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CT radiation dose report released by American Association of Physicists in Medicine
Date:2/15/2008

on because it can provide cross-sectional snapshots deep inside someone's body with unprecedented clarity. These images help doctors diagnose unseen illnesses and injuries, and they guide treatment for millions of people a year in the United States.

In the last few years, reports in the medical literature and in the popular press have challenged public perceptions of CT scans by raising questions of risk related to the fact that CT scanners use X rays, which in high doses can damage the DNA inside cells.

However, says McCollough, the benefits of receiving a medically justified CT scan far outweighs the risk associated with the low levels of radiation used. To put this into perspective, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers the risk of absorbed X rays from CT scans to be very small (see: http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/ct/risks.html).

Even so, the FDA recommends avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation during medical procedures, especially for children. The FDA published a public health notice in 2001, calling for pediatric CT scans to be tailored to the specific needs and smaller sizes of children and only administered when appropriate (see http://www.fda.gov/cdrh/safety/110201-ct.html).

While they are not regulatory bodies, the AAPM and allied organizations like the American College of Radiology (ACR) play important roles in helping to achieve the FDAs goal of keeping the radiation dose as low as reasonably achievable, consistent with the medical need, by making recommendations and providing accreditation of CT scan facilities. This is essential because while the FDA is responsible for regulating CT scanning equipment, it does not actually regulate the CT scans themselves. Oversight of the use of X-ray technology in the United States is regulated by individual states' laws.

The ACR plays an import
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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