Rock on Gramps: iPods won't hurt your heart

A Food and Drug Administration-led study refutes claims that the magnetic fields produced by Apple iPods and other such portable music devices interfere with cardiac pacemakers.

A report from the research team, which tested four iPod models, appears in BioMedical Engineering OnLine.

A report from a Michigan high school student -- who teamed with a couple of heart doctors -- is among earlier research that generated some buzz about whether iPods could muck up pacemakers and raised the idea of putting warning labels on portable music devices.

From a BioMed Central press release: "Using a 3-coil sensor, the team measured the magnetic field produced by the iPod at a distance of around 5 to 10 millimetres. They obtained readings for the magnetic field at various specific and small regions 10 mm from an iPod. The peak magnetic field strength was 0.2 millionths of a Tesla, a value hundreds of times lower than the levels capable of interfering with a pacemaker."

Howard Bassen, a researcher with the FDA, said in a statement: "Based on the observations of our in-vitro study we conclude that no interference effects can occur in pacemakers exposed to the iPods we tested."

One company breathing a sigh of relief: Tonicum. Last year it released a portable music device for DJs named, yes, Pacemaker.

Meanwhile, iPods continue to enjoy great success, most recently highlighted by the spate of new iPod-related offerings at the big CES show in Vegas.

Studies have also piled up in recent years regarding the health impact of other portable devices, such as mobile phones.

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