Does your child (or your client's child) play football, soccer, or another contact sport? Has your child, or your client's child fallen from a trampoline, fallen from a height while unattended by a caregiver or the other parent? If so, the information below is something you'll want to read and share with the other parent, with a child's medical caregiver, with your client(s). Who would have thought CT scans would pose a danger to children?
As my subscription readers know, although my blog Updates in Family Law is dedicated to discussions of legal issues faced by families and children, I sometimes write about tech issues that affect those separating or that help families keep their children safe. I also write about medical issues affecting children and/or parents--such as the epidemic of HPV virus.
Childhood CT scans carry a distinct — if very small — risk for leukemias and brain tumors, according to a large observational retrospective cohort study in the Lancet.
The authors estimate that the radiation dosage from two to three head CTs in children under age 15 could triple the risk for brain tumors. Five to ten CTs would result in a similar increase in risk for leukemias.
Noting that the absolute risk is small (one excess leukemia and one excess brain tumor per 10,000 head CTs before age 10), both the authors and a commentator nonetheless urge clinicians to have solid justification for every scan performed.
Brian Williams covered this story in depth last night on NBC Nightly News.
Journal Watch, a subscription service that scans medical journal for emerging news of new research and treatments, also covered the story.
Lancet article (Free abstract)
Lancet comment (Subscription required)