld! (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078151)

iPace! It keeps your heart a'goin, and pumps music directy to your brain, and is updated via 802.11n/Bluetooth/EDGE, and is compatible to synch with your iPhone!

Re:iWorld! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078709)

Raped. iIdiot.

Non sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078177)

Apple knows well about RF interferences, All theirs machine since the MacPlus freaks me about how many metal shield they put in it. The metal case of almost all iPod shield them self from outside. Every conductive casing will act as a faraday cages (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faraday_cage [wikipedia.org] ). Soo since a iPod Nano is 100% made of aluminum and every pacemaker are made of titanium (can't corrode and bio compatible) I really don't worry about and iPod. If pacemaker was so sensitive, we shall see a lot more incident from cell phone, Wi-Fi or electric razor.

Regarding sensationalism... (5, Interesting)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078365)

I am a cardiologist (a lot of electrophysiologists are interested in devices, electronics, and are quite computer-savvy!)

msuave: Yes, a pacemaker or defibrillator is essentially inside a faraday cage already. They are generally titanium or steel encased, and designed to resist most radiation fields that are encountered in everyday life. However, faraday cages are not perfect, and the pacemaker has to have leads come out to thread into the heart. Just as you can use your cellphone inside a metal plane (also a faraday cage), some degree of radiation will be seen by the pacemaker electronics. In general, these devices are programmed by placing a wand over the device which essentially communicates by RF to the internal device -- if it was a perfect cage, it couldn't even be reprogrammed except by physically accessing the device (e.g. minor surgery.)

AC: Agreed regarding the sensationalism. Our practice tells EVERY pacemaker and defib recipient a list of things they should and shouldn't do. We counsel patients to hold their cellphone in their RIGHT hand and only crunch it between their right shoulder and ear, as almost all pacemakers are implanted on the left side. In general microwaves are ok, and patients are given a letter and card for the airport, where they can be wanded. Quite clearly, if somebody puts another RF emitting device RIGHT ON TOP of the implant, it could cause some interference. No, this is not unique to ipods. Again, if you actually talk to grandpa, I'm sure he knows this, especially if he was implanted by us. :) This "research" is quite ridiculous.

Finally, agreed regarding the description of the findings -- if it is just interrupting transmission of data to the programmer, this is a lot less dangerous than scrambling the internal signal seen by the pacemaker. The pacemakers are designed to recognize noise, again for the expected interference as noted above, and can handle this using many filters (e.g. something at 60 Hz is probably NOT coming from your body.)

----------
Vetran slashdotter, ID #101.

Wait, UIDs are not in binary?

Re:Regarding sensationalism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078549)

Thanks for sharing your expertise. As someone with a pacemaker, I can confirm that pacemaker recipients are advised not to keep devices like cellphones on top of the pacemaker and to use the opposite ear when operating the devices.

I contacted the Univ. of Michigan Doctor who was involved with this study and asked for a copy of the report. I certainly hope cardiologists like yourself look at the report, too, and give a thorough review of the methods used to conduct the study and record the results, etc. And if this is in fact a flawed study, you can hopefully reach your patients (and maybe even the media) and get this type of story retracted or corrected.

lol (4, Funny)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#19078449)

While there do not appear to be any long term effects, iPods disrupt the operation of the pacemaker.

I don't understand this sentence. Oh wait, this is slashdot.

According to the list... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078481)

Pacemaker users should be wary of slot machines. How come there aren't epidemics of old folks keeling over in front of the slots in Vegas?

New tagline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078841)

Zune: Hey, at least it won't kill your grand/parents!

"iPods and Pacemakers Don't Mix" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19078869)

I don't think iPods are supposed to go inside your chest cavity. I sometimes wear mine on an armband, but I've never tried incorporating it into my circulatory system. I can see how that would go wrong.

EMI (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 6 years ago | (#19079591)

Many devices are susceptible to EMI. I recently saw this while testing a hand-held UHF two-way radio. When I pressed the push-to-talk button in high-power mode (7 W output), it killed a computer that was about 6 feet away from the radio. The computer just made a funny noise and turned itself off.

Breaking News From Redmond (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#19079765)

Microsoft(r) (MSFT) announces that Zune(r) does not affect pacemakers. However the evidence up to this point is a bit sketchy because Microsoft(r) are still looking for the one pacemaker users who is actually licensed to use a Zune. Researchers feel confident that Zune(r) will not affect a pacemaker because it so far has not affected any PC running Windows(r) Vista(r)

Some guys love it when you "Squirt" your Zune.
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