Radiation exposure from x-ray imaging common in children

A study by Dr Adam Dorfman, a paediatric cardiologist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, US, looked at health claims data on more than 355,000 children and teenagers under 18 who were covered by a large US health insurer, and found that in a three year span, 42.5% of children got some form of ionising radiation from a diagnostic medical procedure. This radiation increases the risk of cancer in later life.

The study, which is the first of its kind to look at radiation exposure among young people, is published in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. The scientists analysed tests ranging from simple x-rays to computed tomography (CT) scans, which deliver a much higher radiation dose. In three years they found that nearly 8% got at least one scan, and 3.5% got at least two scans, and the highest rates of use were for those older than ten or under the age of two. The data did not show what the children were being tested for, but CT scans of the head were the most popular. Dorfman emphasised the need to use the tests only when they are absolutely necessary.

Source: Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine




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