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Ther Umsch. 2013 Dec;70(12):746-51. doi: 10.1024/0040-5930/a000474.

[Update - health risks induced by ionizing radiation from diagnostic imaging].

[Article in German; Abstract available in German from the publisher]

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Physicians for Social Responsibility/International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Schweiz.


in English, German

Ionizing radiation is the most thoroughly investigated exogenous noxa. Since the early 20th century it is well known that using ionizing radiation in diagnostic procedures causes cancer - physicians themselves frequently being struck by this disease in those early days of radiology. Radiation protection therefore plays an important role. Below doses of 100 Millisievert (mSv) however much research has to be accomplished yet because not only malignant tumors, but cardiovascular diseases, malformations and genetic sequelae attributable to low dose radiation have been described. Unborns, children and adolescents are highly vulnerable. Dose response correlations are subject to continuing discussions because data stem mostly from calculations studying Japanese atomic bomb survivors. Radiation exposure is not exactly known, and it is unknown, if observations of radiation induced diseases in this ethnicity can be generalized. Nowadays the main source of low dose ionizing radiation from medical diagnostics is due to computertomography (CT). Large recent clinical studies from the UK and Australia investigating cancer incidence after exposition to CT in childhood and adolescence confirm that low doses in the range of 5 mSv already significantly increase the risk of malignant diseases during follow up. Imaging techniques as ultrasound and magnetic resonance tomography therefore should be preferred whenever appropriate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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