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Man strip searched for packing overactive thyroid gland

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A man who had receieved radiotherapy set off alarms at US airport security and was detained, interrogated and strip searched.

A report in the British Medical Journal says the 46-year-old had been treated with radioiodine for thyroid problems six weeks prior to the incident.

Learning of the invasive episode, the man's doctors trawled medical journals and found details of four earlier incident of radiotherapeutics triggering security alerts. Reports last year revealed heart patients given thallium for medical imaging could have a similar effect on airport scanners.

The authors of the report said: "Airports worldwide are deploying more sensitive radiation detection systems and one would therefore expect more such cases."

Radioiodine is used in cases of overactive thyroid gland, administered as a drink. It is transported in the bloodstream to the thymyus, where the radioactivity kills some cells, bringing the condition under control. Around 10,000 are given the treatment annually in the UK.

Its thought scanners could detect the iodine up to 12 weeks after the treatment. The authors call for patients to be warned they could face the rubber glove when travelling.®

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