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J Nucl Med. 2017 Jun;58(6):865-868. doi: 10.2967/jnumed.117.195263. Epub 2017 May 10.

Dose Optimization to Minimize Radiation Risk for Children Undergoing CT and Nuclear Medicine Imaging Is Misguided and Detrimental.

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Nuclear Physics Enterprises, Marlton, New Jersey
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (retired), Green Valley, Arizona.
NAC International (retired), Norcross, Georgia; and.
Department of Radiation Oncology, Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University, Maywood, Illinois.


A debate exists within the medical community on whether the linear no-threshold model of ionizing radiation exposure accurately predicts the subsequent incidence of radiogenic cancer. In this article, we evaluate evidence refuting the linear no-threshold model and corollary efforts to reduce radiation exposure from CT and nuclear medicine imaging in accord with the as-low-as-reasonably-achievable principle, particularly for children. Further, we review studies demonstrating that children are not, in fact, more radiosensitive than adults in the radiologic imaging dose range, rendering dose reduction for children unjustifiable and counterproductive. Efforts to minimize nonexistent risks are futile and a major source of persistent radiophobia. Radiophobia is detrimental to patients and parents, induces stress, and leads to suboptimal image quality and avoidance of imaging, thus increasing misdiagnoses and consequent harm while offering no compensating benefits.


ALARA; children; dose optimization; linear no-threshold; radiological imaging; radiophobia

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