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Ionizing Radiation

  1. Mar 7, 2010 #1
    I've been looking on Wikipedia about Ionizing Radiation. Basically, it's a technique that is used in Radiation Therapy... according to my research.

    However, I've come across two sentences that do not make sense to me..

    This is all on the same article on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionizing_radiation" [Broken]

    When they refer to the word exposure, they wouldn't happen to mean: over-exposure would they?

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 7, 2010 #2
    No, they mean exposure. Therapeutic levels of exposure in radiotherapy often causes secondary effects such as skin lesions, pneuomonitis, or other tissue damage. The whole point is that you're killing (or destroying the reproductive capcity of) cancer cells with a minimum damage to surrounding healthy tissues.

    Sadly, in many cases this DOES damage surrounding tissues. People who require radiotheraphy of their thoracic region can develop GI problems as sensitive cells in the gut die, and scarring of the lungs which can cause problems later. Of course, this beats death. Moreover, the skin can be damaged during radiotherapy, for which a variety of topical and other medications exist.

    Remember: ionizing radiation = DEATH. Ionizing radiation "knocks electrons" out of their orbits, or strips them entirely. Without getting getting technical, this tends to, on a sliding scale of exposure vs. symptioms, kill rapidly dividing cells first, and then hardier tissues later.

    May I suggest that you research: Radiation Poisoning, Criticality Accident, Radioactive Source Safety Protocols, Grey, Sievert, Radiation Absorbed Dose (RAD), Roentgen, etc...
    Come to an understanding of the evolution of the understanding of radiation in general, and its effects on tissues especially (note the modern notion of a quality factor based on type of raditation and location of exposure) and the rest follows.

    Another thing to research might be the effect of high energy neutrons on "strong" metals (ITER has an issue with this), which is a damaging effect of radiation.

    Bottom line: As with so many therapies, a modicum of poison is the cure. The trick is balancing the desired vs. adverse reactions.

    EDIT: Btw, "ionizing radiation" IS, it's not specifically a thing used for medicine. Rather, it's ionizing radiation that (at energies we encounter normally) is damaging to tissues. If you're worried about shielding a bunker, or a tank, or a nuclear reactor, your concerns extend to a wider variety of radiation, and secondary/tertiary emissions from the shielding material.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. Mar 7, 2010 #3
  5. May 14, 2011 #4
    Its a shame how oblivious xray techs are to ionizing radiation, moreover the faith in such
    crazieness that the ncrp report 147 deems to be a safe way to protect staff and or the public
  6. May 14, 2011 #5


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    Care to elaborate? And provide something to back your statement up?
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