Via the BBC, a report on a new complication of radioactive imaging tests:
Certain medical scans can render people radioactive enough to trigger false security alarms at airports for up to a month, a Lancet article warns…
The Lancet piece highlights the case of a 55-year-old commercial pilot referred for cardiac investigation. Doctors carried out a scan using a radioisotope of the element thallium. Two days after the scan the patient travelled to Moscow as a crew member.
While passing through customs, the radiation detector alarms were triggered, and the patient was detained for questioning. After extensive interrogation, he was released, but experienced the same problem at the same airport four days later.
Eventually the airport security officials gave him a card to carry while travelling that explained his scan was to blame.
This reminds us of earlier trials of subway radiation detectors, which seemed to pick up hyperthyroid patients at stops near hospitals… We’re confident this glitch has been fixed, and subway passengers are riding carefree.
More at the Lancet (registration required)