Could iPad 2 pose a health threat to kids with brain shunts?

The Apple iPad 2 has been considered to be a boon to the educational world, and a lot of youngsters have benefited from the intuitive learning interface it provides. But if a recent study conducted at the University of Michigan is to be believed, iPad 2’s magnets could possible pose a hazard to kids who have brain shunts installed. These shunts are magnetically programmable, and it was reportedly found that the magnets inside the iPad 2 tend to interfere with their valve settings. When kept in close proximity with the iPad, the shunts can even malfunction.

The study however eliminates the need to panic because the effects become negligible when the iPad is used at an appropriate distance from the shunt. For example, when the iPad was kept as close as 1 cm to the shunt, about 58 percent of the valve settings got altered by the weak magnetic field of the iPad magnets. On the other hand, at 5 cm distance, the effect of the magnets fell drastically to about 1 percent. Using the smart cover seemed to reduce the percentage change in valve settings caused by the iPad magnets.

The study was conducted on the iPad 2, and it did not clarify if the above mentioned effects are applicable to other tablets as well. It should be noticed that the study is merely indicative and does not give definitive proof of the harmful effects of iPad’s embedded magnets. Therefore, it can be assumed that it is safe to operate the iPad, when kept at an appropriate distance from the brain shunts of the child.


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