Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Keeping pace of mobile phone safety

28.05.2003


A new study in the Institute of Physics journal Physics in Medicine and Biology, reveals that the new generation of digital mobile phones can interfere with many types of heart pacemaker. The pacemakers can confuse the signals generated by mobile phones for the heart’’s own electrical signals, causing the pacemaker to malfunction. The authors of the paper, based in the US and Italy, say that newer pacemakers fitted with a ceramic filter are immune and recommend that all manufacturers use these filters.



Electromagnetic interference between mobile phones and cardiac pacemakers has caused concern among physicians since 1994, when it was reported that mobile phones could cause the life-saving implants to malfunction. Early studies found various pacemakers susceptible to interference and the researchers suggested wearers should keep a safe distance from mobile phones. The studies did not look at the cause of the interference, however, so it was not known which pacemaker wearers were most at risk.

Biomedical engineer Giovanni Calcagnini of the Italian Institute of Health in Rome explains that some electrical components of the pacemakers act like an aerial. They can pick up undesirable radio frequency signals and transmit them to the pacemaker’’s sensitive electronic circuits. He and his colleagues at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the Food and Drug Administration, in Rockville, Maryland, USA, have investigated exactly how radio frequency signals of the kind used by modern mobile phones are transmitted to the pacemaker’’s internal components.


The researchers tested three versions of the same pacemaker model. The first was equipped with a conventional filter, used to block high-frequency radio signals. The second used the newer ceramic filters connected directly to the internal circuits. The third pacemaker was fitted with both devices.

For each pacemaker, the researchers monitored the pacemaker’’s output signal, which usually helps control the patient’’s heart beat, while exposing the device to the radio signals from mobile phones, including the GSM (Global System for Mobile) phones used throughout Europe.

They report in Physics in Medicine and Biology that the radio frequency signals from GSM phones passed straight through the standard filter device. "This phenomenon could pose a critical problem for people wearing pacemakers because digital mobile phones use extremely low-frequency signals, which can be mistaken for normal heartbeat," explains Calcagnini. "If a pacemaker detects a normal heartbeat it will not function properly and could be very dangerous for the wearer." The pacemaker equipped with the ceramic filter, however, was immune to mobile phone radio frequency signals.

"Most manufacturers have started to equip their new models with ceramic filters," explains Giovanni Calcagnini. "We recommend all new models be equipped with these filters, since it is difficult to change cellphone technology to avoid them producing low-frequency radio frequency signals."

Michelle Cain | alfa
Further information:
http://stacks.iop.org/0031-9155/48/1661

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers release the brakes on the immune system
18.10.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>