Intended for healthcare professionals


Ringworm, radiation exposure . . . and other stories

BMJ 2020; 371 doi: (Published 22 October 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;371:m3976

Tinea capitis

In the 1950s many thousands of children with ringworm of the scalp were given low doses of x rays to induce depilation. At the time, the treatment was thought to be a considerable advance both for the individual child and for the prevention of onward transmission within families and schools. The potential for harmful side effects wasn’t appreciated until an excess of brain tumours emerged years later. Longer term follow-up reveals that the delayed effects also include vascular disease. Rates of carotid artery stenosis, stroke, and ischaemic heart disease were around 30% higher than in people not exposed to …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription