Questions and Answers on Radiation Effects on Man

I try to keep questions submitted by groups as the are. Unclear or trivial questions are not replied. Reply has not been proof read.

Q
Nausea and vomiting
Some of the first symptoms that appear at the lower end of high-dose exposure are nausea and vomiting. Why (on a biological level) does the human body react in this manner?
A
Damage to the body influences the function. When some part of the body is not properly function leads to nausea and imbalance. Loss of balance usually results in vomiting.

Q
Reverse DNA damage
Is there anyway to reverse the effect of radiation made to DNA ?

If a DNA molecule is damaged by radiation, is there and medical treatment that uses radiation to repair the affected DNA molecule back to its original pattern?
A
To repair the DNA must be done at the molecular level. In the body, DNA function normally. There may be times that these molecules repair themselves in some cells. That is not cure, isn't it.

I am not an expert in treatment, but I think medical treatment for DNA is very difficult. However, gene therapy is comming, and it might be possible in the future. One has to know the damage before a repair is possible, however.

Q
Possible to know?
How could we know if we are affected by genetic effects of radiation?
A
No, You would not know, because you were born that way.

Q

Is the heavy water, which is used in the nuclear reactors in the Pickering Nuclear Plant, radioactive?
A
The heavy water is radioactive. That is why the heavy water is isolated from the steam, and the energy is transferred in the heat exchanger.

Q
Quality factor
How were the various Quality Factors determined? Was this done by a calculation, or by experiment?
A
The quality factor is an estimate, not by calculation. Because we cannot use human for experiment, the factor is estimated from observation.

Q
UV radiation safety
What are the health and safety issues associated with UV radiation from the sun and what is its biological effect relative to X, beta and gamma rays (Q-factor)?
A
UV is not ionizing radiation. Damage by UV is not by the same mechanism as X-rays and gamma rays. We cannot speak of a Q factor.

UV damage is relatively a recent discovery. It is not related to ionizing radiation, and I am not an expert in this type of damage. I guess UV radiation causes some form of skin cancer.

Q
Benefit of mutation
Do genetic effects due to ionizing radiation ever lead to beneficial mutations, as is often depicted in movies?
A
Genetic effects causes mutation. Benefit is a subjective value. Therefore, wheather mutation is beneficial is open for debate. Beneficial to man may not be beneficial to the species its self.

Q
Ozone filter cosmic rays
Over time the ozone layer continues to deplete. What properties does the ozone layer have that allows it to filter out a lot of the radioactive cosmic rays?
A
Ozone only absorbs the UV spectrum. It does not reduce the cosmic rays.

Q
Forearm exposure
Can radiation exposure to the forearms and extremities result in death? Since there are no vital organs there?
A
Well, I would not do that unless to save my life. Cutting off the forearm is better than destroying it using radiation.

Q
Recovery
The Radiation Exposures section discusses about immediately from high-dosage exposures and delayed somatic and genetic effects caused by low-dosage exposures. It is mentioned that some patients can recover, depending on the amount of exposure and the medical treatment received. Does this mean human body can repair the damaged cells? Or certain medical treatment must be performed to heal a patient?
A
Our body has some capacity to heal, and medical treatment is to prevent infection. Of course, there are some process such as bone marrow transfer and blood tranfusion etc. There is no magic bullet to treat radiation victims.

Q
Precaution for radiation
What precautions can be taken by workers in a known high radiation enviroment when it is necessary for them to enter these areas?
A
Several factor may be considered.

Q
Avoid radiation
What is the most harmful radiation source that we are exposed to in day-to-day activities that can easily be prevented, but which most people don't?
A
I think the public is fine. In fact, there is more fear of radiation in the public than ignoring radiation.

Q

Is there any protection on commercial aircraft from the radiation from cosmic sources?
A
For the general public, there is no concern because the level is not much higher than that on the ground. However, for flight attendants and pilots, there is a little concern. Perhaps that is the price to pay for a job sometimes.