Science dental-x-rays

Published on April 10th, 2012 | by Steven Hodson


A Common Type Of Brain Tumor Linked To Dental X-Rays

Okay, this can’t be good but it seems that research just published in this past week’s issue of Cancer has found a link between those terrifying visits to the dentist office with the most terrifying type of tumor – brain cancer.

The study, lead by lead researcher and neurosurgeon Elizabeth B. Claus; and MD/PHD at Yale University School of Medicine, found that people who have bitewing X-ray performed at some point in their lives are twice a likely to develop the meningioma tumor, the most commonly diagnosed, and usually benign, brain-growth in the US.

However, as pointed out by Dr. Claus these findings shouldn’t dissuade anyone from going to see a dentist but rather to be mindful of the type and number of x-rays they have. Part of the problem maybe due to the number of x-rays performed with many having yearly x-rays rather the preferred every two to three years.

This conclusion that was reached by researchers came after self-reported lifetime dental x-ray histories from 1,433 meningioma patients as well as those of 1,340 people without brain tumors. One of the things that they found was that participants with tumors were more than twice as likely to report having had a bitewing examination at some point. This danger increased for those that had a bitewing examination performed at least once a year as they were at 40 – 90% higher risk at all ages of being diagnosed with a brain tumor.

As Dr. Claus said in a Time story there are two things you need to keep in mind when reading the research results.

First, while most of the people in the study were diagnosed in recent years, their dental X-ray history stretched back a decade, if not more, to a time when ionizing radiation levels were much higher in dental X-rays than they are now. (The mean age of those with the tumors was 57.5 years.) Second, the study compared cases of meningioma to similar controls, rather than asking people about their dental X-ray history and then following them to see who developed meningiomas and who did not.

Well, this sure fills me with all kinds of confidence as I head out this week for major dental surgery.

via io9



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About the Author

Steven has been around the tech world long enough to see most of the stuff we think of cool happen before which leads to a certain bit of cynicism that has contributed to him being known as the cranky old fart of the Internet. Besides sharing some of the goodness that he finds with you here at 42x you can also find him curating some digital goodness at Winextra (tech type stuff) and Rotten Gumdrops (for your daily dose of WTF).

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