The New York Times reports, “At least four million Americans under age 65 are exposed to high doses of radiation each year from medical imaging tests,” according to a study appearing in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers also found that an estimated “400,000 of those patients receive very high doses, more than the maximum annual exposure allowed for nuclear power plant employees or anyone else who works with radioactive material.”
The AP reports that “researchers found about 20 percent were exposed to moderate radiation doses and two percent were exposed to high levels.” The work “did not directly address whether medical imaging is being overused, but some doctors are concerned that advanced tests like CT scans are being over-prescribed, and that evidence of their value in certain situations is lacking.”
In an accompanying editorial, Dr. Michael Lauer, director of the division of prevention and population sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, said that “trials of the efficacy of such testing should be conducted before their use is expanded further,” the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog reported. Lauer added that “there is no evidence that it increases survival.”
The researchers noted that “these tests not only have a cost in terms of the dollars, but also in terms of the radiation,” adding that “those situations when there’s not a clear indication for the tests is the issue here,” Bloomberg News reports.
From the American Association for Justice news release.