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On "Exposed While Scanned" by Indiana Public Media

From: Dr. Brian H.
Sent on: Wednesday, November 25, 2009 11:44 AM
Dear SoCal Science Cafe members,

In reference to the article
"Exposed While Scanned" posted at:

In response, Dr. Paul Shin has this to say, "Let's get properly educated here! MRI does use radiation- it's radio frequency (RF) energy/radiation though! RF radiation is a form of electromagnetic (EM) radiation. This form of energy is relatively harmless compared to X-rays as used in X-ray and CT imaging. X-rays are much more energetic forms of EM radiation and actually ionize (usually by removing an electron from) atoms and molecules- RF radiation does not. It's the ionizing radiation that is dangerous and that's why one should control the amount of X-ray exposure. Thus, the statement that, "But other types of imaging tests do use radiation. Like nuclear imaging,..." is incorrect and misleading! MRI IS nuclear imaging! This article does nicely illustrate the "double-edged sword" nature of technology- the risks versus benefits we must consider when taking advantage of technology (applied science)!"

I agree. The article cited above is clearly an example of science writing which needs improvement. I am not 100% sure if the writer also had a certain bias. But they should clearly do their physics homework before they go about saying, "The sky is falling!"

Dr. Brian Hart
Founder, SoCal Science Cafe

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