ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture Eases Side Effects of Head, Neck Cancer Treatments
Should Your Child Be Seeing a Chiropractor?
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Fractures in Older Adults Up Death Risk
Human Ancestors Put Best Foot Forward 1.5M Years Ago
Study Shows Exercise Shields Against Osteoporosis
CANCER
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
CAREGIVING
What Moms Learned May Be Passed to Offspring
Recession Scrambling Health Spending in U.S.
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Vitamins Do Older Women Little Good
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
DENTAL, ORAL
Health Tip: At Risk for Gingivitis
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
Holistic Dentistry-My View
DIABETES
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
DIET, NUTRITION
Natural Oils Help Lower Body Fat For Some
Even in 'Last Supper,' Portion Sizes Have Grown
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Fertilizer Ban Makes a Difference
Improved Fungicides May Be Easier on Environment
Air Pollution Raises Risk of Heart Disease, Death
EYE CARE, VISION
Thyroid Problems Boost Glaucoma Risk
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Florida Vision Test Law: Fewer Traffic Deaths Among Elderly
FITNESS
Resistance Training Boosts Mobility in Knee Arthritis Patients
Will the Wii Keep You Fit?
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Gum Chewing May Speed Colon Surgery Recovery
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
GENERAL HEALTH
Dry Weather Boosts Odds of Flu Outbreaks
New Options Offered for Sleep Apnea
FDA Bans Unapproved Prescription Cough, Cold and Allergy Meds
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Magnet Therapy May Ease Hard-to-Treat Depression
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Risk Factor for Stroke More Common Among Whites
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Closes Three Schools in NYC
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Childhood Dairy Intake Boosts Bone Health Later On
3 Home Habits Help Youngsters Stay Slim
Health Tip: Back Pain in Children
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
MENTAL HEALTH
The Unmedicated Mind
Have a Goal in Life? You Might Live Longer
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
PAIN
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
SENIORS
Boost In Elderly Population Will Be Felt Worldwide
Tai Chi May Help Ward Off Knee Pain in Seniors
Save Your Aging Brain, Try Surfing The Web
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Spice Compounds May Stem Tumor Growth
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
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Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts

Since the thwarted Christmas day terrorist attack on an airline flight approaching Detroit, officials have announced plans to increase the use of fully body scans at U.S. airports, leaving some travelers wondering about the health effects of these devices.

Will this effort to detect smuggled explosives and weapons expose passengers to excess levels of radiation? Experts say no.

Two types of scans -- millimeter wave scanners and backscatter scanners -- are being used in the United States.

Millimeter wave scanners, which use radio waves, have no proven adverse health effects and don't expose passengers to any X-rays, but they haven't been widely studied. Backscatter scanners use extremely low levels of X-rays.

"A passenger would need to be scanned using a backscatter scanner, from both the front and the back, about 200,000 times to receive the amount of radiation equal to one typical CT scan," said Dr. Andrew J. Einstein, director of cardiac CT research at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City.

"Another way to look at this is that if you were scanned with a backscatter scanner every day of your life, you would still only receive a tenth of the dose of a typical CT scan," he said.

By comparison, the amount of radiation from a backscatter scanner is equivalent to about 10 minutes of natural background radiation in the United States, Einstein said. "I believe that the general public has nothing to worry about in terms of the radiation from airline scanning," he added.

For moms-to-be, no evidence supports an increased risk of miscarriage or fetal abnormalities from these scanners, Einstein added.

"A pregnant woman will receive much more radiation from cosmic rays she is exposed to while flying than from passing through a scanner in the airport," he said.

The extent of penetration from backscatter systems is pretty shallow, explained another expert, David A. Schauer, executive director of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. "With backscatter systems, the X-rays do not penetrate to depths much beyond the surface of the individual, so they are useful for imaging objects hidden under clothing, but are not useful for detecting objects hidden in body cavities."

Richard Morin, a medical physicist at the Mayo Clinic, said the real issue for passengers might be privacy, not safety.

"From a radiation standpoint there has been no evidence that there is really any untoward effect from the use of this device [backscatter scanner], so I would not be concerned about it from a radiation dose standpoint -- the issues of personal privacy are a different thing," he said.

The health effects of the more common millimeter-wave scanners are largely unknown, and at least one expert believes a safety study is warranted.

"I am very interested in performing a National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements study on the use of millimeter-wave security screening systems," said Thomas S. Tenforde, council president.

"I think it would be helpful to convene an expert panel to prepare a concise summary of the health and safety issues associated with the use of this type of security screening system," he said.

Forty millimeter-wave scanners are operating at 19 airports, according to the U.S. Transportation Safety Administration (TSA), which says the machines produce 10,000 times less energy than a cell phone. "We, and all objects around us, generate millimeter wave energy, and we are exposed to it every single day," the agency reported.

The TSA also plans to buy 150 backscatter scanners.

Passengers, meanwhile, have the right to refuse a full body scan. But if they do so, they will be patted-down by a TSA agent, the agency says.

SOURCES: David A. Schauer, Sc.D., executive director, and Thomas S. Tenforde, Ph.D., president, National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, Bethesda, Md.; Richard Morin, Ph.D., medical physicist, Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Fla; Andrew J. Einstein, M.D., Ph.D.,director, cardiac CT research, Columbia University Medical Center, New York City Published on: January 08, 2010