Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Experts Warn Over Health Check Brain Scans In UK

Date:
September 4, 2009
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
A new study has voiced concern about the growing market for brain screening tests, which people can buy as part of a general health check-up in the United Kingdom.

A new study has voiced concern about the growing market for brain screening tests, which people can buy as part of a general health check-up in the United Kingdom.

Related Articles


Researchers warn that paid-for brain scans – increasingly popular with healthy people who want to allay fears about undiagnosed brain cancer and stroke – may do more harm than good.

They reach their conclusion having analysed the results of almost 20,000 brain scans from people who undertook the tests for a variety of reasons, such as general health check-ups or volunteering for medical research. None of them had any symptoms suggesting that they had an underlying brain condition.

The researchers found that almost three per cent of healthy people had an abnormality on a brain MRI scan and warn that even when an incidental abnormality – such as a weakened blood vessel in the brain or a benign tumour – is discovered, there is no clear medical evidence that treatment would do more good than harm.

The experts say this lack of evidence can create anxiety, with many patients feeling that a tough choice has to be made between risky, potentially unnecessary surgery or leaving their condition untreated.

Dr Rustam Al-Shahi Salman, an MRC clinician scientist at the University of Edinburgh, said: "The difficulty with these health check-ups is that in the small number of people who do harbour some undiagnosed brain condition, there is not a clear next step.

"We do not have enough medical evidence to know whether we should treat the abnormalities or just leave them be. Until we have that knowledge, we cannot be sure that commercial screening benefits people with incidental findings on their brain scan. Furthermore, there is little evidence that "peace of mind" lasts for the people with normal brain scans."

The results of the study have been published in the British Medical Journal and represent the largest review of brain scanning results ever to be conducted.

The study was funded by the UK Medical Research Council, the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government, the Scottish Funding Council and the USA National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Experts Warn Over Health Check Brain Scans In UK." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903110814.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2009, September 4). Experts Warn Over Health Check Brain Scans In UK. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903110814.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Experts Warn Over Health Check Brain Scans In UK." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090903110814.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
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


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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