Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

X-Rays: How Big A Risk To Kids? UF Researchers Seek Answers

Date:
March 23, 1998
Source:
University Of Florida
Summary:
A team of University of Florida researchers is trying to come up with definitive predictions of the risks to children from different types of X-ray exams, an area that often leaves worried parents with unanswered questions.

Writer: Aaron Hoover, [email protected]

Related Articles


Sources: K. Hintenlang, (352) 392-1589; Wes Bolch, (352) 846-1361

GAINESVILLE --- A team of University of Florida researchers is trying to come up with definitive predictions of the risks to children from different types of X-ray exams, an area that often leaves worried parents with unanswered questions.

The project will measure radiation doses and calculate risks from such exams as general purpose X-ray exams; CT scans, which provide a three-dimensional picture of a part of the body; and fluoroscopy, used to obtain moving pictures of internal organs. Medical workers will be able to use the data to the pick the exam with the least risk as well as provide better information for parents faced with tough choices about children's care.

"If a parent said, `When my child was 1 or 2, she had a CT exam, some fluoroscopy and several chest x-rays, could you tell me what the actual dose was?,' no one can do that right now," said Kathleen Hintenlang, assistant radiation control officer at Shands hospital at UF and one of four researchers heading the project. "If the parent asks what the risk was, nobody can give a quantitative answer."

Hospitals routinely take measurements from X-ray machines to estimate the approximate size of the dose patients receive. Though all radiation carries some risk, the exams can be crucial to medical treatment -- indeed, they are lifesaving in some cases -- so the risk tends to be small by comparison.

But no one knows precisely how much radiation children absorb from different types of exams or if it increases their risk of developing cancer or leukemia later in life.

Hintenlang, who is researching the subject for her doctoral studies in environmental engineering, conceived the study after noticing premature and ailing newborns in the neonatal intensive care unit received more X-rays than other patients in critical wards.

Doctors give babies more X-rays because they often use medical devices such as catheters in treating the babies and because infants experience much more rapid internal changes than adults, said Jon Williams, chief of pediatric radiology at Shands.

Because children's cells divide rapidly as they grow, they are far more sensitive than adults to the chromosome-damaging effects of radiation. The increased frequency of exams piqued Hintenlang's curiosity, so she began researching the doses newborns were receiving.

She found information for adults, as well as for children in Europe, where treatment methods differ from the United States. To her surprise, however, no one had looked into the matter in this country since a 1979 study by the Food and Drug Administration. At the time, technical limitations prevented the FDA from measuring doses from fluoroscopy, and there also was no data on radiation doses to children from CT scans.

Assisted by today's faster computers and other technological advances, the researchers use a combination of physical and computer models of children to measure doses from different types of exams.

With a block-shaped head and body, the physical model of a 1-year-old child looks like a rough-hewn doll. But what counts is what it's made out of: a polyester resin mixed with chemical compounds to mimic soft organ, lung and bone tissue under an X-ray.

"They absorb X-rays just like the real tissues would," said David Hintenlang, Kathleen Hintenlang's husband and a professor in the nuclear and radiological engineering department and specialist in biomedical engineering and health physics.

The researchers subject the model to the same X-ray, fluoroscopy or CT machines used for pediatric patients at Shands. Tiny detectors implanted at places marked with felt-tip marker labels such as "liver," "bladder" or "stomach" measure doses to organs or tissues.

While the results are useful, they paint only part of the picture because the detectors measure the doses only at specific locations, said Wes Bolch, also a professor in the nuclear and radiological engineering department and specialist in biomedical engineering and health physics. The researchers will use complex computer models of children to generalize the measurements for the whole organs or tissues, he said.

The researchers applied for a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health but have already launched the project using $20,000 from the Children's Miracle Network.

-30-

Color or black & white photo available with this story. For information, please call News & Public Affairs photography at (352) 392-9092.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Florida. "X-Rays: How Big A Risk To Kids? UF Researchers Seek Answers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980323074055.htm>.
University Of Florida. (1998, March 23). X-Rays: How Big A Risk To Kids? UF Researchers Seek Answers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980323074055.htm
University Of Florida. "X-Rays: How Big A Risk To Kids? UF Researchers Seek Answers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980323074055.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins