Journal of Medical Physics
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Year : 2011  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 51-52

News and Events

Department of Radiation Oncology, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication12-Jan-2011

Correspondence Address:
T Ganesh
Department of Radiation Oncology, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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How to cite this article:
Ganesh T. News and Events. J Med Phys 2011;36:51-2

How to cite this URL:
Ganesh T. News and Events. J Med Phys [serial online] 2011 [cited 2023 Feb 5];36:51-2. Available from:

Suspected radiation accident in a mine in Sweden

Service personnel at Boliden Mineral may have been exposed to x-rays due to a suspected radiation accident that happened on December 2, 2010. Personnel from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority are investigating the event at the mine in Gδllivare. Several of those involved have experienced nausea, which may indicate acute radiation injuries. The personnel are now undergoing medical examinations. No risks are involved for the other employees at the mine or the general public.


'Improper use' of computed tomography scanners led to perfusion overdoses

In October 2009, reports of a series of computed tomography (CT) radiation overdoses in few hospitals prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to look into the issue of medical radiation. Releasing the results of its investigation into a series of radiation overdose incidents in CT brain perfusion exams, in which at least 385 patients received excessive radiation, the FDA said that, most likely, the incidents were not due to scanner malfunction, but rather were caused by "improper use" of the systems.

FDA sent a letter to the main imaging industry group, Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance (MITA), detailing the results of its investigation and discussing possible equipment modifications. Suggestions given by FDA include: (i) to incorporate console notifications that alert operators in the event that a patient receives a high radiation dose; (ii) provision of information and training on brain perfusion protocols to all facilities that receive base CT equipment, irrespective of the fact whether they buy the optional software or not; (iii) provide facilities with hard copies or pdf files specifying the dose-associated parameter settings recommended for particular clinical applications and (iv) organizing all dose-related information in a dedicated dose manual.

From: dated November 9, 2010; and

Helical CT helps in reducing mortality in lung cancer screening

National Cancer Institute of the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, published its initial findings of the randomized controlled large-scale lung screening trial. The study tested the efficacy of screening methods to reduce deaths from lung cancer by detecting cancers at relatively early stages.

Participants, who numbered more than 50,000 chronic smokers, were randomly assigned to receive three annual screens with either low-dose helical CT or standard chest X-ray. They received their screening tests at enrollment and at the end of their first and second years on the trial. They were then followed for up to another five years and all deaths were documented, with special attention given to the verification of lung cancer as a cause of death. It has now emerged that the low-dose helical CT arm of the study showed 20.3 percent reduction in lung cancer mortality as compared to the standard chest x-ray arm, which is significant.

The conclusion that the low-dose helical CT provides a decided benefit is a result that will have implications for the screening and management of lung cancer for many years to come and will also help in formulating clinical guidelines and policy recommendations for lung cancer screening .

For more details: dated November 4, 2010

Full-body scanners at airports

Many airports around the world are installing full-body scanners for screening the airline passengers before they enter the security hold area. The move has invited widespread criticisms and condemnation due to privacy concerns and fear over possible health risk due to increased radiation dose. Acknowledging that the relatively new technology is bound to cause such concerns, the FDA came out with a consumer update on the issue.

The FDA points out that there are currently two different types of scanners employed. One uses millimeter wave technology and the other uses x-ray backscatter. According to the agency both the technologies are quite safe for the common public. While the millimeter wave scanners pose no known adverse health effects, the radiation from backscatter scanners is so less that a person would receive more radiation from naturally occurring sources in less than an hour of ordinary living than from one screening from such full-body scanners.

FDA has launched a new webpage on full-body security scanners, named "Products for Security Screening of People". It provides information for the general public and professionals, guidance for industry, and links to other resources. The webpage aims to inform the public about these new systems, and to provide people with the resources to separate the facts from the myths.

According to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which looks after the security at the US airports, the backscatter technology was evaluated by Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), apart from FDA, and all the results confirmed that the radiation doses were well below the dose limits. TSA also points out that such advanced imaging technology screening is safe for all passengers, including pregnant women and children. The TSA website provides more information on these technologies.

More importantly Health Physics Society has addressed many questions raised by public and media. It also has a slide presentation on this subject.

From: dated November 4, 2010

Circulatory disease risk due to radiation exposure

The United Kingdom Health Protection Agency's (HPA) Advisory Group on Ionizing Radiation (AGIR) published a report titled "Circulatory Disease Risk", reviewing the recently published epidemiological studies and experimental work on the risks and potential causes of circulatory diseases following exposures to ionizing radiation [ ].

Urging all the clinicians who use medical radiation procedures to examine their working practices, AGIR recommended that they must keep the radiation doses to the brain and heart of the patients as low as possible without compromising the essential medical benefits of the procedures. The report concluded that when the doses exceed 0.5 Gy, a dose quite possible in radiation oncology, circulatory disease risks should be included in the estimation of health risks to individuals.

From: dated Oct. 14, 2010

New laser beam can ablate tumors

Researchers at Washington University have developed a laser beam that can 'cook' inoperable brain tumors and possibly tumors at other sites in the future. Surgeons at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Washington University, drilled a small burr hole into the patient's skull through which a flexible laser probe was inserted with the guidance of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The laser beam, emitted from the probe at a 90 degree angle, heated the golf ball-sized tumor, essentially cooking it to death at 140 degrees F. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved lasers for neurosurgery in May 2009.

From: dated Oct. 10, 2010

Publications of interest from International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)

ICRP Publication 112: Preventing accidental exposures from new external beam radiation therapy technologies

The publication includes lessons learnt from accidental exposures, guidance for the prevention of future occurrences, and conclusions and recommendations. This report is expected to be a valuable resource for radiation oncologists, hospital administrators, medical physicists, technologists, dosimetrists, maintenance engineers, radiation safety specialists, and regulators. While the report applies specifically to new external beam therapies, the general principles for prevention are applicable to the broad range of radiotherapy practices where mistakes could result in serious consequences for the patient and practitioner.

Calendar of Events


1. ICMP 2011 - 18 th International Conference on Medical Physics

Dates: Apr 17-20, 2011

Place: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Web link:

Abstract due date: January 15, 2011

2. ICRP Symposium on the International System of Radiological Protection

Dates: October 24-26, 2011

Place: North Bethesda, Maryland, USA

Web link:


1. AMPICON-2011

Dates: Nov 17-19, 2011

Place: Christian Medical College, Vellore-632004, India

Contact: [email protected]


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