Re: HEALTH: Diagnostic imaging details urgently desired

From: Robert J. Bradbury (
Date: Fri Jan 18 2002 - 06:43:11 MST

I would generally agree with Daniel that use of any machines that
produce ionizing radiation is not to be take lightly. One might
"mitigate" these effects (perhaps by consuming high levels of Vitamin E
for a couple of weeks before the examination). Any approaches to
probes that do not produce ionizing radiation (NMR, ultrasound, etc.)
are highly preferable to X-rays.

However to be very "balanced" about it one would have to do a
comparison of the relative risks of the various things to
which one is exposed. I always found the Ames statistics
with regard to average weighted exposure to various carcinogens
rather educational. By far, for the average individual, alcohol
is way out in front (except for tobacco consumers). After one
has minimized that (if one so chooses) I think the next thing
one needs to do is to test ones environment for radon levels.

Finally one needs to balance the benefit any diagnostic information
might provide with technology trends. If exposure to ionizing
radiation produces a cancer or accelerates aging one has to
balance that against diagnostic information that might result
with regard to pre-existing conditions. Our ability to deal
with the ill-effects of current tests will be significantly
increased in the future. So tests which significantly serve
to promote one surviving to that future time (without having
to be suspended) are perhaps justifiable even if they would
be considered undesirable in a perfect world.


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