Gianna Chien is somewhat different from all the other researchers reporting on their work today to more than 8,000 doctors at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting.
Chien's study found that Apple Inc.’s iPad2 can, in some cases, interfere with life-saving heart devices because of the magnets inside. Source: Gianna Chien
Chien is 14, and her study -- which found that Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPad2 can, in some cases, interfere with life-saving heart devices because of the magnets inside -- is based on a science-fair project that didn’t even win her first place.
The research offers a valuable warning for people with implanted defibrillators, which deliver an electric shock to restart a stopped heart, said John Day, head of heart-rhythm services at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, and chairman of the panel that reviews scientific papers to be presented at the Denver meeting.
If a person falls asleep with the iPad2 on the chest, the magnets in the cover can “accidentally turn off” the heart device, said Chien, a high school freshman in Stockton, California, whose father is a doctor. “I definitely think people should be aware. That’s why I’m presenting the study.”
Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment on the study in an e-mail, referring questions about the iPad2’s safety to its online product guide. The guide cautions users about radio frequency interference, suggests that patients with pacemakers keep the iPad at least six inches away and says they should be turned off in health-care facilities when instructed by staff or posted signs.
Medtronic Inc. (MDT), the leading manufacturer of defibrillators, said its testing hasn’t found any risks from iPad technology when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The Minneapolis-based company does tell patients to avoid placing any magnets near the area where their devices are implanted.