Australian news, and some related international items

Concern about medical radiation – researchers to track patients’ exposure

Experts plan to track radiation doses from medical checks Asahi Shimbun, behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201207090009 July 09, 2012 By YURI OIWA/ Staff Writer  Concerned about an increase in radiation exposure at hospitals, a group of researchers plans to set up a system to track patients’ cumulative radiation doses and protect children from potential harm.

The Japan Network for Research and Information on Medical Exposures
(J-RIME) will compile proposals within two years and lobby relevant
government ministries and agencies.

“We want to create a system in which patients can gain the utmost
benefits from medical examinations and treatments that use radiation,”
said Yoshiharu Yonekura, who leads J-RIME and president of the
National Institute of Radiological Sciences.

According to the institute, a Japanese patient is exposed to an
average 3.8 millisieverts of radiation a year from medical checks,
excluding treatment. That is twice the average of industrialized
countries and nearly quadruple the permissible level set for an
average Japanese, excluding doses from examinations and treatment.

J-RIME includes 12 organizations of radiologists and radiological
technicians, including the Japan Radiological Society, the Japanese
Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology and the Japanese
Society of Pediatric Radiology.

It will begin a study to determine the patients’ doses from
computerized tomography (CT) scans, positron-emission tomography (PET)
scans and other medical procedures.

A PET scan is an imaging procedure used to identify tumors by
injecting a patient with a medical agent containing radioactive
materials. The group plans to keep records for individual patients on
the types of scans and the accumulated radiation doses they received.

J-RIME is also expected to come up with safety limits for doses from
CT scans for children, as well as measures to protect them from
exposure to high radiation levels.

In a medical journal published in June, a British team of researchers
reported a small increase in the risk of leukemia and brain tumors
from CT scans. The team studied about 180,000 children and young
adults, and found that one case of leukemia and one brain tumor would
occur after the first CT scan for every 10,000 CT examinations
performed on children under 11 years old.

The widespread use of CT scans in recent years has been a significant
factor behind the doubling of people’s radiation does over the past
two decades, according to the U.N. Scientific Committee on the Effects
of Atomic Radiation.

A patient is exposed to 5 to 30 millisieverts on average per CT scan,
more than 10 times higher than that from a conventional X-ray

Japan by far has the largest number of CT scanners among advanced countries.

The International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health
Organization issued statements in April calling for the establishment
of rules to keep track of cumulative radiation doses of individual

July 9, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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