ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Climate Change Could Sting Allergy, Asthma Sufferers
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
Regular Yoga May Improve Eating Habits
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
ANIMAL CARE
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Beware of Dog Bites
BONES & JOINTS
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Sea Worm Inspires Novel Bone Glue
CANCER
Meditation May Reduce Stress in Breast Cancer Patients
Strenuous Daily Workout May Keep Cancer at Bay
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Mom's Smoking May Lead to SIDS
Many Hospital Patients Can't ID Their Doctors
High Rate of Rehospitalizations Costing Billions
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Firefighters Have Narrower-Than-Normal Arteries, Study Finds
Secondhand Smoke Quickly Affects Blood Vessels
Night Shift Work Hard on the Heart
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Get Sugared!.... Its a sweet choice for hair removal
DENTAL, ORAL
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk
DIABETES
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Poor Blood Sugar Control After Heart Surgery Impacts Outcomes
DIET, NUTRITION
Eat Light - Live Longer
6 Million U.S. Kids Lack Enough Vitamin D
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Where You Live May Affect Your Cancer Diagnosis
Smog Standards Need Tightening, Activists Say
Ozone Pollution Taking Toll on American Lives
EYE CARE, VISION
Impotence Drugs Don't Harm Vision: Study
Poor Night Vision May Predict Age-Related Eye Disease
Autistic Children Make Limited Eye Contact
FITNESS
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
Exercise Keeps the Brain Young
Exercise Extends Life of Kidney Patients
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating Well And Keeping Active As You Grow Old Will Help You Stay Sharp
Can You Talk Your Way to Happy?
Health Gains From Lowered Smoking Rates in Jeopardy
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Chinese Red Yeast Rice May Prevent Heart Attack
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
Fewer Heart Attacks After England Goes Smoke-Free
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Winter's Bitter Cold Poses Health Dangers
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
MEN'S HEALTH
Eating Fast Until Full Triples Overweight Risk
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
MENTAL HEALTH
Worries About Weight Are Tied to Teen Suicide Tries
Memory Loss Help from Brain Supplement Prevagen
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Exercise Boosts Bone Density in Breast-Feeding Moms
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Pregnant Women Exposed To Certain Pollutants Could Lower Childs IQ
SENIORS
Many Cancer Survivors Don't Adopt Healthy Lifestyle
Any Old Cane Won't Do
Community Exercise Programs Boost Seniors' Strength
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Daylight Savings: Not a Bright Time for All
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Moderate Aerobics May Ease Insomnia Symptoms
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age
Heal Your LifeŽ Tips for Living Well
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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