Friday, March 18, 2016

A Few Snippets

Allow me to give you just a few snippets on other subjects related to both medicine and radiation:

"Court-Brown and Doll (1958) using a standard cohort technique, analyuzed the mortality of radiologists belonging to the 2 major radiological societies in the United Kingdom through 1956. Radiologists joining radiological societies after 1920 have had 176 deaths if they had the same life expectancy as the general population, or 169 death if their life expectancy was the same as that of physicians in general. Only 145 deaths were recorded." [Henry, Hugh (Oak Ridge National Laboratory). Is all radiation harmful? Journal of the American Medical Association, 16, 671, 1961.]

A study of 100,000 female radiology technicians, with a mean follow-up time of twenty-nine years since certification, showed no association for breast cancer with vocational experience in radio-therapy, nuclear medicine or fluoroscopy. [Boice, J.D., et al. U.S. National Cancer Institute risk of breast cancer evaluation. Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 274, No. 5, 1995.]

"A critical review of the literature leads to the conclusion that at the radiation doses generally of concern in radiation protection [greater than 2 gray (or 200,000 mrad)], protracted exposures to low linear energy transfer (LET) radiation does not appear to cause lung cancer. There is, in fact, indication of reduction of the natural incidence. [Emphasis added.] [Rossi, H. and Zaider, M. Radiogenic lung cancer: the effects of low doses of low linear energy transfer (LET) radiation. Radiation Environmental Biophysics, 36, 1997.]

Finally, there is the connection between cancer and the application of radium to watch dials, which is fairly notorious in medical texts. The women (there were only about a dozen men in this vocation) touched their tongues to their brushes while painting, thereby receiving a large internal dose. Just as in the case of H-bomb test fallout victims, I thought all the painters died early deaths from radiation-induced cancer. Perhaps the literature left you with the same erroneous impression.

"The absence of leukemia and other potential radiogenic cancers in the population of highly exposed radium dial painters - from both internal and external radiation - contradicts the LNT; moreover, the increase longevity of these workers has been noted, but competent documentation does not exist at this time." [Note: Support for study of these workers has been cancelled.] [Kondo, Sohei. (Senior Researcher, Atomic Energy Research Institute, Osaka) Health Effects of Low-Level Radiation. Kinki University Press, Osaka, and Medical Physics Publishing, Madison, Wisc., 1993.]

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Before turning the page, consider for a moment what evidence it would take to make you a "hormesian." (Not to worry, I promise not to use that word again.)