Researchers Find Tablet Computers Can Interfere With Shunt Settings In Brain

(credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

(Dr. Brian McDonough) Dr. Brian McDonough
Dr. Brian McDonough has been medical editor at KYW Newsradio for more...
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By Dr. Brian McDonough

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A peculiar report from the Journal Pediatrics of Neurosurgery finds that tablet computers like the iPad2 can interfere with settings of magnetically programmed shunts in the brain.

These shunts are used for people with a condition called hydrocephalus. With hydrocephalus, people have an abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in open spaces in the brain.

The iPad affects the shunt because it has magnets that can change the shunt settings if held within two inches of the shunt.

This can lead to a malfunction.

Researchers tested ten shunts over a variety of distances from the iPad 2. After exposure at zero and one centimeter distances, they found the settings changed in two-thirds of patients.

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