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December 10, 1955


JAMA. 1955;159(15):1480-1481. doi:10.1001/jama.1955.02960320056024

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To the Editor:—  The readers of Dr. Kirsh's valuable article on "Radiation Dangers in Diagnostic Radiology" (J. A. M. A.158: 1420-1423 [Aug. 20] 1955) may arrive at the conclusion that the use of a filter can reduce the potential genetic damage caused by diagnostic roentgen studies (if such exists). It is of the utmost importance to point out that this is unfortunately not the case. Radiation can produce genetic changes only when it reaches the testes, ovaries, and perhaps the uterus of a pregnant woman. The filter recommended absorbs mainly the superficial component of the x-rays and—in oversimplification—substitutes for the patient's skin. A filter as described in the article reduces thus the x-ray dose to the first few millimeters of the patient's tissues but not to organs located at a greater depth. Though there might be a slight reduction of the dose to the most peripheral regions of the

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