Advertisement

iPad Affects Shunt Settings

The settings of programmable shunt devices used to treat brain swelling in children can be altered by magnetic fields, such as those given off by the Apple iPad 2.

By | June 26, 2012

image: iPad Affects Shunt Settings Wikimedia Commons, Matthew Downey

WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, MATTHEW DOWNEY

Children suffering from hydrocephalus, the abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the brain, should be careful when using Apple’s popular tablet, the iPad 2: if held within 2 inches of the magnetically programmable shunt devices often used to treat the disorder, the computer’s magnets can change its settings, causing the shunt to malfunction, according to a study published in the August 2012 issue of the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

The authors initiated the study after having issues with a programmable shunt in a four-month-old girl patient who received a shunt with a magnetically programmable valve to regulate the flow of CSF. After the girl’s mother used an iPad 2 while holding her daughter, the doctors found that the patient’s shunt valve settings had been changed.

The iPad 2, unlike the original iPad, contains several magnets, and users often encase it in the magnetic Apple Smart Cover. These magnets generate magnetic fields that can adjust the shunt’s settings, which are normally changed by physicians using specialized magnets. After exposing programmable shunt valves to an iPad2 (with and without the Smart Cover), the researchers found that at distances of 0-1 centimeters, 58 percent of the valves exposed to the iPad 2 with the Smart Cover and 67 percent of those exposed to the iPad 2 with no cover had changed. The frequency of change diminished with increasing distance, and no valve setting changes occurred at greater than 5 centimeters.

Of course, the Apple tablet isn’t the only threat to these programmable devices, as its magnetic field is of similar strength to many household magnets. But it’s important that patients and caregivers are aware of the possible complications, and take appropriate precautions, the authors said.

Advertisement

Add a Comment

Avatar of: You

You

Processing...
Processing...

Sign In with your LabX Media Group Passport to leave a comment

Not a member? Register Now!

LabX Media Group Passport Logo
Advertisement

Popular Now

  1. Most Earth-like Planet Found
  2. AAAAA Is for Arrested Translation
  3. Four-legged Snake Fossil Found
  4. The Sum of Our Parts
    Features The Sum of Our Parts

    Putting the microbiome front and center in health care, in preventive strategies, and in health-risk assessments could stem the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases.

Advertisement
Cell Sciences
Cell Sciences
Advertisement