German researchers took a closer look at how cell phone radiation could impact the working of cardiac devices such as pacemakers and others.
There has been constant debate about all the negative health effects of smartphone radiation. Safety recommendations of that come with the smartphones usually contain a few paragraphs about interference of the emitted radiation with people’s health.
Yet, most of these recommendations have been developed at a time when smartphones were scarce among users and the interference of radiation mostly referred to implantable cardioverter defibrillators or ICDs.
To this extent, the new research reached the conclusion that while such fears of smartphone radiation interfering with the electromagnetic waves of pacemakers or ICDs are overblown, caution and safe distance remain constant advises.
The results of the study will be presented at the meeting of the European Society of Cardiology and Carrington and the European Heart Rhythm Association.
The study was conducted on a sample of 308 patients. Of these, 147 had pacemakers, while another 161 had ICDs. To study the possible interference, three smartphones were chosen based on how wide their user base is. These are Nokia Lumia, Samsung’s Galaxy S3 and HTC’s One XL.
The three smartphones were placed above the skin of the exact area where the pacemakers or the ICDs were implanted. Via a radio communication tester, the smartphones were set to simulate usual actions like calling, talking, ringing.
Different frequencies were also tested in order to cover all cellular networks. In order to detect how the smartphones’ radiation could interfere with the electromagnetic waves of the cardiac devices, the researchers used electrocardiograms.
Dr. Carsten Lennerz of the Clinic for Heart and Circulatory Diseases from the German Heart Center, Munich commented on the methodology:
“From earlier studies we know that the most vulnerable phases of a call are ringing and connecting to the network, not talking, so it was important to analyse these separately”.
3,400 overall tests have been conducted throughout the study. Of all, there was only one instance where electromagnetic interference of the smartphone affected an ICD. The ICD mistook the waves of the smartphone with the cardiac signals of the patient.
Looking to understand if safety recommendations attached to smartphones are still accurate, the research found that no major electromagnetic interference occurs between smartphones and cardiac devices.
Nonetheless, a safe distance between the ICDs or pacemakers and the phones is highly recommended.
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