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UofT scientists find possible antidote for radiation exposure from CT scans

Time Magazine writes on a potentially ground-breaking discovery from a group of University of Toronto scientists. At the annual meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology, UofTs Dr. Kieran Murphy announced that cocktail of antioxidants developed at the university, could cut the damage to DNA by radiation from CT scans by as much as 50%, if taken before the scan.

"Murphy's concoction works by blocking the effect of free radicals, or unstable compounds made when radioactive waves collide with water, generated by radiation. Free radicals can damage DNA and are responsible for the premature aging and death of cells. Murphy's idea was to flood the body with antioxidants that neutralize free radicals prior to medical procedures such as CT scans, which use X-rays to image the body; the antioxidants would counter the damage from radiation."

"He stresses that while any CT scan causes some damage to DNA, for the most part the body's own repair mechanisms are able to overcome such low-level changes. "We have to balance the risks with the benefits," he says. "By far the majority of the time, the risk is far, far worth the benefit. We're just trying to say that if we can reduce that risk a little more, it's a good thing. Then we might be able to allow more screening. If we can increase the number of women who feel safe having a mammogram or the number of people who feel comfortable having a colorectal CT to detect colon cancer, or the number of people who get a coronary calcium screen to pick up signs of future heart trouble, then that would be a good thing."

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original source Time Magazine

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