The Duncan Banner

Local News

May 10, 2013

Apple's iPad2 heart risk found in research by 14-year-old

MINNEAPOLIS — Gianna Chien is somewhat different from all the other researchers reporting on their work to more than 8,000 doctors at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in Denver.

Chien is 14, and her study — which found that Apple'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, Calif., whose father is a doctor. "I definitely think people should be aware. That's why I'm presenting the study."

Defibrillators, as a safety precaution, are designed to be turned off by magnets. The iPad2 uses 30 magnets to hold the iPad2's cover in place, Chien said in a telephone interview. While the iPad2 magnets aren't powerful enough to cause problems when a person is holding the tablet out in front of the chest, it can be risky to rest it against the body, she found.

Trudy Muller, an Apple spokeswoman, declined to comment on the study in an email, 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.

The study involving 26 volunteers with defibrillators found "magnet mode" was triggered in 30 percent of patients who put the tablet on their chest. The iPad2 didn't interfere with four pacemakers or a loop-recorder, which were also tested. Walter Chien, a cardiac electrophysiologist, helped his daughter coordinate the patient testing.

Medtronic Inc., 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.

"The presentation at Heart Rhythm 2013 is a good reminder for patients to remain vigilant on new technology and its accessories and maintain a distance of six inches between an iPad and an implanted pacemaker or ICD," the company said in a statement.

Most defibrillators will turn back on once the magnet is no longer affecting the device. Some, however, remain off until the magnet is reapplied or the device is turned back on manually, the younger Chien said. Patients should be told about the risk and doctors should check the devices to see if they have been inadvertently turned off by magnets, she said.

Chien said she received an iPad2 for her birthday in August 2011. She was struck at the time by the number of older customers taking a class on how to use the device at the company store and, given her father's specialty, wondered if there could be a connection between the iPads and their heart devices.

"I don't think anyone really knows about the risks," Chien said.

The results are important because they can help raise awareness of the danger in a very specific setting, said Day, the heart meeting official, in a telephone interview. "Defibrillator patients can still buy Apple products," he said. "Just don't put them on your chest."

A regular at Johns Hopkins University's Center for Talented Youth, Chien doesn't see herself becoming a doctor. At the camp, she regularly participates in the writing program and she said that one of her favorite parts of the iPad2 project was summing the results for publication in a medical journal. Eventually, she wants to write a novel, she said.

Chien first presented her results in the San Joaquin County Science Fair's high school category in March, but the project was beat out for the top spot by work on electromagnetics and on the effect of punctuation mark placement in keyboards on carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chien, who rows in her free time, says she may revisit the issue for next year's science fair, looking at the risks with other electronic products.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Council votes for cheaper, quicker water fix

    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to go with a $650,000 fix to its water infrastructure needs.
    The council approved a $43,000 contract with Crafton, Tull, Sparks and Associates to build a 1,000-foot long pipeline that will be capable of putting about 3 million gallons of water per day into Lake Humphreys.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 DHS Band 0042.jpg DHS band wins fifth straight Sweepstakes

    The Duncan High School band received a rare distinction, winning Sweepstakes for the fifth consecutive year.
    Senior Cody Plumley is excited the band won Sweepstakes for its fifth year in a row, making the DHS Band one of the few school bands to do so.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do the crime, you’ll face a bigger fine

    It just got considerably more expensive to be cruel to animals, ride a bike at night without a light, drive over a fire hose and noodle in a city lake.
    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to increase the amount of municipal fines and bonds associated with dozens of misdemeanor offenses.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sheriffs: State backing out on prisoner promises

    State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
    A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.

    April 23, 2014

  • McKinney: DOC move will benefit Stephens County jail

    Oklahoma Department of Corrections efforts to move county inmates to DOC prisons has helped the Stephens County Jail dip below capacity.
    But Sheriff Wayne McKinney wonders why it took so long to happen when the county jail was overcrowded for several years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Officer urges volunteers to sign up for mentoring program

    A new in-school mentoring program trying to recruit volunteers got a boost on Tuesday night when Duncan Police Officer Julio Alvarez stepped onto a stage to tell a crowd of 50 spectators that a mentor helped him overcome the trauma of childhood victimization.
    “Go out and spread the word,” Alvarez said, urging people to sign up as mentors through a program that is being developed by The Well Outreach, Inc.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 Assumption 0009.jpg Assumption Catholic to honor Pope John Paul II

    As Pope John Paul II moves toward being named a saint, Assumption Catholic Church will have its own celebration of the former head of the Catholic Church.
    Assumption will have a Divine Mercy Healing Mass at 6 p.m. Sunday to celebrate the canonization of John Paul II. John Paul II was pope from 1978 until his death in 2005.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-22 Tyee Percival OBIT.jpg Tyee Leon Percival

    April 14, 2009-April 19, 2014

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • City Council to consider airport runway rehabilitation

    A rehabilitation project could be coming to the runway at the Duncan Municipal Airport.

    April 22, 2014

  • High rainfall recorded for Duncan, more expected this week

    Duncan’s rainfall total for 2014 nearly doubled between Sunday night and Monday morning, when the community received 2.06 inches of precipitation.

    April 22, 2014

Poll

Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results
AP Video