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Indian Express
19 April 2010
New Delhi, India

Doctors who regularly subject patients to X–rays and CT scans are ignorant of the harmful effects of radiation exposure, a study at the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has found.

Conducted among 100 senior and junior resident doctors at AIIMS, the study found that 70 to 80 per cent of them are unaware of the effects of the radiation.

“Our aim was to find out the knowledge of physicians on radiation exposure and the harmful effects on the human body while undergoing tests like X–rays and CT scans,” said Dr Randeep Guleria, Professor of Medicine at the AIIMS.

A majority of the surveyed junior and senior resident doctors run the OPDs at the AIIMS.

“In their reply to the questionnaire developed by us to test their knowledge, most replied that MRI and ultrasound involves radiation exposure which is completely wrong,” Guleria said.

It is X–rays and CT scans are the biggest source of radiation exposure. Acute or chronic radiation exposure leads to death of bone marrow cells and often causes infertility too.

“On the other hand, if the exposure is mild, it is possible that the patient will suffer from cancer in the near future as this exposure brings in a lot of change in genes, leading to mutation and other abnormalities,” Guleria said.

Citing an example, he said similar results were found when a study of the impact of the atom bomb dropped in Hiroshima –which led to harmful radiation exposure –was done. The study found most of those exposed to radiation had developed cancer over a period of time.

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