Wednesday, Dec. 1: News From the 96th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago

Dec 01, 2010, 05:30 ET from Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)

CHICAGO, Dec. 1, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --

Cancer Risk From Medical Radiation May Have Been Overestimated

The risk of developing radiation-induced cancer from computed tomography (CT) may be lower than previously thought, according to a Stanford University study. Using more than 10 million Medicare claims from 1998 through 2005, the researchers analyzed the distribution of CT scans, determined the ionizing radiation exposure associated with the exams and estimated the associated cancer risk in a population of older adults. The findings showed an increase in the percentage of patients undergoing CT exams. But cancer incidences related to ionizing radiation from CT were estimated at 0.02 percent to 0.04 percent, significantly lower than previous estimates of 1.5 percent to 2.0 percent of the population.

CT Best at Uncovering Drug Mule Payload

CT is the most accurate method of detecting cocaine inside the body of a human drug courier, known as a drug mule, according to a study from University Hospital of Berne in Switzerland. Researchers analyzed images from 89 imaging exams, including CT, digital x-ray and low-dose linear slit digital radiography (LSDR), performed on 50 suspected drug mules. Forty-three of the suspects were ultimately identified as drug mules. CT was able to find all cocaine containers that were present in the drug mules' bodies for a sensitivity rate of 100 percent. LSDR and digital x-ray had sensitivity rates of 85 percent and 70 percent, respectively.

Virtual Biopsy May Allow Earlier Diagnosis of Brain Disorder in Athletes

In a study of ex-pro athletes, researchers from the Center for Clinical Spectroscopy at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston found that magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) may help diagnose chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disorder caused by repetitive head trauma that currently can only be definitively diagnosed at autopsy. CTE has been associated with memory difficulty, impulsive and erratic behavior, depression and dementia. For the study, five retired professional male athletes with suspected CTE and five controls were examined with MRS, also known as "virtual biopsy." The results indicated several differences in the amino acids and neurotransmitters in the brains of the athletes with suspected CTE. The researchers indicate that these findings have implications for college and youth sports as well.

Annual Breast Cancer Screening Beginning at Age 40 Reduces Mastectomy Risk

Having a yearly mammogram greatly reduces the risk of mastectomy following breast cancer in women between the ages of 40 and 50, according to a study from The London Breast Institute at The Princess Grace Hospital. Researchers reviewed the clinical data available on 156 women from 40 to 50 that had been diagnosed with breast cancer and treated at The London Breast Institute between 2003 and 2009. Data showed that mastectomy was the required treatment for 19 percent women who had been screened the prior year, compared with 46 percent women who had not been screened in the past year.

On Thursday, a special press briefing will be held at 10:30 a.m. CT (11:30 a.m. ET). An expert panel of radiologists and medical physicists who will address medical imaging appropriateness, ionizing radiation from imaging procedures and efforts under way to curb overutilization, decrease radiation dose and educate patients on the risks and benefits of medical imaging.

Attendees must be registered as press through the RSNA Newsroom. Call 312-949-3233 for details.

FOR PHONE INTERVIEWS, PRESS RELEASES, B-ROLL OR OTHER INFORMATION, CONTACT: RSNA Newsroom – 312-949-3233; after Dec. 2, 2010 call 630-590-7762.

SOURCE Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)