A new study suggests that low doses of radiation from dental X-rays can trigger heart disease and strokes.
A team, led by Dr Mark Little at Imperial College London, constructed a mathematical model to find the risks associated with low background levels of radiation.
The team discovered that radiation kills monocytes, a type of white blood cell, in the arterial wall, which results in higher levels of monocyte chemo-attractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and leads to cardiovascular disease.
The authors say that the risks arising out of exposure to low dose radiation like energy from medical and dental X-rays may be much greater than what have been assumed until now.
Dr Mark Little explained: ‘For the first time we have shown a mechanism that could explain the kind of cardiovascular disease risks that have been seen in the occupational studies.
‘If the mechanism is valid it implies that risks from low-dose radiation exposures like medical and dental X-rays, which until now have been assumed to result only from cancer, may have been substantially underestimated.’
The study has appeared in the latest issue of the open-access journal PLoS Computational Biology. (ANI)