According to recent findings researchers say the risks and benefits of using CT scanning for young children need to be re-evaluated.
Researchers from Sweden studied more than 3,000 men who received radiation therapy before 18 months of age. Participants had their intellectual capacity tested at age 18 years or 19 years. Researchers also studied school attendance records for the young men.
Results of the study show boys who received increasing doses of radiation in the front and back parts of their brains were more likely to miss school. Researchers also say a significant dose-related response was observed in learning ability tests and logical reasoning tests. However, this response was not observed in spatial recognition tests.
Researchers say young children who undergo computed tomography (CT) scans for minor head injuries may be at risk for adverse intellectual development. They say CT scans, which deliver high doses of ionizing radiation, are becoming more common in young children. Researchers say, "Irradiation of the brain with dose levels overlapping those imparted by computed tomography can, in at least some instances, adversely affect intellectual development."
Thus researchers conclude that although formal diagnostic protocols do not advocate computed tomography in cases of minor head injuries, clinical practice dictated by legal and financial considerations does not always adhere to these protocols.