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Medical News & Perspectives
May 5, 1999

X-ray Analysis of Hair Reveals Breast Cancer

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JAMA. 1999;281(17):1578-1579. doi:10.1001/jama.281.17.1578-JMN0505-4-1

Argonne, Ill—Bombarding a strand of hair with powerful synchrotron radiation may reveal molecular changes that signal breast cancer, according to new studies by a team of researchers from Australia, the United States, and Japan. Although further research is needed to confirm their findings and determine the technique's sensitivity and specificity, its developers hope the approach—detecting distinctive x-ray scattering images of hair that appear to provide a kind of molecular signature of disease—someday could lead to a noninvasive screening test for breast cancer and possibly other illnesses.

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