ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Needling Away Your Headaches With Acupuncture
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Extra Pounds in Mid-Life Affect Later Mobility
Using a Balloon to Repair a Broken Back
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
CANCER
Vitamin C Shows Promise as Cancer Treatment
Some Spices Cut Cancer Risk That Comes With Grilled Burgers
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
CAREGIVING
Older Caregivers Prone to Worse Sleep Patterns
Obese Children More Likely to Suffer Lower Body Injuries
Depression, PTSD Common Among Lung Transplant Patient Caregivers
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Potassium-Rich Foods May Cut Stroke, Heart Disease Risk
Health Tip: Are You Anemic?
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
What to Do If You Have Unsightly Veins
With Psoriasis, the Internet May Offer Hope
DENTAL, ORAL
Scientists Find Gene for Tooth Enamel
Dental Implants Need More Work Than Root Canals
Obesity Boosts Gum Disease Risk
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
Out-of-Control Blood Sugar May Affect Memory
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Iced Teas Pose High Risk of Kidney Stones
'Soda Tax' Wins Health Experts' Support
Mediterranean Diet Enriched With Nuts Cuts Heart Risks
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Exposure to 9/11 Fumes Tied to Chronic Headaches
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
EYE CARE, VISION
Blood Sugar Control Helps Diabetics Preserve Sight
Brain Pressure More Likely to Cause Vision Loss in Men
Nutrient-Rich Diet Lowers Risk of Age-Related Eye Disease
FITNESS
Exercise Guards White Blood Cells Against Aging
Avoiding a Holiday Season of Discontent
Weak Muscles May Cause 'Runner's Knee'
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
Peppermint Oil, Fiber Can Fight Irritable Bowel
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
GENERAL HEALTH
Workplace Wellness Seems to Really Work
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Research Shows Genetic Activity of Antioxidants
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
Airport Full Body Scanners Pose No Health Threat: Experts
Imaging Sheds Light on How Acupuncture Works
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Review Confirms Links Between Diet, Heart Health
Brown Rice Tied to Better Heart Health in Study
Relaxation Tapes or Mozart Lower Blood Pressure
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Hand Washing 10 Times a Day May Help Keep Flu Away
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Breast-Feeding May Protect a Woman's Heart
Daily Exercise at School Yields Rewards
MEN'S HEALTH
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Low Iron Levels Cut Cancer Risk in Men With PAD
MENTAL HEALTH
Keeping a Healthy Holiday Balance
Environmental Chemicals May Affect Male Reproduction
Meditation May Boost College Students' Learning
PAIN
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Woman in America Are Delaying Motherhood, Study Says
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
Life Expectancy in U.S. Hits New High
Seniors Who Volunteer May Live Longer
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Calcium Helps Ward Off Colon Cancer
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
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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