Sunday, April 22, 2018

FDA proposes guides to limit X-ray dosages for children

WASHINGTON — The government is taking steps to help ensure that children who need CT scans and other X-ray-based tests don't get an adult-sized dose of radiation.

Too much radiation from medical testing is a growing concern, especially for children, because it may increase the risk of cancer later in life.

Wednesday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed guidelines urging manufacturers to design new scanners to be safer for the youngest, smallest patients — and put new advice on its website to teach parents what to ask about these increasingly common tests.

"We are trying to ensure that patients get the right dose at the right time, and the right exam," FDA physicist Thalia Mills told the Associated Press.

The use of CT scans, which show more detail than standard X-rays but entail far more radiation, and other medical imaging has soared in recent years. The tests can be lifesaving, and specialists say people who really need one shouldn't avoid it for fear of future risk from radiation.

But research shows too often the scans are unnecessary — they're given too frequently, for example, or in place of other tests that don't emit radiation. Children are of particular concern because their rapidly growing tissues are more sensitive to radiation. Plus, they have more years ahead of them for radiation-triggered cancers to develop.

One recent study concluded the average child will receive more than seven radiation-emitting scans by age 18.

And while pediatric hospitals routinely adjust scanner doses for youngsters' smaller sizes, 90 percent of child imaging is performed in general hospitals — and the FDA said no one knows how many make those adjustments.

The goal of Wednesday's guidelines: "Regardless if my child is imaged at a pediatric hospital or a local community hospital, they get the same basic care," said FDA biomedical engineer Jana Delfino. "Everybody should be able to do it."

Dr. Marilyn Goske of Cincinnati Children's Hospital praised the long-awaited move, saying, "It puts the spotlight on children."

While the guidelines wouldn't require changes to existing scanners, those eventually would be upgraded and fall under the same standards.

The guidelines are open for public comment for four months before the agency will finalize them.

Comments
Crosby, Penguins keep 3rd straight championship in sight

Crosby, Penguins keep 3rd straight championship in sight

The Pittsburgh Penguins have won nine straight playoff series, which tied a franchise record and are the most in the NHL since the Detroit Red Wings also won nine from 1997 to 1999
Updated: 1 hour ago
Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

Recent developments surrounding the South China Sea

A look at recent developments in the South China Sea, where China is pitted against smaller neighbors in multiple disputes over islands, coral reefs and lagoons in waters crucial for global commerce
Updated: 1 hour ago
Beyond cookies: Thousands of girls are becoming Cub Scouts

Beyond cookies: Thousands of girls are becoming Cub Scouts

Thousands of girls have become Cub Scouts in an early adopter program as the Boy Scouts of America
Updated: 1 hour ago
SKorea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North

SKorea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North

South Korea says it has halted anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts on the border ahead of inter-Korean talks this week
Updated: 1 hour ago
SKorea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North

SKorea halts propaganda broadcasts before summit with North

South Korea says it has halted anti-Pyongyang propaganda broadcasts on the border ahead of inter-Korean talks this week
Updated: 1 hour ago
In Denver, trying to put a price on the value of a newspaper

In Denver, trying to put a price on the value of a newspaper

The Denver Post's cry for help in the form of an editorial pleading for new ownership resonated nationally
Updated: 1 hour ago
Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

Waffle House suspect still being sought; residents on alert

Police warn residents of a Nashville neighborhood to watch out for suspect in Waffle House restaurant shooting that killed four people
Updated: 2 hours ago

China: Many Chinese dead, hurt in North Korea traffic crash

China's foreign ministry says a large number of Chinese tourists have been killed and injured in a "major traffic accident" in North Korea
Updated: 2 hours ago
Pompeo facing rare opposition from Senate panel

Pompeo facing rare opposition from Senate panel

Trump's nominee for secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is facing serious opposition before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which may not have enough votes to recommend his confirmation
Updated: 2 hours ago

Kuwait says overnight fire at onshore oil rig now contained

Kuwait's state-run oil company says it has contained a fire at an onshore oil rig in the country's southwestern oilfields
Updated: 2 hours ago