Sunday, October 29, 2006

Radiation Causes Bone loss at low doses

The scientific world has been shaken by a report from Clemson University that a single therapeutic dose of radiation can cause appreciable bone loss. Senior author Ted Bateman, PhD, a professor of bioengineering, and his South Carolina colleagues showed that when mice were given a dose of just two Gy (two gray, a radiation dosage formerly designated as 200 rads), between 29 and 39 percent of their interior bone mass was destroyed.

It did not particularly matter which kind of radiation the mice were exposed to. Gamma rays, protons, high-speed carbon and iron nuclei all had a similar and markedly destructive effect. Dr. Bateman and his colleagues reached these figures by creating 3D computer scans of the spongy interior of the bones and then calculating how much bone mass these irradiated mice had lost compared to a control group.

"We were surprised at how large the difference in bone mass was," Dr. Bateman told the weekly magazine, New Scientist (Barry 2006).

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