Narrator: This is Science Today. A renowned
radiation expert says the overuse of medical x-rays
is responsible for more than half the deaths from
cancer and heart disease. Dr. John Gofman of the
University of California, Berkeley led an intensive
analysis of death rates going back to 1940, comparing
them to areas heavily populated with physicians.
While all other causes of death declined in these
areas, all other causes of death rose. The reason
he says, is the prevalence of medical x-rays.
Gofman: X-rays are a mutagen. They cause
mutations. In the cancer, it's the cell that becomes
mutated and becomes a cancer. In the heart disease,
our view is that it's the cells that are supposed
to do the clean up work in the arteries - those
cells get mutated and don't do their job.
Narrator: Gofman doesn't discount diet and
lifestyle choices or the fact that x-rays are needed
as a diagnostic tool.
Gofman: My point is, medical radiation can
be reduced if we will just start measuring the doses.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa