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YOUR HEALTH: Reducing your kid's radiation risk

New technology is lowering the radiation risk for your child

CLEVELAND — When your child is injured or ill, you want to find out what's wrong as fast as possible and many times that will involve an X-ray or CT scan.

New Nobel-prize winning technology is changing the way your child will get scanned, making it smarter and safer.

"Too much radiation certainly can increase your risk of cancer into adulthood," explained Dr. Michael Glotzbecker, chief of pediatric orthopedics at Cleveland's UH Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital.

"And I think patients are particularly susceptible when they are growing."

X-rays expose your child to less radiation than you get on an airplane flight.

But about one in eight scans ordered for kids is a CT scan that takes multiple images and can deliver radiation doses that are up to 200 times higher than an average X-ray.

Now doctors are working with the new EOS Edge X-Ray technology that takes high resolution 3-D images with less radiation.

"It's really important for pediatric patients because it reduces the amount of radiation that you get compared to standard x-rays by almost 85%,
 said Dr. Glotzbecker.

Already used for adults, this technology can take two images, front and side at once and can turn those images into 3-D.

"That's really important when it comes to certain orthopedic conditions, particularly when we look at surgical planning," said Dr. Glotzbecker.

The EOS Edge technology is already being used in hospitals in Chicago, St. Louis, and University of Iowa in Iowa City.

The EOS Edge is being used in just a few children's hospitals in the country right now, but technology like this is expected to become the standard of care in the near future.

Doctors say the expense and size of the machine are two factors that limit some hospitals from converting to the new technology. 

They say if your local children's hospital does not yet have the technology, don't be afraid to ask your healthcare provider if another test, which uses less radiation, could provide the same information.

Another New System

Researchers at Florida State University have developed a new material that could be used to make flexible X-ray detectors. 

These would potentially be less harmful to the environment and cost less than existing technologies. 

The team led by Biwu Ma, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, created x-ray scintillators that use an environmentally friendly material. 

The team used the compound organic manganese halide to create scintillators that don't use lead or heavy metals. 

The powder that is made performs very well for imaging and can be combined with a polymer to create a flexible composite that can be used as a scintillator.

"When you consider the ability to make flexible scintillators, it's a promising avenue to explore," said Ma.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.


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