CT or CAT Scans: Reducing Risks and Harm

Paul L. Reller L.Ac. / Last Updated: August 03, 2017

CT or CAT scans: the risks and harm from the high dosage of radiation, and accumulative radiation, in medical testing, and how to decrease these risks and harm with Complementary and Integrative Medicine

A large study, the first of its kind, on the cancer risks associated with CT scans, was published online June 6, 2012, by The Lancet, a prestigious medical journal in the United Kingdom. The chief researcher, Dr. Mark S. Pearce PhD, reviewed data for nearly 180,000 patients who had received a CT before the age of 22, and found that the risk of brain cancer and leukemia was tripled with multiple CT scans. It is estimated that at least a third of all CT scans in the United States are unnecessary or could be replaced with safer ultrasound or MRI technologies. The conservative U.S. National Cancer Institute reported in 2012 that use of medical radiation has increased 6-fold since the 1980s, mostly due to still rising use of the CT or CAT scans. The rapid expansion of CT scans in the last decade has raised many red flags, and prompted experts to demand that these tests, involving much higher dosages of radiation than standard X-ray, be limited to necessary situations, and that the use of other safer non-radiological tests be used for dentistry, appendicitis, kidney stones, and other pathologies not involving an acute or potentially life-threatening risk. Radiation, or radioactive ionization, including X-ray, and gamma radiation, is accumulative, and the inability to clear the radiation as fast as it accumulates leads to cell mutation and oxidative stress. The sensible answer to this health threat is to stop ignoring long-term adverse health effects and risks of cancer, individualize the risk assessment by reviewing the history of radiation exposure and cancer risk, stop ordering CT scans purely justified by 'defensive medicine' considerations, utilize other methods of imaging that are safer, and promote more use of radioprotective and antioxidant therapy in Complementary and Integrative Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (CIM/TCM).

The potential to protect against ionizing radiation from medical diagnostic and treatment devices, which in 1997 was estimated to have reached a level of total radiation in the population along with non-ionizing radiation that equaled the natural level of radiation humans are exposed to, presenting enormous adverse effects related to cancerous mutation and other adverse health effects, is proven to be available to all patients with CIM/TCM care. While we may not choose to take very high dosages of many herbs proven to be radioprotective, the research has revealed that many commonly used herbs in practice are radioprotective, as well as some foods, and incorporating a variety of herbal extracts and foods and juices into a protocol would provide significant benefit, and could prevent future cancer. The research links presented in Additional Information at the end of this article provide physicians and patients with information to achieve this goal.

CT, or CAT, are terms for computerized tomography, or computer assisted tomography. Tomography is a diagnostic means of imaging utilizing multiple slices, or sectioning, to create a clearer picture of tissues. CT scans utilize radiation, and are more accurately called X-ray tomography. There are many more types of diagnostic tomography available in medicine, and most of these pose less risk and harm than multiple X-rays, which deposit accumulative amounts of electromagnetic radiation in tissue, and create accumulative harm and risk, especially for cancerous mutations. CT scans are increasingly chosen in diagnosis, though, and the use of CT in modern medicine has increased at a dizzying rate, mainly because of the availability of the equipment, and the cost of the test, not because of the advantage with patient safety. CT scans may utilize many X-ray slices. Typically several phases with 10-50 quick X-ray rotations taking about a second apiece are used. Multiple X-ray snapshots may be taken at different angles during a rotation. The accumulative radiation is equivalent to many individual X-rays. A typical CT scan uses a 64 slice imaging, equivalent to 64 individual X-Rays, usually repeated to form the three-dimensional image required, and as a series of investigative articles in the New York Times revealed in 2010, the incidence of overradiation during routine CT testing is quite prevalent.

An X-ray is considered harmful. Lead shielding is used with X-ray to protect sensitive body parts, and to protect the technicians. X-ray levels have had to be reduced dramatically over the years due to the evidence of harm. The immediate harm from X-ray, though, is not the worst threat to our health. The long-term accumulative injury, compounded with the varying amounts of electromagnetic radiation accumulating within the body from ingesting of radioactive particles, or radionuclides, from environmental radiation sources, is the most important threat to consider. The radioactive nuclides often have a very long half-life and do not break down in the environment or in the body over a lifespan. X-ray, gamma ray, and other forms of electromagnetic radiation, is found naturally and unnaturally in our environment as well, produced both by nature, and by man-made equipment. This has led to difficulties in clearly identifying medical radiologic imaging as a specific source of radiation harm in specific cases. Despite these legal hurdles to proving that specific radiologic tests are responsible for health injury, especially cancer and less dramatic tissue lesions, we do know that accumulative radiation, and accumulative harm from radiation, is responsible for a dramatic and increasing percentage of cases of cancer in the U.S., and may be responsible for other cellular and tissue damage that contributes to a variety of health problems. It is sensible for individuals to be aware of these facts and protect themselves.

In 2013, investigators from the Government Accountability Office noted that there was a clear relationship between use of radiation therapies and imaging and direct profits to the prescribing Medical Doctors and health centers involved.

James C. Cosgrove PhD, director of the health care team at the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of the United States Congress, stated that financial incentives were contributing to higher use of such radiation therapies as intensity-modulated radiation therapy for cancerous tumors, not medical efficacy. Medical doctors that prescribe this treatment often have direct investment in the equipment used by other medical doctors in the same medical group that performs the radiation therapy. Dr. Cosgrove, a former economics professor at Marquette University, stated that this study showed that a higher percentage of prostate cancer patients were referred to radiation therapy when the prescribing doctors owned the equipment. Senator Max Baucus of Montana stated: "When you look at the numbers of this report, you start to wonder where health care stops and profiteering begins." Other government studies have noted a similar pattern with CT scan use when the prescribing doctor's group owned the equipment. Senator Baucus noted that current law is supposed to prevent these conflicts of interest in prescribing care, but an increasing number of physicians are skirting this law for personal gain.

The last President's Council on Cancer (quoted below) reported that a dramatic rise in the percentage of cancers in the U.S. attributable to CT scans has occurred, with estimates of up to 5% of all cancers in the U.S. directly caused by radiation, and a much higher percentage estimated as partially or indirectly caused by radiation. This number has risen dramatically in the last two decades, and a dramatic percentage of our radiation exposure in general now comes from medical radiation and especially the CT scan.

As we look at the figures of average radiation exposure, and the rise in the percentage attributed to CT scans and other nuclear imaging and treatment techniques, the individual must realize that these average figures include many individuals that have received no exposure with CT scans and other radiation testing and treatment, and that the actual radiation in regards to individuals that have received these tests and treatments is much higher than the average. Too often, medical doctors do not consider the individual history of the patient regarding individual radiation exposure, and prescribe these tests and treatments without a proper assessment of individualized risk versus benefit. The patient is responsible, to a large degree, in taking these considerations into the risk versus benefit assessment, and helping to make the right decision. One thing that the patient may also consider, is how much they are doing to counter the risks and harm from radiation in their bodies. If an individual is doing more to counter these risks and harm, they may find that the risk versus benefit assessment is changed, and the decision to get the tests or treatment is a more acceptable risk.

The 2008-2009 President's Cancer Panel, a mandated periodic report by the United States' leading cancer experts reported that radiation is one of the most important causes of cancer, and the the percentage of accumulative radiation in the average American attributable to medical imaging devices, especially CT scans, has risen dramatically. These experts stated: "While ionizing radiation exposures from radon, occupational, and other sources have remained essentially stable over the past 30 years, Americans now are estimated to receive nearly half of their total radiation exposure from medical imaging and other medical sources, compared with only 15 percent in the early 1980s. The increase in medical radiation has nearly doubled the total average effective radiation dose per individual in the United States. Computed Tomography (CT) and nuclear medicine tests alone now contribute 36 percent of the total radiation exposure and 75 percent of the medical radiation exposure of the U.S. population. Medical imaging of children is of special concern; compared with adults, children have many more years of life during which a malignancy initiated by medical radiation can develop. Many referring physicians, radiology professionals, and the public are unaware of the radiation dose associated with various tests or the total radiation dose and related increased cancer risk individuals may accumulate over a lifetime. People who receive multiple scans or other tests that require radiation may accumulate doses equal to or exceeding that of Hiroshima atomic bomb survivors. It is believed that a single large dose of ionizing radiation and numerous low doses equal to the single large dose have much the same effect on the body over time." --- LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., Professor of Surgery Howard University College of Medicine Washington, DC, and Margaret L. Kripke, M.D. Ph.D. Professor Emerita The University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center Houston, TX, lead authors of the PCP (President's Cancer Panel) report.

The danger from electromagnetic and other forms of radiation is accumulative. Radioactive radionuclides emit radiation and are accumulative in the body, and the harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation from radionuclides and from photon radiation such as X-ray are also accumulative. There is very little difference between radionuclide gamma radiation and X-ray radiation. Our bodies have varying degrees of ability, though, to counter these accumulative harmful effects, and this is where the individual may take proactive steps to increase the ability of our bodies to counter this accumulative radioactive harm and risk. Each individual may be exposed to different amounts of radiation in their lives, ingesting different amounts of radionuclides that continue to emit radiation, sometimes for one's entire life, and receiving doses of electromagnetic and other forms of radiation in differing amounts. This equation is complicated to exactly measure and assess. Today, the dramatic rise in poorly regulated natural gas drilling and hydrofracturing of the deep rock layers in the earth to release natural gas is releasing a significant amount of radionuclides into our environment, which we will all eventually ingest with food and water. The smart patient will assess their radiation exposure and take steps to counter it in a healthy and safe manner. As the level of radiation rises in our environment and the capacity of the human body to clear radiation remains limited, exposure to unnecessary medical radiation, and ignoring the potential to help the body protect itself from radiation and to clear radiation with CIM/TCM is not sensible.

The Failure to Take a Realistic Attitude to Prevent Long-term Adverse Health Effects and Risks from Medical Radiation Exposure as the level of Accumulative Environmental Radiation Continues to Rise

Unfortunately, we have bred a general attitude of ignoring this health threat from accumulative radiation, not understanding it, and not taking sufficient measures to counter it. Medical doctors and the standard medical community keep repeating that the tests and treatments they use are beneficial, and so we should just ignore the risks and harm to our health. There is an attitude that if we object to, or discuss, this risk and harm, that we are being negative concerning testing and treatment. The black and white attitude is not helping us deal with the problem, and is allowing standard medicine to increase these risks and harms without regard for consequences, and without creating better means of countering the risks and harms of radiation, which are accumulative. Proper assessment will take into consideration the individual's history with radiation accumulation, the patient's concern with accumulative radiation, the family history of cancer, the exposure risks at their workplace or in their community environment, and in many cases offer testing and treatment options that avoid excess accumulative radiation. When the radiological testing and treatment is necessary, integrating protective medicine into the patient protocol is also a sound approach. Standard medicine has to this point failed to provide pharmaceutical medicines to counter radiation risk and harm, although by 2012 a few medicines, such as amifostine, have shown promise. Unfortunately, the side effects of amifostine include hypotension in 62 percent of patients, hypocalcemia, erythema multiform, toxic epidermal necrolysis, erythroderma, Steven-Johnson syndrome, and other hypersensitivity syndromes, as well as diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Complementary and Integrative Medicine (CIM/TCM), though, is coming up with sound research that provides safe therapeutic means of countering and reducing the risks and harms from radiation without side effects. Studies cited below show that many herbal chemicals in Chinese herbs are radioprotective, and science is finding better and better ways to stimulate specific immune and detox responses with nutrient medicine and acupuncture.

In 2010, the acknowledged risk and adverse effects from medical radiation and accumulative radiation exposure finally prompted the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to adopt measures to protect the public. The Initiative to Reduce Unnecessary Radiation Exposure finally established requirements for manufacturers of CT and X-ray scanning devices to incorporate stronger safeguards in design and user training, and move forward to establish diagnostic reference levels as well as a national patent database to record individual radiation accumulation and increase informed consent information for patients to consider. The FDA also committed to provide tools for patients to track their personal imaging history and accumulative radiation exposure risks. Unfortunately, by 2016, six years later, these measures are still not widely instituted or used. Large conservative studies have shown that nearly half of Medical Doctors surveyed admitting to using CT scans as part of a "defensive medicine" strategy to avoid potential malpractice lawsuits, that about a third of all CT scans ordered were primarily due to "defensive medicine" considerations, that as many as 20 percent of all CT scans were unnecessary duplicate studies, and an acknowledgement that about a fourth of all CT scans used in the Emergency Room were unnecessary, with use for evaluation of chronic headaches, and hematuria with kidney stones cited. Studies showed that use of the CT scans in unnecessary circumstances showed that less than a fourth of these tests provided any useful diagnostic information. While CT and MRI have been lumped together in these studies, the adverse health effects from unnecessary MRI are virtually nonexistent, and the guidelines that have greatly reduced the use of MRI imaging are obviously harming diagnosis in many cases, and even promoting the continued overuse of CT scans. More advanced MRI technology is available that is much less expensive and portable, does not require that the patient remain motionless in a large machine for a long time, and could be improved even further if supported to provide very low cost and very effective imaging for better diagnosis and improved delivery of appropriate care on a timely basis.

Radionuclides, used in radiation therapy, and in some nuclear testing, are radioactive particles that decay slowly and themselves emit radiation. Different types of radionuclides decay at differing rates, and some forms used in radiation therapy and testing decay relatively quickly, while others decay very slowly. Radionuclides in the environment, such as radioactive caesium released into the water from nuclear power plants, decays very slowly, and these slow decaying radionuclides are accumulating in the environment and contributing to a greater and greater degree of electromagnetic radiation. The half-life of caesium 137, a radioactive isotope of caesium commonly released from nuclear power plants, has a half-life (meaning the time to decay just half of the radiating isotope) of about 30 years. It is estimated that it may take more than 200 years for caesium 137 to decay to 1 percent of its radioactivity. As more and more caesium isotopes, and other slowly decaying radioactive isotopes, accumulate in our environment, and the amount of electromagnetic radiation increases, our bodies, and immune systems, only have a certain capacity to correct the cell mutations that occur due to this radiation. While a single incidence of exposure may not produce significant risk, the accumulation of radioactive particles over time poses a significant risk that can be easily avoided with use of more benign technologies, as well as preventive measures in Complementary Medicine.

X-rays are electromagnetic radiation that are emitted from various generators, and gamma radiation is a very similar electromagnetic radiation emitted from radionuclides such as caesium 137 or iodine isotopes. Both of these types of electromagnetic radiation are used in radiological testing. Radiation leaking from nuclear power plants, often into the waterways, also contains radionuclides of caesium 137 and iodine isotopes. All of these sources, including medical imaging, contribute to the accumulative harmful effects of radiation. The key point in this assessment of radiation is that our technological world is creating increasing amounts of ubiquitous radiation in our environment, and as this increases, we must be increasingly concerned about the amount of electromagnetic radiation that we are exposed to, not less concerned over time. After the initial wave of nuclear reactors were built in the U.S., dangers and risks were exposed, especially the frequent leaking of radionuclides from releases of coolant water, and no more nuclear reactors were built. Because of this, the level of environmental radiation has stayed fairly stable for 30 years. As we build new nuclear power plants, and as the old plants age and experience dysfunction, the environmental accumulative radiation is sure to increase. There are currently 61 nuclear power plants in the United States, almost all of them past their intended time of use, with 35 of these plants having 2 or more reactors. Recent advances have shown the capability of building numerous small fusion reactors to replace these aging fission reactors, and this safe and clean form of nuclear energy should be supported. Other clean forms of energy production, besides wind and solar, are also now viable, including the use of plasma arc disintegrators to break down our solid waste accumulation, which is efficient, clean and generates more electricity than it consumes. The enormous amount of stored spent nuclear fuel is perhaps the biggest concern in this equation, and like radiation in the body, is accumulative, only getting worse over time, which we should quit ignoring.

While the medical industry has focused on acute injury from destruction of tissue with excessive dosage of this radiation, and recent investigations into a significant number of incidences of harm from CT scans have also focused on acute tissue injury from overdose of radiation, or improper focus of the radiation beams, the most important worry for most patients should be the long-term consequences and accumulative radiation. Just because these diagnostic tests have not caused an acute dramatic tissue injury does not mean that there are no long-term negative consequences. These long-term consequences have been known and discussed since 1900, yet little actual study of this harm was accomplished until 2000. One reason for the lack of concern is that current evaluation of cancer causation from radiation exposure still uses studies from the past nuclear meltdowns and bomb testing, with no studies whatsoever that have realistically measured the long-term outcomes from standard accumulative radiation. This type of statistical evaluation has downplayed the actual risk. Numerous studies of population cancer rates from low level accumulative radiation have not been accepted in statistical evaluation.

Public confusion concerning radiation is a major problem with clearly identifying health risks from specific types of radiation, and making individual decisions concerning risks versus benefits from specific medical imaging tests. What is radiation? This term applies to energy radiated in the form of waves or particles. To radiate means to spread out, either in a direct line or in all directions, but radiation means that energy is spread in a ray. A ray of energy is a stream of particles. There are many types of energy rays in our modern world; electron, radon, gamma, cathode, ultraviolet, infrared, microwave, etc. When referring to radiation, this word may mean a wide variety of types, frequencies, intensities, and degrees of harm. Each type of radiation, though, may injure the cells in our bodies with sufficient levels of exposure, and some forms of radiation are accumulative over time. Gamma rays and X-rays are similar forms of electromagnetic radiation, but differ in the source of the radiating energy, the amount of energy, and the frequency of radiation.

Confusion concerning differing types of radiation and the risk presented has led many patients to believe that there is no risk or harm from repeated CT scans. When reading an article on the radiation risk from cell phones or other devices, one may get the impression that there is an exageration of the risk and harm and that this applies to CT scans as well. This is not true. The risk and harm is now well documented concerning CT scans, but many physicians continue to repeat the mantra from the 90s that there is no proven harm or risk. The dramatic rise in the use of CT scans instead of utilization of benign imaging techniques, such as advanced MRI, results in many patients receiving a lifetime cumulative dose of radiation that dramatically increases risks of cancer and other disease, yet is rarely considered or discussed by their physician. Many patients are unaware that multiple CT scans are used in testing, such as in heart disease, where one type of CT with contrast to observe arteries, and another CT without contrast is used to observe calcification of heart tissues. These issues are being addressed with low-dose CT, age-adjusted guidelines, and techniques that eliminate the need for a dual CT, but a better outcome could be achieved by choosing advanced MRI and ultrasound, which involves no radiation risk, whenever possible.

Alternative technology is now widely available with tomography, but the patient may have to be referred outside the hospital group to obtain these more benign tests. Many health managed companies are loathe to refer outside their business to achieve this, but with increased demand by patients, this is gradually changing. In many cases, these alternatives must be explored by the patient. A specific medical doctor, clinic, or hospital will have access to certain technologies, or ties to radiology businesses with certain technologies. Alternatives that are safer and that will generate a similar amount of valuable diagnostic information are often not presented to the patient properly due to economic concerns. Various forms of tomography will reveal different degrees of information. For instance, an MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, will show the differences distinctly in soft tissues, while the X-ray will more clearly show the bone. Newer, advanced MRI imaging has come onto the market, allowing much clearer tomography, the ability to set the patient in a variety of positions, shorter testing times, and reduced cost. These new advnanced MRI imaging tests are discouraged at present by the industry, which needs to replace its current machines with the new technology, and prefers to make greater profits by using the old machines. PET, or positron emission tomography, is a type of testing where a system detects gamma rays emitted from positron-emitting radionuclides introduced into the body on a biologically active molecule. These PET scans may or may not utilize CT as well during the test. The type of tracer molecule used determines the amount of radiation received, or necessary. The radionuclide used has a very short half-life and is introduced into the blood circulation. If the CT is not used in the test, the PET scan is nearly harmless. Because of the high cost of maintaining availability of short-lived radioactive isotopes, the use of PET scans is currently limited. SPECT, or single photon emission computed tomography, is another type of testing that utilizes simpler tracer molecules. The gamma ray camera rotated around the patient does not issue gamma rays, but detects them. This type of testing may may more utilized in the future, when public concern about the radiation dosing stirs industry or governmental change.

A considerable risk of breast and other cancers is shown with CT or CAT scans, occurring years after the testing, and newer MRI technology could replace these CT scans for cancer screening, eliminating this high risk of future cancer

MRI has been shown to be a valuable tool to detect cancer, and no radiation or other harm occurs with MRI study. In the April, 2011 issue of Radiology researchers at the reknowned cancer center, Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York City, headed by Dr. Janice Sung, stated that MRI has a proven efficacy as an adjunct to mammography in screening women at high risk for breast cancer, and is especially appropriate when their is a history of breast cancer risk from prior high radiation. The article states: "The incidence of breast cancer increases approximately 8 years after chest irradiation, and 13 percent to 20 percent of women treated with moderate to high-dose chest irradiation for a pediatric cancer will be diagnosed with breast cancer by age 40 to 45. In comparison, the cumulative evidence of invasive breast cancer by age 45 among women in the general population is only 1 percent." Dr. Sung states that very few women have been offered MRI in the screening of breast cancers. The cost of MRI has been comparable to CT scan, but with newer MRI technology, this cost has been reduced considerably. The failure of the medical community, insurance industry, and government, to consider such options to decrease the X-Ray exposure from CT scans is unacceptable. The American Cancer Society in 2007 concluded that: "Several studies have demonstrated the ability of MRI screening to detect cancer with early-stage tumors that are associated with better outcomes. While survival or mortality data are not available, MRI has higher sensitivity and finds smaller tumors, compared with mammography, and the types of cancers found with MRI are the types that contribute to reduced mortality. It is reasonable to extrapolate that detection of noninvasive (DCIS) and small invasive cancers will lead to mortality benefit."

The first reported findings of the efficacy of MRI to distinguish normal from cancerous tissue came in 1974, when Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, a physician and biophysicist at Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, patented this methodology. Since then, the use of MRI in cancer detection has been downplayed, and the use of CT or CAT has been heavily promoted by the industry. Newer MRI technology has created relatively portable machines and advanced imaging detail with computer software that cancels out the effects of movement on the imaging data. The push to treat calcific microlesions, called precancerous lesions, has been the chief reason cited to choose CT over MRI, but with newer technology that allows single X-ray radiology to detect smaller calcific lesions, the choice of CT over MRI no longer makes sense. The treatment of so-called precancerous microlesions that are calcifications has been controversial as well, with a very large percentage of these nodules or lesions not actually progressing to a true cancer, and much unnecessary, harmful, and stress generating treatment prescribed without basis. In addition, newer technology now allows detection of calcification without radiation. Vibro-acoustography has been shown to be effective in detecting microcalcifications by such prestigious institutions as the Mayo Clinic. This method has been proven to provide greater detail in distinguishing types of calcification over CT. Distinguishing calcifications with CT and identifying a potentially precancerous lesion from a benign lesion has been a subject of much concern. Calcifications created by breast augmentation, as well as vascular calcifications, are frequently seen in tissues and not distinguished from a calcified precancerous lesion.

The Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University advocates increased use of MRI in cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment guidance. This institute gives the pros and cons of MRI in cancer diagnosis, citing the safety, extremely clear and detailed soft tissue imagery that other imaging techniques cannot achieve, the ability to cover larger parts of the body, and determine if the cancer has spread. The disadvantages are that it will not be able to detect very small microcalcifications that distinguish some precancerous lesions, that it cannot always distinguish between malignant and benign tumors, that the test is relatively expensive, that the patient must remain still in an enclosed machine, and that a small bit of metal or metal implant may be affected by the strong magnetic field. These three disadvantages have been resolved with newer MRI technology, and the clarity of newer MRI technology improves the distinguishing between malignant and cancerous tumors. The combination of MRI with a single X-Ray eliminates the first disadvantage. In short, there are no longer any significant disadvantages to MRI over CT scan in cancer detection. There is only a resistance to change now that the industry has created so many CT scanners, and invested in this technology. Once the tumor is seen on MRI, a biopsy must be performed anyway, to determine the type of cell and potential malignancy. CT scan offers little advantage in this area.

With a medical industry that ignores the findings of the Presidents Cancer Panel and continues to doggedly insist that CT scans are completely benign to patients, while reading the numerous studies outlining the immense amount of harm and cancer causation from X-Ray accumulative injury and radiation, there seems only one solution. The patient must become better educated and take a more proactive role in selection of the best testing in each individual case, assessing risk versus benefit themselves, and discussing this intelligently with the physician. When the X-Ray technologies are utilized, especially CT scan, the patient must take another proactive step and seek out professional guidance to utilize research-based methods to help decrease future risks and harm with Complementary and Integrative Medicine.

Research into the long-term harmful effects and risks of electromagnetic radiation in various cellular systems

It is only in the last decade that research has led to an understanding of the actual harmful effects of gamma radiation within the human cellular systems over the long term. An article published in Cell Biology and Function in 2002 stated that until 2001, no satisfactory mechanism had been proposed to explain the harmful long-term adverse effects of electromagnetic radiation such as X-Ray and gamma ray. Research had been very limited in exploring this pathophysiology. Finally, though, in 2000, a number of research studies were identifying the mechanisms of harm to guide therapy and restrict excess accumulative effects of gamma radiation. The most acknowledged finding was the effects of free radical oxidants and oxidative stress generated by electromagnetic radiation. The levels of cellular detoxifying superoxide dismutase (SOD) increased, and nitric oxide levels, one metabolic means of clearing cellular damage, decreased in animals exposed to electromagnetic radiation. The decrease in nitric oxide levels could either mean that more nitric oxide was being used in the damaged cells, contributing to cellular damage, or that the capacity to generate more nitric oxide was impaired. Such findings of increased oxidative stress with long-term adverse effects of electromagnetic radiation would explain the increased risk of cancerous mutations. Patients who need a CT scan for their diagnosis would be advised to utilize a potent cellular antioxidant, such as CoQ10. To better understand the questions concerning antioxidant use, go the article on this website entitled Antioxidants and Free Radicals.

Ionizing radiation is one of the most prolific generators of free oxygen radicals we know of. Ions are charged molecules, and ionizing radiation occurs with such electromagnetic radiations as X-ray and gamma ray. X-ray produces electron rays generated outside the nucleus of the radioactive material used, and gamma rays are produced from the nucleus of the radioactive material. They both use streams of radiating electrons or positrons to penetrate deep into the body and cells. Free radical oxidants are mainly intermediaries between oxygen (O2) and water (H20), and three main free radical oxidants are superoxide (O2-), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydroxyl radicals (OH-). The hydroxyl radical has 3 electrons and is extremely reactive and damaging to cellular membranes. The hydroxyl radical initiates lipid peroxidation and affects unsaturated fatty acids and phospholipid membranes. The lipid radicals created react with oxygen and form lipid peroxide radicals that affect free fatty acids, and initiate a chain reaction where cell membranes are degenerated and damaging proteins with disulphide bonds are created. This activates chronic inflammatory mechanisms of the complement immune system and creates inflammatory stress that may contribute to cancerous cell mutation and other diseases.

Ionizing radiation is also capable of radiolysis of water, resulting in the formation of hydroxyl radicals, loss of integrity of cell membranes, and damage to DNA. When a cell is damaged or genetically altered, it may not undergo programmed cell death, or apoptosis, as scheduled, and allow itself to undergo more mutations before it is replaced. The cell may also not express certain proteins correctly from the DNA, resulting in the loss of protections from excess cell duplications, or excess vascularization, and other protein regulations that are at the heart of cancerous tumor growth and metastasis. X-ray and gamma ray are high energy and high frequency electromagnetic waves, or waves of photons, making them ideal for imaging. When these fundamental DNA mutations occur, future replications of these cells are more likely to develop genetic mutations that result in a cancerous growth. Despite the differences in sources, with X-ray coming from excitation of electrons and gamma ray from a radioactive nucleus, these imaging rays are nearly identicle in many aspects, and damage cells by penetrating deeply and damaging cells largely through indirect ionizing effects. While oxidant stress is associated with a wide array of diseases, the effects of ionizing radiation as a cause or contributor to cancerous cell mutation is more well known.

The more we know about the mechanisms of damage to cell by X-ray, the more we can devise the best strategies for protection against radiation damage from CT scans. Antioxidants are a large class of chemicals, with many antioxidants supplied by the diet, and many more created in the body. Choosing the right antioxidant nutrient and herbal medicines, and stimulating the right immune responses to repair DNA damage are the two most important concerns in clearing the long-term damage and risk from CT scans.

Taking a proactive approach to countering the risks and harmful effects of CT scans and other medical nuclear imaging, as well as nuclear radiation in treatment

You may have chosen to utilize a radiation therapy or radiological imaging, such as a CT scan, to diagnose or treat a health problem. After these test and treatments, worry about the current state of your health, and long-term implications of the side-effects and risks need to be addressed. Testing that you and your doctor may have decided presents a greater benefit than risk may also contribute future risk and harm, and engender much worry on the part of the patient. The positive method of dealing with these adverse effects of therapy and testing is to utilize a step-by-step approach with Complementary and Integrative Medicine to reduce the damage and long-term risks, counter the physiological side-effects, and improve overall health, especially of the immune system, and the liver and kidney, which are often adversely effected as they try to clear toxicities and break down and eliminate chemicals in the body. Work with a Complementary Med Physician or physicians, such as a Licensed Acupuncturist, Herbologist, Naturopath etc. will help guide the restoration of your health. A knowledgeable Licensed Acupuncturist/herbalist will be able to utilize the current research to analyze risks and side effects, and counter these with clinically proven strategies.

Much research is being conducted into the potential of herbs, nutrient supplements, and acupuncture to protect against the harmful effects of radiation therapy, testing, and chemotoxic agents, and remarkable findings are emerging. Such herbs as Gingko bliloba, ginseng, piper longum (Bi ba), tinospora cordifolia (Kuan jin teng), and ginger have long been proven to protect against radiation (see extensive articles below in additional information), as well as Scutellari baicalensis (Huang qin), Curcuma long (Jiang huang, E zhu), Siberian ginseng, Cordyceps sinensis (Dong chong xia cao), Pueria (Ge gen), and Milk thistle, all routinely used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. In addition, sulfur containing foods (e.g. parsnip, horseradish, watercress, cabbage, radish, spinach, cucumber, turnip, cashew, parsley, steel cut oats) and herbs have long been studied in relation to protection against harmful effects of radiation, as has chlorella. The United States government offers a medical database of such research on PubMed, the National Institutes of Health medical research database. In addition, a wealth of research within the sphere of Complementary Medicine, has long sought answers to these common public health problems, and much of this research is not published in standard medical journals, a criteria for admittance of research onto such databases as PubMed. The professional and knowledgeable Licensed Acupuncturist and herbalist has access to much of this information, and has received extensive education in their medical training.

Today, there is a fast growing field of medical research in herbal and nutrient chemistry. We no longer need to rely on historical or anecdotal evidence to treat. While the United States lags behind most countries in utilizing Complementary Medicine, medical research is being shared across the planet. By sharing herbal and nutrient medical research, patients and physicians will have greater options for the best possible integrated health care. Much of the research from China in the past was not accepted for publication in standard medical journals due to social and political bias, and industry decisions based on profit motive. We can hope that the opening of research sharing between China and the United States, as in the historic agreement of 2008 between the University of California San Francisco and Peking University, will provide us with more useful information that is evidence-based concerning Chinese herbal medicine today.

Here is a step-by-step logical guide to correcting these problems, assessing risk and harm, and taking the best steps to insure future health:

Clearly define your symptoms

Symptoms are not something we like to think about, especially when they are chronic. You need to overcome this aversion and clearly define, in writing, what are your symptoms, so that the exact cause of these symptoms can be discovered and treated. Treatment of symptoms is the first step in your recovery, but is not the most important step. To insure sustained benefit, actual reversal of damage to the physiological function in your body must be achieved, and this is not always evident by looking at the symptoms. If you stop your recovery when your symptoms subside, you are not achieving your goals. The Complementary Medicine physician will explain how your symptoms of drug and radiation side effects reveal damage to essential systems in your body. These long-term health problems need to be addressed with a step-by-step protocol to regain healthy homeostasis and function.

Understand how radiation may negatively affect your health and what type of radiation exposure, and to what organs or tissues, is involved

When you know the mechanism of damage, and where this damage may have occurred, or is continuing to occur, reversal of this damage and risk can be achieved in your therapy. For instance, if you had a chest CT, or a head CT, the radiation exposure is affecting different tissues that may require different treatment approaches to counter potential harm or risk. After the test, different antioxidants, immune stimulants, and nutrient medicines may be utilized to aid specific organ tissues, or herbs to enhance faster tissue healing may be needed. The ability of the body to detoxify may need to be enhanced, and our main detoxifying system, our liver function, needs to be enhanced again. Certain nutrient supplements greatly aid this process and these supplements should be combined with foods containing them to insure greatest utilization. Herbal strategies can be used to improve liver function and immune health as well, and Acupuncture stimulation will also be very effective to encourage improved physiological function, and will work to increase the effectiveness of the supplements and herbal formulas. Herbal formulas are usually taken in short courses, while nutrient medicines need to be taken for a longer period of time. Acupuncture stimulation helps these strategies work better, and the complete package of care insures a faster and better outcome. Discuss this process with your physician.

Help your body to help itself

The body has a natural mechanism to repair damage, called the immune system. This complex system can be made to work better by both utilizing specific herbs, supplements and acupuncture, and also by decreasing physiological stress and improving general health. Your body has certain limitations or tolerances for stress. When these limitations are exceeded, your immune system will not work effectively. Stress is defined as the physiological needs in the body, not just work deadlines and emotional situations at home. Each individual has a certain capacity for stress. The less healthy you are, the less stress tolerance that you have. To decrease stress and improve your physiological tolerances, you need to decrease work, emotional aggravation, and exposure to harmful chemicals. To improve tolerances, you need to increase therapies, healthy diet, healthy exercise, sunlight, fresh air, and restful periods. You may need to discuss a temporary reduction in the amount of medication that you consume with the prescribing M.D.. When you do all of these things positive results will happen. When you fail to do these things, you will perpetuate your problem. Changes in your lifestyle are difficult, but not as difficult as the changes to your lifestyle that will be forced on you if you don't temporarily deal with restoration of your health.

I hope this short guide to therapy is helpful to you in organizing your physical recovery and decreasing future risks from necessary CT scans and other radioactive nuclear testing and treatment. You need to work with your Complementary Medicins physician to insure that this process works as well as you want it to, and stick to a guided therapeutic course till you achieve your goals. Don't let worry consume you and prevent positive action. You also need to address the mental problems that often accompany these harsh therapies, such as depression and anxiety. I hope that I can be your guide to a full recovery.

CT scan injury and investigation

The President's Cancer Panel in 2009 warned that the radiation dosage from tests has been found to be highly variable and poorly regulated. This definitive report stated: "Morever, radiation dose for the same test can vary dramatically depending on the equipment used, technologist skill, application of dose-reduction strategies, and patient size, age, and gender. Licensure of imaging and radiation therapy technologists varies depending on the type of test performed by the technologist. Some states have only partial regulation; six states and the District of Columbia have no licensure or regulatory provisions of any kind." These states include Florida, where the profession is not governed by Chapter 456, Florida Statutes, but by a certification process. To compare this certification process to an actual Diagnostic Radiologist training, a Diagnostic Radiologist must complete undergraduate premedical schooling, 4 years of an approved medical school, one year of internship, and 4 years of residency training. After residency, radiologists often pursue one or two years of additional specialty fellowship training. This equals 15 years of education and training after high school, compared to just 2 years of vocational training for some operators of CT scans.

How does the patient know the level of training and regulatory requirements concerning the administrators and technologists performing the radiology testing? Many states lack a high degree of training and regulation of the adminstration of CT and other radiologic tests. The public often assumes that the amount of radiation from these tests is uniform, but this is not the case. For example, in Florida, a Certified Radiologic Technologist must be at least 18 years old, be of good moral character, and have completed a two year accredited Radiologic Technology Program, except for Basic X-ray Machine Operators, who are not required to complete any educational program, but are merely required to pass a test. If the radiologist holds a current certificate or registration to practice Radiologic Technology from another state that is considered substantially equivalent (in the department's opinion) to those established by the Florida Statutes, and is endorsed by a clinic or hospital, certification may also be granted without testing.

In California, a Licensure for Radiologists exists, yet Limited X-Ray Machine Operators may perform some CT scans. Limited X-Ray Machine Operators typically earn an X-Ray certificate from a vocational school and then take a certification exam. Limited X-Ray certification means that the technicians are limited to perform X-Ray testing on the chest, extremities and torso-skeletal portions of the body, but not the head and neck. The medical industry takes the risks of CT scans lightly and the large lobbying and political donation clout of the medical industry has affected the government regulation of radiological testing and treatment.

In 2000, the introduction of conebeam CT (CBCT), a lowered dosage and more directed CT X-Ray device, was introduced to the market and heavily marketed to dentists. The degree of certification and regulation of this technology varies considerably. For example, the province of Ontario, Canada, restricts the purchase and operation of CBCT machines to radiologists, yet many states in the U.S. do not even require a radiologic certification of dentistry to allow these machines to be operated in a dental office. The array of types of machines also poses some risk, as many offices adapt machines to act as a directed conebeam, rather than buy a more expensive machine. Here, the patient has an unqualified dentist operating an adapted machine, in an unregulated situation, and the only protection afforded the patient is the knowledge and integrity of a sales technician from the company that sells and adapts the conebeam CT device. The reports of failures in setting these machines, operating them, or confusion in operation and setting have become numerous. The public is led to believe that these machines are harmless because there is rarely an immediate X-Ray burn visible, but injury from improper use may not show for weeks, and the consequences of long-term radiation accumulation are rarely discussed.

  1. An August 1, 2010 article in the New York Times by Walt Bogdanich describes the third part of an investigative reporting into CT scan overdosing, its prevalence and injury. These articles are blocked from linking on the web, but searching online or accessing via other organizations is still possible: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/01/health/01radiation.html
  2. An August 1, 2010 article in the CBS Interactive Business Network online publication BNET, by Robert Klein, later published on LifeExtension, also outlines the exent to which CT scans have been shown to cause injury, cancers, and excessive radiation. The number of CT scans administered in the U.S. rose from 3 million in 1980 to approximately 70 million performed each year by 2010: http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2010/aug2010_protect-your-dna-from-ct-scans-x-rays_01.htm
  3. After a series of investigative articles on CT scan overdosing and the extent of injuries in the U.S. governments were forced to take this problem more seriously. This article describes legislation signed into law by a Republican governor in 2010 before he left office, which establishes a requirement for the first time that clinics and hospitals must keep track of CT scan radiation and inform patients when they are overdosed. The bill, introduced by California State Senator Alex Padilla, SB 1237, would require CT scans to have an imprint of the radiation dosage to verify that a correct and safe dosage is administered, and was written in response to reports of a large number of radiation overdoses from respected hospitals, such as the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where 260 patients received over 8 times the normal dose of radiation while undergoing brain scans to diagnose strokes: http://www.cmalaw.net/blog/2010/12/california-cracks-down-on-ct-scan-over-dosing.shtml/or click here: http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2010/04/senator-authors-legislation-to-prevent-radiation-overdoses/
  4. A June 20, 2011 article by Karen Cheung-Larivee documents how double CT scans continued in standard practice in hospitals and clinics after warnings from the President's Cancer Panel that medical imaging radiation should be dramatically decreased in the United States. In 2008, some hospitals ran nearly 90 percent of their patients through double CT scans, and Medicare paid hospitals $25 million for double CT scans in 2008 alone, often unnecessarily. Guidelines state that double CT scans should only be used when absolutely necessary, and the average percentage of double CT scans is only 5.4 percent of the total in U.S. hospitals. Since 2009, and the President's Cancer Panel warnings, these double CT scans have not been reduced significantly. Patients need to be aware and ask about medical radiation and the use and necessity of CT and double CT scans in their diagnostic workup: http://www.fiercehealthcare.com/story/hospitals-are-overusing-double-ct-scans-risking-patient-harm-cms-finds/2011-06-20
  5. A January 3, 2013 article in ScienceDaily outlines the findings of a study at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada, that repeat CT scans commonly used in evaluation of head trauma are almost never needed, and rarely contribute to the treatment decisions. The reasons that these repeat CT scans are overused are twofold. 1) medical doctors have been convinced that there is little harm from accumulative radiation, and 2) alternative methods of testing without radiation have not been adopted by hospitals and medical businesses: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130103113848.htm

Information Resources and Additional Information with Links to Scientific Studies

The growing body of research concerning protective effects of Chinese herbs with radiation and chemotherapy is often not published in medical journals that are primarily funded and promoted by the standard medical industry. Below is just a sample of the research available to the public. The fact that herbal and nutrient medicine, as well as acupuncture, is being incorporated into the standard protocol of many prominent cancer clinics is proof that this research is sound. The research the confirms that hepatoprotective effects of herbs and nutrient medicines to decrease liver dysfunction and disease as a result of the stress of pharmaceutical drug breakdown and detoxification by the liver is also extensive. Of course, antioxidant mechanisms, immune stimulation, and many other protocols, such as enhancement of glutathione metabolism are important subjects to be explored as well. Below is just a small sample of the research and articles devoted to this subject.

  1. A conservative overview of the cancer-causing effects of radiation is presented by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), noting that the official generally accepted level of yearly safe limit on accumulative, or stochastic, radiation beyond normal background radiation which the human organism has evolved a system of protection against, is 1000 mrem (milliRem) per year. A Rem is a unit of radiation dose derived from Roentgen equivalent man, equal to the unit of biological damage from one Rad dosage of accumulative radiation from X-ray or gamma rays. Medical X-Rays generally deliver about 10 mrem, but a common CT scan is composed of about 1100 mrem, with just one CT exceeding the conservative safe limit of accumulative radiation above normal background radiation in a year. Despite this fact, many medical doctors continue to utilize multiple CT scans in a year for diagnostic purposes. The EPA states that there is no safe level of accumulative radiation, though, and to utilize multiple CT scans, sometimes in the same diagnostic procedure, is an illogical denial of cancer risk by modern medical doctors: http://www.epa.gov/rpdweb00/understand/health_effects.html
  2. A 2015 study of the long-term effects of accumulative radiation by experts at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Kagoshima Universities, in Japan, and The University of Manchester, UK, note that the health threats from low-level accumulative radiation is well documented, not only for cancers, but for cardiovascular disease and other diseases, and that the assumption in the limited study of low-grade accumulative radiation from numerous sources, including medical technology, may be falsely assuming a linear measure of health threat. These experts agree that an appropriate dose-response relation needs to be set for low doses of accumulative radiation, which was still not accomplished by 2015: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736%2815%2961167-9/abstract
  3. The results of a large demographic study of patients receiving CT scans before the age of 22 revealed an increased risk of cancer of 3-fold with multiple scans: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(12)60815-0/abstract
  4. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in 2013 noted that between 1996 and 2005 that the number of CT scans for children younger than 5 doubled and for children 5 to 14 tripled, leading to an estimated 4 million CT scans per year for children. The researchers noted that an estimated 4870 future cancers per year would result from these CT scans. Many, if not all of these cancers could have been avoided, and could be avoided for future children, if alternative testing methods were used or developed. This study was headed by Diana Miglioretti of the University of California at Davis School of Medicine, who received her research training at Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health: http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1696279
  5. A 2013 study of the risk of cancer from CT scans for assessing coronary artery disease, conducted by the Tzu Chi College of Technology, Hualian, Taiwan, found that accumulative radiation exposure from cardiac imaging or other therapeutic procedures may be associated with increased risk of breast and lung cancers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23803032
  6. A 2012 study of breast cancer risk from excess exposure to medical diagnostic radiation, specifically CT or CAT scans, by experts at the Tuzla University School of Medicine, and the University of Sarajevo, in Boznia and Herzegovina, found that the leading causes of breast cancer now acknowledged in all large studies are exposure to radiation and aging, and that radiation is accumulative and causes cancer over long periods of time. These conservative experts point to the fact that we need to both inform patients of these risks and clearly chart and diminish this cancer threat: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3687479/
  7. A 2009 study of 31,462 patients who had undergone a CT scan in 2007, and more than one prior CT scan in their life, to assess risk of cancer from accumulative radiation exposure, was performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. This study concluded that cumulative CT radiation exposure did increase cancer risk, with subgroups of patients potentially at higher risk. 7 percent of these patients had a level of risk of cancer being caused by this accumulative CT radiation indicating that greater than 1 percent (estimated at 5 percent by some studies) of cancer mortalities were caused by this accumulative radiation, while the majority of patients showed a level of risk of this accumulative radiation causing 1 percent of cancer deaths and 0.7 of all cancers: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19332852
  8. A 2013 study of the risk of cancer from CT scans for assessing coronary artery disease, and other chest diseases, by the University Hospital in Basel, Switzerland, found that a single chest CT posed a low risk, but that current evidence for accumulative effects and the risk of radiation-induced organ cancers showed the need to outweigh the potential benefit with risks, especially in young patients: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23761544
  9. A 2015 multicenter study at Georgetown University, the U.S. National Cancer Institute, and the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, in the U.S. and China, showed that accumulative radiation impairs T cell activation my affecting metabolic processes of glucose uptake, glycolysis, and metabolic programming of immune cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26078715
  10. New guidelines in 2013 for CT screening, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found physicians specializing in diseases of the heart and lung (chest disease) recommending that CT scans be limited to older patients with a high risk of lung cancer. A 2012 recommendation by The American Association for Thoracic Surgery recommended annual CT for patients with a history of smoking 20-30 packs of cigarettes a day combined with additional comordity starting at age 50, but this was revised due to the risks from even so-called low-dose CT tomography: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22710038
  11. A 2013 revision of guidelines for the use of X-ray and CT scans to screen for lung cancer, by the Peter McCallum Cancer Institute and Department of Respiratory Medicine at Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria, Australia, the nation's leading teaching hospital, showed that current evidence does not support the use of X-ray or CT scan for lung cancer screening, showing a modest reduction in lung cancer mortality in only high-risk smokers only, and that current data was insufficient to assess risk versus benefit for the whole population: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23794187
  12. A 2015 assessment by the American Thoracic Society and the American College of Chest Physicians resulted in the implementation of new guidelines calling for the use low radiation dose CT in cancer screening. Patients may need to inquire whether their facility is using this type of CT: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26426785
  13. A 2013 study by HealthCore Inc. of Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A. found that CT scans are now routinely used in the diagnostic workup for pediatric headache despite current warnings of risk of accumulative radiation and low diagnostic yield of useful information. HealthCore is a public/private partnership to improve research data, utilizing the health records of over 43 million Blue Cross Blue Shield customers to aid decisions concerning public health and safety, and improve outcome measures. This study shows that routine over-utilization of CT scans is ongoing and new guidelines are needed to insure that only patients, especially children and teenagers, who actually need the CT scans receive them: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23796744
  14. A 2009 assessment of the newer advanced MRI technologies, by the University of Buffalo and The Jacobs Neurological Institute, in Buffalo, New York, U.S.A. shows that these newer MRI techniques are able to assess a wide variety of tissue parameters, including microscopic lesions, metabolite concentrations, macromolecular density, and structural tissue integrity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19357796
  15. In 2013, the American College of Radiology is exploring the comparative benefits of enhanced MRI to CT imaging in cancer diagnosis, utilizing a multicenter study of 440 patients, centered at Tufts University Medical School in Massachusetts: http://gm.acr.org/SecondaryMainMenuCategories/NewsPublications/FeaturedCategories/CurrentACRNews/archive/ACRIN-Liver-Trial.aspx
  16. Perhaps the first extensive study of potential long term adverse health effects from MRI non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, by experts at the University of Pisa and the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, in Pisa, Italy, showed that while there is evidence that various types of non-ionizing radiation may cause cellular defects and cancer risk, the totality of evidence shows that there is no proof of real concern for harm from these sources, which include mobile phones, televisions, and many industrial devices, as well as MRI. On the other hand, these experts note that "it is well established that ionizing radiations impose risks to human health and environment", and that by 1997, medical radiation presented close to 100 percent of the level of natural radiation that the human population is exposed to, and has continued to grow since exponentially. These experts acknowledge the "epidemic of diagnoses" that has turned the healthy population into patients with disease unnecessarily just to increase profits, and the lack of patient decision making. Even non-ionizing radiation should be limited to necessary testing, and choices of CT or MRI should consider the real risks and benefits accurately: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2705217/
  17. A 2014 study of sensible radioprotective therapy for patients undergoing radioactive iodine treatment for thyroid cancer and other diseases, at the Mazandaran University School of Medicine, in Sari, India, showed that the Chinese herbal chemical curcumin, found in a number of common used Chinese herbs, including Curcuma zedoaria (E zhu), Curcuma aromatica (Yu jin) and Curcuma longa (Jiang huang, or Turmeric), and now standardized and optimized as well, showed that both small and large doses of curcumin significantly reduced the formation of excess micronuclei in human lymphocytes induced by radioactive iodine. These experts suggested that curcumin be used at a high dose intravenously after this radiation therapy for maximum results: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24914274
  18. A prior 2013 study of herbal radioprotective effects for patients receiving radoactive iodine therapy for thyroid cancer and other diseases, by experts at the Mazandaran University School of Medicine, in Sari, India, showed that the Chinese herbal chemical resveratrol, from Polygonum cuspidatum (Hu zhang), now standardized, and sometimes enhanced with synergistic quercetin from Chinese herbs, provided significant radioprotective effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23435954
  19. A 2013 study at the University Estadual de Maringa School of Medicine, in Brazil, showed that the Vitamin C source Acerola (Malpighia glabra) was radioprotective against adverse effects of radioactive iodine therapy for thryoid disease, but that beta-carotene was not. Use of a formula with a high dose of acerola combined with Chinese herbs such as Astragalus (Huang qi), as in Health Concerns Astra C, would be a useful part of a more holistic protocol to protect against medical radiation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24390989
  20. A 2009 study at the Mazandaran University School of Medicine, in Sari, India, showed that the Chinese herb Citrus aurantium, or Zhi shi, containing hesperidin, significantly protected human blood cells from adverse mutation induced by use of radioactive tracers added in imaging studies, reducing excess micronuclei formation in lymphocytes greatly. Other prepared citrus peel herbal medicines, such as Ju hong also contain a high percentage of hesperidin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19720298
  21. The use of a high dose of potassium iodide (e.g. Iodoral, or Lugol's solution) to protect against acute radiation exposure is the only well studied and FDA approved therapy for Caesium-131 exposure, researched after the Chernobyl meltdown, but this 2009 study at the University of Georgia, in Athens, Georgia, U.S.A. shows that to be effective, a dose of this nutrient must be administered before exposure, or within hours of exposure, to be highly effective. This research showed that the combination of potassium iodide with ammonium perchlorate was much more effective, but only as an acute dosage, as more long-term use of ammonium perchlorate is nontoxic but competes with iodine, and thus potentially risks hypothyrodism. Small amounts of sodium perchlorate are found in sea salt: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19557619
  22. A 2007 study of herbs to protect against radiation therapy effects from the Kasturba Medical College in Manipal, India, notes the need to integrate herbal medicine into radiation protection, as much study has proven the benefits, and the health risks are almost nonexistent for most of these herbal plants. The Indian list studied includes alcohol tinctures of Gingkgo biloba, Centella asiatica (Gotu kola), and Piper longum (Kava or Bi ba), juice concentrate of Hippophae rhamnoides and Amala, extracts or Osimum sanctum (Holy Basil), Ginseng, Podophyllum hexandrum, Tinospora cordifolia (Kuan jin teng), Amaranthus paniculatus leaf, Ginger root, Mint, and many others, and shows that common herbal medicines and foods afford some benefit against radiation, although high dosage is needed to achieve significant short term effects: http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=2127223
  23. A 2005 study in India of radioprotection, or protection against radiation effects, showed that no effective pharmacological agent has been found, and the field of medicine has turned to herbal medicine to find effective medicines in this regard: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15799007
  24. A 2006 study of the radioprotective effects of a Chinese herb, Cordyceps sinensis (Dong chong xia cao), found that this herb significantly protected against the harmful effects of ionizing radiation. A combination of Cordyceps and Ginseng would enhance these effects : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17149981
  25. A 2005 study of the radioprotective effects of a Ginseng found that this herb exerts significant radioprotective effects and antitumor properties, making the herb suitable to attenuate the adverse effects of radiation in humans : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15956041
  26. A 2010 study in India found that Silymarin, or Milk Thistle, shows much potential as a radioprotective herb, able to modulate the levels of NF-kappaB, scavenge peroxyl radicals in the lipid phase, and completely inhibit lipid peroxidative stress of cellular membranes exposed to ionizing radiation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20653235
  27. A 2006 study of the herb Rhodiola imbricata at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences in New Delhi, India, found that this herb exerted significant radioprotective effects, particularly when both the alcohol and water extract of the herb were used: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16822199
  28. A 1998 study at the Unite de Recherches sur la Cinetique Cellulair, in Villejuif, France, found that the Chinese herb Acanthopanax senticosus (Ci wu jia, or Siberian Ginseng) exerted significant radioprotective effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3049132
  29. A 2009 study in South Korea, at Seoul National University, found new technology to analyze the radioprotective effects of Chinese herbs. Among the Chinese herbs found radioprotective with this methodology, Pueraria root (Ge gen, or Kudzu), showed the highest antioxidant/radioprotective activity: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19541472
  30. A 2012 study at the National Centre for Radiation Research and Technology in Cairo, Egypt, found that the Chinese herb Curcuma longa (Jiang huang or Turmeric) was radioprotective, improving antioxidant status and minimizing the radiation-induced increase in inflammatory cytokines, especially on liver cells. Other Curcuma species are also used in Chinese medicine, including E zhu and Yu jin: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22432737
  31. A 2013 study at Bhabha Atomic Research Center, Trombay, Mumbai, India, found that the Chinese herb Scutellaria baicalensis (Huang qin) was protective of marrow bone cells against radiation damage: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23606056
  32. A 2014 study at Peking Union Medical College, in Beijing, China, found that the now famous Chinese herbal chemical Resveratrol was radioprotective and provided strong antioxidant effects against the harm from radiation therapy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4013605/
  33. A 2013 study at Nitte University, in India, noted that the herbal chemical rutin and quercetin, found in a number of Chinese herbs, and now standardized as well in medicinal supplements, provide signficant radioprotective and antioxidant effects to protect against gamma radiation:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3683306/
  34. A 2011 study of radioprotective effects of melatonin at Mansoura University in Egypt showed the significant antioxidant and radioprotective effects against ionizing radiation induced organ injury: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16793135
  35. A 2007 study of radioprotective effects of lycopene, a carotenoid found in various foods and supplements, with a high concentration in the Chinese herbs Gou qi zi (wolfberry or Fructus Lycii) and Sea buckthorn (Sha ji sha), as well as rosehips, and Momordica cochinchinensis (Gac, or Mu bie guo, sometimes called jackfruit, and related to bitter melon), by Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu, India, showed that a significant dosage of this nutrient chemical offered significant protective effects with pretreatment before gamma radiation, especially in liver cells: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17189673
  36. A 2012 study at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Maharshi Dayanand University, in India, showed that Valeriana wallichi and especially the its chemical constituent hesperidin, provides significant radioprotection: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3523530/
  37. A 2007 study of the herb hawthorn fruit to protect against radiation therapy effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17185880
  38. A 2007 study of the herb hawthorn fruit to protect against radiation therapy effects: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17185880
  39. A 2007 meta-analysis of the limited studies published in Western medical journals on Chinese herbs used to treat the side-effects of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients revealed a small number of randomised placebo-controlled clinical trials establishing efficacy, and called for the funding of more and larger clinical trials to explore this adjunct therapy: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17443560
  40. A 2010 article in Reuters reported on a clinical study published in the professional journal Cancer that found that Milk Thistle was effective in reducing liver damage induced by chemotherapy in children. By combining such herbs in formula, the professional herbalist is able to tailor an effective treatment protocol to decrease chemotherapy damage: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE5BD2XS20091214
  41. A 2009 article in the New York Times reveals that the integrity of medical research in the United States has been severely damaged by the findings of extensive ghostwriting of published articles, and the use of scientific publication to market and promote drugs: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/18/business/18ghost.html
  42. A 2010 article in the New York Times reveals that pharmaceutical companies are now conducting up to 80% of their clinical trials outside of the United States, where FDA oversight is lax: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/22/health/research/22trial.html?ref=health