Study Links Dental X-rays to Meningiomas

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The Brain Science Foundation has long supported Dr. Elizabeth Claus’s research exploring the causes of meningiomas. She recently published her study linking certain kinds of dental X-rays and meningiomas in the American Cancer Society journal Cancer.

The study focused on bitewing X-rays performed in the 1960s, which used a much higher level of radiation than today. Dr. Claus and her team worked with 1,433 persons diagnosed with a meningioma, many of whom were brought into the study with the help of the Brain Science Foundation. Dr. Claus is not advocating people avoid going to the dentist, however. As she told the Boston Globe, “The broader public health message is that probably the increase in risk to a given individual, given the current dose [of radiation exposure] is low. But you could say, gee, if this is a primary exposure in the US and we can lessen the exposure, [that is something worth considering].”

Dr. Claus, a professor at the Yale School of Public Health and a neurosurgeon at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, noted that risk factors for meningioma, the most common primary brain tumor, remain poorly understood. This is in part because meningiomas were only added to brain tumor registries in the United States in 2004.

The Brain Science Foundation awarded Dr. Claus an additional grant in 2011 exploring the genes involved in radiation-associated meningiomas.

Dr. Claus will attend both days of the upcoming Meningioma Awareness Day and will also be signing up new volunteers for future reasearch studies.