The accidental or hostile exposure of individuals to ionizing irradiation is of great public and military concern. Radiation sickness (acute radiation syndrome, or ARS) occurs when the body is exposed to a high dose of penetrating radiation within a short period of time. Systemic infection is one of the serious consequences of ARS. There is a direct relation between the magnitude of radiation exposure and the risk of developing infection. The risk of systemic infection is higher whenever there is a combined injury such as burn or trauma. Ionizing radiation enhances infection by allowing translocation of oral and gastrointestinal flora, and reducing the threshold of sepsis due to endogenous and exogenous microorganisms. The potential for concomitant accidental or terrorism-related exposure to bio-terrorism agents such as anthrax and radiation also exists.

This site is made of a home page that presents new developments and updates on the management of acute radiation syndrome including concomitant exposure to radiation and anthrax. Separate pages are dedicated to the treatment modalities.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Early detection of radiation exposure

Scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory are currently working on a new way of rapidly detection of radiation exposure. They have identified eight DNA-repair genes whose expression response to radiation changes in less than half of the time that detection was possible in the past. Since many genes alter their expression after radiation exposure to both radiation and inflammation, they looked carefully to see how the genetic response varies between these two causes. They compared their findings in samples taken from patients undergoing whole-body irradiation prior to bone marrow transplantation and the results confirmed their findings. More work is needed but the chances of finding a blood test that could be rapidly administered and analyzed in the field by emergency responders are improved.  This would be particularly helpful in patients with combined injury, whose care and prognosis differs from patients receiving burns or trauma alone, particularly at higher doses.

 Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory  in the San Fransisco Bay area in California

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