Oct. 29, 2003
Cell Phone Effects on Pacemaker Patients' Hearts
The Effects of Cell Phones on Pacemaker Patients Hearts
Joseph Stunzi, 13, Watkinsville, Ga.
First Place, Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge, 2003
Project background: Josephs father works in the cell phone industry. Sometimes, he tests phones at home. Josephs mother, who has a pacemaker, noticed that her heart rate increases when the phones are being tested. His grandfather, who also has a pacemaker, senses no effect. Joseph wanted to test the effect of cell phones on pacemaker patients hearts. He hypothesized that cell phones would increase heart rates.
Tactics and results: Joseph worked with a researcher at the Arrhythmia Center, Emory Crawford Long Hospital. Before beginning experimentation, Joseph had his procedure and informed consents approved by both his school and the hospitals Institutional Review Board. To test the participants, Joseph ensured that each one sat in the same position. A pacemaker technician took a regular electrocardiogram (EKG) recording. Joseph turned on an analog cell phone and positioned it 3 inches to the right of the heart and 3 inches to the left of the heart. Each time, an EKG recording was obtained. He followed the same procedure with a digital cell phone. Finally, he asked the participants a few survey questions.
Joseph concluded that the digital phone affected participants more than the analog phone did and that pacemakers implanted after the year 2000 were less affected overall.
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