Are you a parent? Here’s a simple question to ask yourself: if your youngster receives a bump on the head, would you rather keep an eye on your child for 4 to 6 hours to make sure he or she suffered no serious trauma — or would you prefer that doctors zap your child’s brain with ionizing radiation from costly computed tomography (CT) scans just to make you feel better immediately?
Most moms and dads would probably prefer the simple “watchful waiting” approach if they thought there was little chance their offspring had serious head trauma. And it turns out, according to a huge study of more than 40,000 kids with blunt head trauma just published online in the journal Pediatrics, simple observation is the best approach and also the healthiest — because it doesn’t expose children to ionizing radiation.
So why do about half of all US children taken to hospital emergency departments (EDs) for a head injury receive a head CT scan? Remarkably, the scientists behind the new research claim it is “often to ease worried parents’ concerns”. Simply put, parents are blamed for the outrageously common practice of exposing children needlessly to radiation for a bump on the head. Continue reading