Gianna Chien recently presented a study of how Apple's iPad2 may, in some cases, interfere with people's implanted defibrillators (heart devices) because of the magnets inside the iPad2 (video below).
Chien, who is only 14 years old, made her presentation to more than 8,000 doctors at the Heart Rhythm Society meeting in Denver.
Chien's study is based on her science-fair project that didn’t win first place at her Stockton, California high school, reports Bloomberg News.
Chien said that if a person were to fall asleep with the iPad2 on their chest, the magnets in the iPad2's cover could “accidentally turn off” an implanted defibrillator.
“I definitely think people should be aware," explained Chien. "That’s why I’m presenting the study.”
Defibrillators are designed to be turned off by magnets as a safety measure.
The iPad2 uses 30 magnets to hold the gadget's cover in place, Chien said. While the iPad2 magnets won't cause problems when a person is holding the device in front of the chest, it could be risky to rest it against the body, according to her study of 26 individuals.
Chien's study found that the “magnet mode” in the implanted defibrillator was triggered in 30 percent of patients who put the iPad2 on their chest. The iPad2 didn’t interfere with four pacemakers or a loop-recorder.
Her father Walter Chien, a cardiac electrophysiologist, helped coordinate the patient testing.
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, which cautions people about radio frequency interference and suggests people with pacemakers keep the iPad at least six inches away.