Computerized tomography (CT) scans use ionizing radiation to provide images of the body. These days, Americans are undergoing more and more CT scans for imaging nearly every part of the body.
In a report from Stanford News, researchers at the university examined the blood of 67 people before and after they had undergone a CT scan.
After the scans, the scientists found an increase in DNA damage within cells, along with cell death.
They also saw increased expression of genes involved in the repair or death of cells.
“We now know that even exposure to small amounts of radiation from [CT] scanning is associated with cellular damage,” said study co-lead author Dr. Patricia Nguyen, assistant professor of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.
It is well known that any form of ionizing radiation can cause these problems. CT scans expose patients to 150 times the amount of radiation from a chest X-ray.
In 2007, the National Cancer Institute predicted that 29,000 future cancer cases would be linked to the 72 million CT scans performed in that year alone.
We don’t need to eliminate CT scans. They can save lives.
But we certainly need to do fewer of them.
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