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Dental X-rays up brain tumour risk 5-fold

April 10, 2012 - London

Dental patients who received frequent X-rays were up to five times more likely to be diagnosed with meningioma, the most common type of brain tumour, a major study has found.

Researchers from Yale University said it was the radiation transmitted during those examinations that was responsible for the increased risk, the Daily Express reported.

To investigate the link, 1,433 brain tumour patients between the ages of 20 and 70 were surveyed, comparing them with a similar group of healthy people.

They found that over a lifetime, brain tumour patients were twice as likely to have had a bitewing dental examination, in which X-ray film is held in place by a tab between the teeth.

Individuals who had undergone the procedure more than once a year were nearly twice as likely to develop a brain tumour than those who had none, they found.

An increased risk of meningioma was also linked to whole-mouth panoramic examinations - which are taken externally.

Patients who were given dental X-rays below the age of 10 were nearly five times as likely to develop a brain tumour, the researchers found.

"Our findings indicate a statistically significant increased risk with both bitewing and panoramic films," said Dr Elizabeth Claus, of Yale's Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, who led the research.

The results were published in Cancer, the journal of the American Cancer Society.


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