Polioforever's Blog

Radiation Injury

 Hiroshima blast survivor

Radiation injuries are characterized here as ensuing from three basic types of hazards : ionizing, non-ionizing and “combined” with chemicals. Ionizing radiation damage comes from high-energy particles and gamma rays; non-ionizing from electromagnetic sources; and “combined” injuries from fallout, nuclear fuel-cycles and medical isotopes. For the purpose of making distinctions by technology and dividing page space, non-ionizing radiation injuries are listed separately on the Electromagnetism page– it is a conceptual mistake to separate cellular damage by these categories.

  broken chromosomes   

Genetic damage determined by “micronuclei”“Testing chemicals for the ability to induce..structural chromosomal damage is easily accomplished by using the micronucleus assay. A ‘micronucleus’ is literally a small nucleus… the organelle in the cell that contains the genetic material (DNA) that directs normal cellular function and..reproduction. In cells of eukaryotic organisms, the nucleus contains DNA packaged into chromosomes… During cell division, the genetic material replicates and then divides equally between the two daughter cells…  If…chromosomes are broken or damaged by chemicals or radiation, then…pieces or entire chromosomes may fail to be included in either of the two daughter nuclei. When this occurs, the genetic material that is not incorporated.. may form its own ‘micronucleus’ which is clearly visible with a microscope… chromosomal damage in somatic cells, perhaps presenting a risk of carcinogenicity, may also carry a risk of producing damage in germ cells, resulting in adverse reproductive outcomes.”   http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=070CC011-C29C-6943-54274A45E042F7CC

      formation of micronuclei                                                         

“Radiation linked to Oxidative Injury — Radiation can be divided into two primary categories: ionizing and non-ionizing. The latter includes microwaves, which are relatively low energy and evoke effects primarily through heating. [polioforever>>>The so-called ‘thermal’ theory of non-ionizing radiation injury, which excludes ‘nonthermal’ effects, is challenged by the evidence. See Electromagnetism.] Ionizing radiation, on the other hand, has sufficient energy to displace electrons from atoms or molecules, producing ions. Ultraviolet light, X-rays, and gamma rays, as were released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster in Japan recently, are examples of ionizing radiation… Atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons are referred to as ‘radicals’, often termed ‘free radicals’. The unpaired electrons generally cause radicals to be highly chemically reactive. In biological systems, this means that ionizing radiation can directly damage all types of molecules (e.g., DNA, proteins, lipids) or the effect may be secondary to the generation of free radicals, which react with nearby molecules [bystander effect]… Ionizing radiation..involves the removal of an electron from water, producing the highly reactive hydroxyl radical. This can be followed, to a lesser extent, by further electron ejection to give H2O2… In concert with SOD [superoxide dismutase], catalase, and other enzymes, antioxidants react with ROS [reactive oxygen species] to take them out of play. One of the most important natural antioxidants is glutathione, a tripeptide composed of glycine, cysteine, and glutamine.
…The effects of ionizing radiation can be divided into direct and indirect. Each has distinct ramifications. Radiation can directly disrupt DNA, introducing isolated nucleotide damage, double-strand breaks, or clustered DNA damage… ROS, produced by ionizing radiation, also damage DNA…” http://www.caymanchem.com/app/template/Article.vm/article/2165
Read more about illness from oxidative (and nitrosative) stress: https://polioforever.wordpress.com/nitrogen/
“Radiation definitely ages the population so that it dies off from all causes at earlier ages than it otherwise would…[p85]  …life-shortening now appears to be the major deleterious effect of fallout..” –Walter R. Guild [p91 Fallout, published 1960, editor J.M. Fowler]
Combined Injury:
“Chemical mutagens –A byproduct of research on chemical warfare agents during WWII [is] the realization of the possibility of mutagenic activity of chemicals. The nitrogen and sulfur “mustards” (p-chloro-alkylamines and sulfides) have been studied especially extensively and found to be potent mutagens for all organisms studied. In general their effects are similar to those of X-rays and UV….There is a wealth of further literature on this subject and it is likely to remain an active field….substances as diverse as formaldehyde, acriflavine, urethane, caffeine, hydrogen peroxide, and manganous ion are credibly reported as active in one or another system….and in general, the results of ,i.e., X-ray treatment would not be readily distinguishable from that of formaldehyde.” http://jenniferlake.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/mutation/
An example of bromine’s usefulness to the military complex is given in the 1947 book “Treason’s Peace” by Howard Ambruster:
Bromine, together with chloral, is used in making nitric gases which are of such great importance in trench warfare. Without bromine these nitric gases are of slight effect; in connection with bromine, they are of terrible effect.”   http://www.archive.org/stream/treasonspeaceger00ambrrich/treasonspeaceger00ambrrich_djvu.txt
       Dr. Stafford Warren (1896-1981), chief medical officer of the Manhattan Project “best known for his invention of the mammogram” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stafford_L._Warren
HEALTH PHYSICS is a field of medical study organized by the postwar Manhattan Project devoted to radiation injury:
On January 29, 1947, a meeting to establish the goals and priorities of a Health Physics program for the government was convened as an extension of the Manhattan Project. Participants were presented with an orientation and outline addressing issues and recommendations :
…”many critical problems of far reaching scope remain to be solved. Information concerning the method of production of..injurious effects in body tissues is almost completely lacking. No methods are available which might stop or delay the development of radiation injuries. No therapeutic measures are at hand to use following accidental injury due to radiation or radioactive materials. Such problems relate to the fundamental nature of living matter and demand the careful and continued attention of competently trained scientists”…
…”direct measurements of the body itself are first developed in animals and then applied to human beings”
…”the effects of acute and chronic exposure must be determined separately because of their dissimilarity”
…”actual determination of the toxicity of a substance must be made, measuring how poisonous it is, both in acute and in chronic exposures. The amounts administered are decreased until asymptomatic levels are found….some pilot work in this direction has been completed for a few compounds of uranium, plutonium and certain special oils”…
..”No practical mask, military or otherwise, which will protect against some of the worst hazards has been found yet”
[study priority recommendations]
…”study of casualty effects. Field study of fission clouds, possible injury to water supply, soil, and the like, human damage by population surveys“…
…”effect of radiation on aquatic organisms, and in particular, to study the problems arising from the discharge effluent from the Hanford plants into [illegible]“…
…”studies of the transfer of radioactive materials in food chains starting with the simpler biological forms (i.e. plankton) and following the distribution and fate of such materials as these contaminated animalcules as are successively eaten and metabolized by higher forms”
…”Feeding experiments using radioactive materials in the foods”
…”Studies under controlled conditions of the effects of radioactive materials on domestic animals…on vegetation…Fish studies…effects of internally deposited radioactive materials…the general genetical make-up of the cell, including cytoplasmic factors…using various micro-organisms”…
…”effects..on blood constituents and blood forming organs as well as on the nervous system”…
…”Cooperative research arrangements are being made with the Universities of Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Washington (St. Louis), U, Penn, Johns Hopkins and Carnegie Institution…close cooperation with the NIH and the NCI has been set up…health physics research is to be extended”…
…”the records obtained by this group are of medico-legal importance”
The Health Physics practitioners were concerned with the effects of ionizing and “combined” radiation injury: in pursuit of their goals, products of nuclear fuel, medical isotopes, fallout and X-rays (emitted by high-energy electrons) came under special study.

IONIZING RADIATION: “Higher frequency ultraviolet radiation begins to have enough energy to break chemical bonds. X-ray and gamma ray radiation, which are at the upper end of magnetic radiation have very high frequency –in the range of 100 billion billion Hertz–and very  short wavelengths–1 million millionth of a meter. Radiation in  this range has extremely high energy. It has enough energy to  strip off electrons or, in the case of very high-energy radiation, break up the nucleus of atoms.” –U.S. EPA http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/ionize_nonionize.html#ionizing

“Following William Crookes’ inventions of the radiometer in 1875 and the cathode ray tube in 1877, physicists began to understand the dualistic nature of radiation. Fundamental discoveries made in the last decade of the 19th century are the foundation for the use of ionizing radiation in physiology, immunology, medical diagnosis, and therapy. Ionizing radiation includes electromagnetic rays and high linear energy particles. The rays are high energy photons: ultraviolet (UV) rays, X rays, and gamma rays. Ionizing particles include alpha rays (nuclei of the element, helium), beta rays (electrons), protons (hydrogen with only one electron), and neutrons. Each ray and particle has a wide range of energies (often expressed as million electron volts (MeV)) which is defined by its source. The physiologic effects of other rays and particles (neutrinos, muons, positrons, and atoms) are poorly defined.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2477686/

“A dose of ionizing radiation is a quantity of energy delivered per gram of tissue…” The X-rays and Radium page describes radiation dosage https://polioforever.wordpress.com/x-rays/

  Fallout injury from tests, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl: https://polioforever.wordpress.com/fallout/


NON-IONIZING RADIATION: “Radiation that has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, but not enough to remove electrons, is referred to as ‘non-ionizing radiation.'” –U.S. EPA http://www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/ionize_nonionize.html; injury from microwaves, radio, cell phone and electric transmission is listed in Electromagnetism  https://polioforever.wordpress.com/electromagnetism/


The front page of Polio Forever:

These are quotes from research documents dating from the 1950s and 60s, most of them prepared under military auspices. The chief military concern was human performance under conditions of the Nuclear Battlefield (in other words, FALLOUT. Additions to the original text describing injury and disease appear in brackets):
“Radiation-Induced changes in the nervous system’s..central role in behavior makes it the presumed primary mediator of radiation-induced performance deficits.
…One hypothesis is that a sufficiently large radiation dose causes permanent brain lesions, demyelination, and necrosis, which in turn produce chronic behavioral deficits. In addition, short-lived behavioral phenomena may be mediated by transient vascular changes that induce edema or ischemia in the CNS [Central Nervous System]. A second hypothesis is that performance changes are mediated by significant alterations in brain function due to neurochemistry and neurophysiology. As is often the case, there is some truth in both hypotheses”
“A review of many standard radiobiology textbooks reveals the common belief that the adult nervous system is relatively resistant to damage from ionizing radiation exposure…however, this view was eroded when it was later shown that the latency period for..radiation damage..is simply longer than it is in other organ systems.”
“In the brain…different topographical regions may have varying susceptibility to ionizing radiation.
…gamma nerve fibers are more sensitive…reflexes are more radioresistant than motor coordination..indicating that radiation mainly affects the functions of the subcortico-brainstem formations of the brain.”
“The phenomena of latent Central Nervous System radiation damage (with doses above the threshold) has been well documented.
…speculation on the likely pathogenesis of late radiation lesions reveals (a) radiation may act primarily on the vascular system…and (b) radiation may have a primary effect on cells of the neural parenchyma [‘parenchyma’ means “primary organ tissue”]
…evidence in support of a vascular hypothesis was obtained when human brains that had been exposed to X-rays were examined…
…delayed damage of capillary..cells may occur leading to a breakdown of the blood-brain barrier. This would result in vasogenic edema..and eventually neuronal and myelin degeneration.
hypertension accelerates the appearance of vascular lesions in the brain after irradiation.”
“The exposure of forty-five rabbits’ heads..produced a disturbance of the blood-brain barrier that returned to normal only after six days. The transient nature of the vascular phenomena may partially explain some of the behavioral deficits observed after exposure to..ionizing radiation.”
“The radiosensitivity of certain types of [brain] glial cells (beta astrocyte) is well recognized…
Clinical evidence also suggests that radiogenic demyelination may occur…transient radiation myelopathy could be the result of temporary demyelination of sensory neurons….vascular and glial changes may be important in the development of late radiation damage to the CNS”.
“In addition to axonal demyelination [peripheral neuropathy, Guillain-Barre Syndrome], other direct neuronal damage may occur in the irradiated adult animal….mitotic neurons of the prenatal or neonatal CNS are known to be extremely sensitive to radiation”.
“It may be that certain populations of proliferating neurons in the adult can be damaged or destroyed by relatively low doses of radiation…changes in brain metabolism were reported after very low doses of ionizing radiation..measuring local cerebral glucose utilization.
Lower rates of glucose use [dementia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, http://www.neurology.org/content/39/11/1427.abstract] were found..after irradiation….hippocampal spike discharges..developed soon after irradiation when no other clinical signs of neurological damage or radiation sickness were present. [hippocampus damage: depression and/or hyperactivity, amnesia, memory loss, schizophrenia]
…the hippocampus is important in critical functions like learning, memory, and motor performance….these data suggest that hippocampal electro-physiology may be the most sensitive measure of functional brain changes after irradiation.”
“It has been known for some time that paralysis of the hind limbs of animals can result from localized irradiation of the spinal cord. Rabbits developed this paralysis at 4 to 33 weeks after exposure of the upper thoracic region [e.g., a chest x-ray]…
As in other modal systems, the time interval between irradiation and..neurological symptoms decreases as dose increases. For example, 50 Gy [or 50 Gray, which is 5,000 Rad] of X-rays to the monkey midthoracic spinal cord produced immediate paraplegia, whereas 40 Gy was effective only after a latent period of about 5.5 months.”
“In humans, the lethal dose for 50% of cases after 30 days (LD 50/30) is 4.5 Gy [or 450 Rad; restated, exposure to 450 Rad of X-ray will kill half of the people exposed to it after a latency period of 30 days], whereas in the monkeys the LD 50/30 is 6.0 Gy [or 600 Rad].”
—common lab animals like rabbits, rats and mice had far greater radioresistance than humans and monkeys.
Source documents: http://www.afrri.usuhs.mil/outreach/pdf/tmm/chapter7/chapter7.pdf . Some the of materials collated for this publication are cited in the National Security Archives, a nongovernmental project of George Washington University http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ , listed at http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/radiation/dir/mstreet/research/pubs/titles.txt
Proceed to radiation injury caused by Electromagnetism https://polioforever.wordpress.com/electromagnetism/

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