How an iPad can kill you

May 28, 2013
Volume 10    |   Issue 22

I've written before about the dangers coming from electromagnetic frequencies. Many people are sensitive to these frequencies and get brain fog, headaches, and other symptoms when they come into close contact with them. New sources of potentially dangerous frequencies are constantly bombarding us. And now we learn that one of the most popular tablets on the market can cause serious heart problems.

As it turns out, the magnets in iPad 2 tablets and their covers are capable of interfering with heart implants, including pacemakers. This frightening connection was first discovered by a group of teenagers in Stockton, California, working on a science experiment. They later presented it at Heart Rhythm 2013, the Heart Rhythm Society's 34th Annual Scientific Sessions.

Working with some of her classmates and her cardiologist father, 14-year-old high school freshman Gianna Chien found that magnetic interference could change the settings of and even deactivate implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). Chien asked 26 volunteers with ICDs to hold the iPad 2 at a comfortable reading distance. Later, she had them hold the tablets against their chests. She found that the magnets in both the iPad 2 and its Smart Cover could disrupt the ICDs.

ICDs typically contain specialized magnets that allow doctors to adjust their settings according to a predetermined schedule. But the magnets in the tablet make it harder for the ICDs to stabilize sudden rapid heart rates, such as fibrillation and tachycardia.

When you hold the tablet at a normal reading distance from the chest, there typically isn't any interference. The magnets must be close to cause any problems. But when they are close, such as when a person has the iPad directly on their chest, 30% of study participants experienced interference. The effect was less pronounced in volunteers with more fat on their chest – not just their abdomen. However, repeated and prolonged exposure, such as when you sleep with an iPad on your chest, can cause issues.

While this study focused specifically on the iPad 2 and its cover, the study authors believe that other devices containing magnets, such as cell phones and magnetic resonance imagining (MRI) machines could also affect cardiac rhythm devices.  While these devices weren't examined during this particular study, other researchers have found that magnets can be a danger to patients with pacemakers and ICDs. This may become a more prevalent problem, as magnets are being used more and more in homes, office products, toys, jewelry, and even clothing.

Clearly, the magnetic influence is something to be aware of if you have an ICD. Chien says, "Since tablets are becoming more common, I hope these findings will encourage patients who have or may be a candidate for implantable defibrillators to talk to their doctor about precautions if they use a tablet like the iPad 2."

Even if you don't have a pacemaker or ICD, it's still a good idea to keep your devices as far away from you as possible. The frequencies from one of these devices may not harm you. But falling asleep with them on your chest could result in harm - especially if you have a heart condition that requires a pacemaker. Even if you don't have a pacemaker now, you certainly don't want to create bad habits. And as I've said before, I think the less we expose ourselves to these electromagnetic frequencies, the better. This is just one more reason to steer clear of them.

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Heart Rhythm 2013, the Heart Rhythm Society's 34th Annual Scientific Sessions, 13 May 2013.

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