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Radiation Reduction
04 April 2016

Radiation Reduction

Computed tomography (CT) scans are widely used by doctors to assist in the diagnoses of fractured bones, cancer, internal bleeding, and more. The procedure provides a far more detailed image to that obtained by standard X-ray, but also exposes patients to a much higher dose of radiation. While the dose from one scan is unlikely to do harm, cumulative DNA damage from repeated scans over a lifetime could increase cancer risk. Consequently, there is concern, particularly for children, about CT safety. Now, scientists in New York have shown they can diagnose joint fractures just as effectively using one-fourteenth the radiation dose of conventional CT. The images show similar knee fractures diagnosed with the ultra-low dose radiation CT scan (left) and with a regular CT scan (right). This successful application of the low-dose scans to joint fractures now paves the way for testing the procedure for use in other conditions.

Written by Ruth Williams

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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