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Radiation 

Radiation

Chapter:
Radiation
Author(s):

Jill Meara

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199204854.003.090509_update_001

July 30, 2015: This chapter has been re-evaluated and remains up-to-date. No changes have been necessary.

Update:

Treatment of acute radiation syndrome—WHO consensus review recommends use of granulocyte or granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factors to stimulate cell repopulation, and has revised advice on treatment of gastrointestinal syndrome and radiation burns.

Updated on 30 May 2013. The previous version of this content can be found here.
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date: 25 July 2017

Ionizing radiation has sufficient energy to break chemical bonds and produce charged ions in living tissue. These changes may cause cell death, but breaks of both strands of a DNA molecule that do not kill a cell may be a precursor of cancer.

Excluding medical exposures, natural radiation accounts for most human exposure, which produces health effects that may be (1) stochastic, where the probability of manifesting the effect depends on the radiation dose, including carcinogenesis and induction of heritable defects; (2) psychological, especially following accidental exposures; and (3) tissue reactions, occurring when sufficient cells are killed after exposure to radiation doses above a certain threshold, including the acute radiation syndrome (radiation sickness) and radiation burns....

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