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Radiation Therapy Can Impair Intelligence

Study shows fewer infants exposed to X-rays, CT scans make it to high school

MONDAY, Jan. 5, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- A person's intellectual capacity can be harmed by low-dose exposure to radiation as an infant, Swedish researchers have determined.

The researchers studied a group of 3,094 men who had received radiation therapy before they were 18 months old during the years 1930 to 1959.

They found the proportion of boys who attended high school decreased with increasing doses of radiation to both the front and back parts of the brain.

The scientists also found radiation had affected the men's learning ability and logical reasoning, but not their spatial recognition. The study appears in the Jan. 3 issue of the British Medical Journal.

They concluded doctors should reconsider the practice of using CT scans or X-rays to assess minor head trauma in children.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about CT scans.

SOURCES: British Medical Journal, news release, Jan. 2, 2004
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