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A sharp, national increase in the number of patients receiving medical and dental x-rays in the 1960s is indicated in a new x-ray exposure study by the US Public Health Service.
The number of persons x-rayed annually jumped from about 100 million in 1961 to 108 million in 1964.
The increase, said those who directed the study, suggests that several major steps are necessary to prevent unnecessary radiation exposure.
These include improved training for non-radiologists who use x-ray equipment; increasing the number of qualified radiologists in practice; and development of less complex but more accurate equipment. The study involved a door-to-door survey of more than 40,000 persons in 1964 and a subsequent survey of 7,000 hospitals, physicians' and dentists' offices and other places, including chest x-ray mobile units, where the x-rays were taken.
Projections for the total US population were made from this study.
Richard H. Chamberlain, MD, professor of
Radiology: Patient Load Jumps. JAMA. 1966;195(8):41–42. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100080013003