September 18, 2019: PhD public defense - Niels Belmans - Biological effects of ionizing radiation in medical imaging: a prospective study in children and adults following dental cone-beam computed tomography - UHasselt

Name: Niels Belmans

Date: September 18, 2019 16:00 h

Venue:

Universiteit Hasselt

Auditorium Louis Roppe
Campus Hasselt
Martelarenlaan 42
3500 Hasselt

Biological effects of ionizing radiation in medical imaging: a prospective study in children and adults following dental cone-beam computed tomography

We investigated if exposure to X-rays that are used in cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) examinations could have acute negative effects on children and/or adults. A CBCT device creates images from the oral cavity and is frequently used in orthodontics. The device generates X-rays that pass through the patient and are captured by a detector, resulting in 3D images of the scanned area. Although the radiation doses are very low, only little is currently known about the effects of low doses of X-rays on the human body. Especially in children it is important to identify these potential effects since children are more sensitive to X-rays than adults. Since most orthodontics patients are children, there are increasing concerns regarding their exposure to CBCT-generated X-rays.

By collecting oral mucosal cells and saliva samples we examined if a CBCT scan induces DNA damage and or oxidative damage. Oxidative damage occurs when important biomolecules (e.g. DNA) are oxidized, which results in an impaired functioning of these biomolecules.
We found that a CBCT scan does not cause severe DNA damage in children nor adults. In children we did observe an increase in oxidative damage, which was not observed in adults. Furthermore, the overall endogenous antioxidant system became more active in children, indicating that the body attempts to counteract this oxidative damage. This was not observed in adults.
The importance of these results is that they suggest that children and adults react differently to exposure to X-rays generated by a CBCT device. Since currently most guidelines for the use of X-rays in medicine are written for adults, maybe more age-specific guidelines should be implemented, although more research is required at this point.

 

 

Promotor:

  • (UHasselt) Ivo Lambrechts
  • (UNamur) Lucas Stéphane
SCK•CEN mentors:
  • Marjan Moreels
  • Sarah Baatout

Click here for a list of obtained PhD degrees.