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Children would need different medical care in wake of dirty bomb
Date:10/30/2007

If terrorists were to attack with a dirty bomb, medical authorities should be prepared to treat children differently than adults because their developing bodies would absorb and respond to the radiation exposure in distinct ways, according to a new study from the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Researchers will present the findings October 30, 2007, at the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology annual meeting in Los Angeles. The Rochester study is among a number to result from a $21 million grant awarded in 2005 by the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.

Investigators studied plasma cytokine changes and the expression of tissue biomarkers when adult and juvenile mice were exposed to a single low dose of external radiation between 0.5 and 10 gray, the unit of energy absorbed from ionizing radiation. The dose was designed to mimic the exposure from a dirty bomb. The tissue response of the younger mice indicated the radiation was more damaging, possibly causing long-term harm to the bodys structure and function.

Its difficult to think about developing strategies for a horrific, hypothetical event, said Jacqueline Williams, Ph.D., research associate professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Rochesters James P. Wilmot Cancer Center. But our work is teasing out some important nuances about how children and adults and perhaps even the elderly respond to exposure to radioactive particles. Our work could also apply to the clinical setting, as we learn how to better protect normal tissue from radiation exposure.

A dirty bomb is designed to leave behind a great amount of radioactive debris. Scientists believe that such a bomb would likely emit a combination of gamma, alpha and beta rays. That combination can destroy cells in the lungs and intestines, particularly when inhaled or ingested.

The next step is to study precisely how internal rad
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Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_Orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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