The Specifications of the Ionising Radiation energy and dose which is claimed to impart an exclusively beneficial response.

by nuclearhistory

The specifications of the radiation used are given above as: “Low dose/Low dose rate  Linear Energy Transfer exposure at approximately equal to or less than 0.1 Grey” . The MeV for the LET is not given.

It is quite remarkable how low modern external soft x ray generating machines can go. For that is the source of the radiation the Sykes team used.

It is quite unlike the specification of the radiation emitted by biologically significant fission products in my opinion. Photons are given different weightings to alpha particles in the computations involved in the Sievert unit for example.

In 2001 the Atomic ExServicemen’s Association held it’s Annual General Meeting in Adelaide. The National Secretary, Mr Terry Toon, invited Pamela Sykes to attend. The veterans were very interested in hearing from Flinders University why the US Department of Energy was not interested in the biological effects of radiation emitted by radioactive particles woven into living tissue. Such as that emitted by the five or so Strontium fission isotopes. Sadly, no-one involved in the interesting research project at Flinders University was able to attend.

The need to examine internal emitters and their biological effects has been recognized by the United States of America and other nations since the early days of nuclear medicine. The discovery of the neutron by Chadwick in 1932 resulted in a period of rapid advances in the field of internally administered sources of radiation – the radioactive isotopes. In the period between 1932 and 1939, many artificially produced radioisotopes were created. In the USA, E.O. Lawrence and staff, University of California, Berkeley, produced a number of medically significant radioisotopes. P32, I131 and Sr89 were all used in treatment doses prior to the outbreak of World War 2 in Europe. The need to continue to understand such internal emitters is as important today as it was in 1939.

The study of internal emitters has, according to the late Dr Patricia Durbin, fallen by the wayside. And today the specifications of the externally applied soft low dose/ low dose rate photon radiation (X) as used by proponents of Adaptive Response and Radiation Hormesis theories seem to be the only vector of radiation exposure they consider worth studying in Australia.

Further, the laboratory results of DOE sponsored research using radiation of the specification given by Sykes above, are quoted in public pronouncements in Australia without mention of the dose/dose rate or LET specifications. I have an example document below.

Some voters might think that the statements issued by Radiation Hormesis and Adaptive Response scientists hold true in regard to ALL TYPES OF RADIATION OF ALL SPECIFICATION. Does it? As internal emitters of non photon radiation are not within the specs of the experiments, how are we to know? Do I and other voters guess?

If the radiation being being considered is not external X within the band of dose, dose rate, and LET described within the experiment specifications, then the results cannot be applied to radiation which do not fit those specifications. In my opinion.

In 1941 (published 1942), at Lawrence’s Berkeley lab and associated hospital, these very issues were considered in consented human trials involving the administration of the radioactive isotope Strontium 89 by injection pursuant to the treatment of metastatic bone cancer. Despite the success of the treatment over the period 1939 to 1941, the treatment – a pain relieving treatment for end stage cancer of the type described, was not approved for general use until 1993 in the USA. In the meantime, it was lost to medicine. Until German oncology (Firusian et al) “rediscovered” it (actually re-originating it without knowledge of Pecher’s 1939 -1941 work). Why was the work classified secret by US nuclear authorities in 1954? Was something other than medicine going on with the knowledge. How does the voter know whether or not the sort of thing is going on today?

The question as to why the work of Pecher was lost is an important one. The radiation involved does not fit the specifications given by Sykes. It is a fission product. It is produced in quantity by nuclear bombs and reactors and is released into the biosphere during reactor accidents which involve containment breach. It is released during reactor refueling. In the USA, people may only be administered Sr89 in the course of pain relieving treatment in end stage metastatic carcinoma of bone. That is a major condition of FDA approval.

My question to the US DOE contractors is this: how much Sr89 would produce the claimed beneficial effect of “adaptive response” in fractions of a gram?*

Is the information contained at the following link in fact correct for radiation of all specifications?

I do not know the answers, this is why I am asking the questions.

How much internalised Sr89 in fractions of a gram is required to produce the “vitamin like” effect promised by Flinders University in regard to unspecified radiation types as declared in its public pronouncement? Would in fact the “vitamin like” effect as promised by Flinders University occur at all in relation to Sr89’s monochromatic beta of high energy in MeV (for a beta emitter) and high internal dose/high internal dose rate radiation per unit mass of emitter when that emitter is sited in bone?

These are technical questions. I dispute the claim of Flinders University that to ask such questions is evidence I sufffer a “melt down in reason”. No such condition is listed in DSMIV.

Every person on the planet has a mental health status. Is this supposed to constrain public openness, public debate and public knowledge? I hope not.

I hope Flinders University achieves swift success in the attempt to formulate and apply a reliable supplementary treatment regime based upon the concept of adaptive response in order to mitigate the unwanted aspects of treatment dose radiation therapy. The project started in 2001.

That I wish for success in the undertaking does not mean that I would want to experience the supplementary treatment dose if i did not require the primary treatment dose. Healthy subjects should not be exposed to compulsory doses without informed consent. (ACHRE 1994, citing Numernberg). Even the ill have the right to refuse treatment in most circumstances. No matter how superior in knowledge the service provider is.

See previous posts relating to the ACHRE Final Report.

Medicine is evidence based.

Charles Pecher arrived from Belgium in the USA in August 1939. By August 1941 he had been easing the pain of the terminally ill with Sr89 for quite some time. He died in August 1941. The same results were not achieved again in routine oncology in the USA until 1993. With the same treatment.

That’s progress for you.

There is a keyword throughout the ACHRE report. It is “Dual Use.”

What else is the Flinders University radiation research being used for apart from oncology? See the text of the Flinders University document linked to above.

* Robley Evans was a pretty clued up guy

There is something else missing from the public statements issued by Flinders University in its efforts to inform the public. There is no mention of the ongoing scientific debate into the relative merits of the various views held by radiation scientists in relation to the concepts of Hormesis and Adaptive Response. Views such as those discussed by Dr. L. DE SAINT-GEORGES, European Radiation Research Society – Senior scientist, who states that: “The theory of “adaptive response”, (not to be confused with hormesis) shows that a low dose can reduce the effect of a higher dose when administered after a short time delay. This theory is based on substantial evidence.

To reduce a risk appears beneficial, but it does not mean that the risk is eliminated. According to the “adaptive response” model, a first low dose (conditioning dose) is considered to stimulate the DNA repair mechanisms that contribute to reduce the effect of a subsequent higher dose. But the initial low dose can only stimulate the limited number of cells actually hit, the total of which in function with the dose. This situation never excludes the possibility of a transformation of one of the cells.

The next higher dose concerns all cells. Some of them having the repair mechanisms stimulated by the first conditioning dose, and may repair the damage more easily. The other cells, that were not previously hit, are not protected. The total damage can be reduced by a factor depending on the number of the cells conditioned but will always be dependent on the total number of the cells exposed to both doses.

Would the conditioning of all cells solve the question? No, because to reach such a goal we have to increase the conditioning dose and the risk remains proportional to the dose and to the number of cells irradiated.

Therefore the adaptive response does not appear to be a relevant mechanism for radiation protection because the (low) conditioning dose that defines it, also generates a risk of transformation. On the other hand the challenging dose is not a low dose.” Source: Low-dose ionizing radiation exposure: Understanding the risk for cellular transformation” By L. DE SAINT-GEORGES,*
SCK•CEN, Department of Radiobiology, Mol, Belgium. Published in: Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Received:May 15, 2004\, Accepted:June 26, 2004. See :

On hormesis, the same paper states: “Hormesis is a hypothesis that emphasises the possible beneficial effect of low doses of radiation and claims the necessity of a low-dose exposition to get some benefits while excluding any risk. However, this concept is controversial.

According to the hormesis model, people should be exposed to low radiation dose unless it is demonstrated with certitude that there is no benefit from such exposure. The possibility of adverse effects is not even considered.

We may wonder why the proponents of the hormesis model acknowledge a radiation threshold value for harmful effects, but reject it for beneficial effects.” ibid.

The tone of public debate engendered as a result of a partisan approach to considerations regarding radiological safety might be predicted as being chaotic if authorities and institutions suppress particular view points, labeling favored positions as sane, while labeling dissenting views as being the results of “meltdowns in reasons.”

L. DE SAINT-GEORGES writes this: “The possible different interactions between rays and target atoms, the different types of ROS and free radicals produced, the different molecules as end points of ROS and the heterogeneity of damage in the target molecules makes the effect of ionization essentially unpredictable. Therefore, it does not seem to be appropriate to predict either deleterious or beneficial effects. Any issue from primary radiation effects remains theoretically possible”. and

“If any beneficial effects from low-dose radiation should exist, we can not exclude them, there is no reason to expect a higher occurrence probability for them than for cell transformation and the one would never exclude the other possibility in other cells. Therefore, such concepts aimed to attenuate the risk perception, will only lead toward more confusion, which in turn will generate more unwarranted anxiety and will finally be totally counterproductive.”

My final question then is this: Is Flinders University attempting to educate the public in these matters, or is it merely attempting to define the battle lines and to control opposition to a particular ideological stance imported with the US DOE research project? Just a question, not a statement.

On the importance of studying internal emitters, the late Dr Patricia Wallace Durbin (AEC, DOE) had this to say in the course of her oral history taken as part of the ACHRE investigations:

FISHER: We’re changing the topic just a little now. Considering this work and the work [during] your career, [and remembering] the conference [on internal dosimetry research needs] that was held in Atlanta, organized by CIRRPC, what do you think the future research directions of the Department of Energy and radionuclide metabolism and biological effects should be?
DURBIN: I’m not convinced that the present research agenda at OHER30 considers radionuclide metabolism and biological effects as an agenda item at all. I’m not even sure it’s on their list; it’s fallen off the bottom of the list, if it were on the list.
CAPUTO: Should it be on the list?
DURBIN: I think so. I think that it’s part of an ongoing obligation, as part of an ongoing compact with the public. This is an area where the U.S. was once the unchallenged leader and is now the tail wagging the dog. There is a place for a focused effort.

As far as I can see, OHER is the only place that has the financial mandate. NRC31 and EPA32 have regulatory mandates, but I don’t think that they have the financ[es] to do these things.

I rather like the original notion that the [AEC’s] Division of Biology and Medicine [(DBM)] , while it had some of its own research interests, was at the beck and call of what was then called Operations. If the Operations people had a problem, and there were environmental people in Operations, (and there were regulatory people in Operations) or questions that they wanted answered, they could go to DBM and say, “These are our problems, help us do something about it.”

Those links have been broken. All the other agencies can do is to go to CIRRPC and all three together go to OHER and sort of plead and say, “These are what our problems are, please do something.” And, then, OHER can decide whether it’s going to do it or not. [In] the old days, it was [an] obligation to do it. I think that the link has been broken there.

There were a number of things that came up at the CIRRPC meeting. I have not seen a final draft of the output, and I suspect one of the reasons is that everybody is so discouraged about the fact or about the prospects of it going anywhere. Certainly, provision needs to be made for the people who did work [to report it]. This is personal horn tooting in some respects, but it makes sense; it’s logical. (editor: ie not a melt down in reason)

Data that [were] considered to be of value, or generated under the auspices of the old agencies-things that were considered, at the time that the experiments were begun, to be valuable-have not automatically become devalued, [just] because somebody’s priority list has changed. They’re still valuable. And, the taxpayers are still owed a report.



Oral History of
Dr. Patricia Wallace Durbin, Ph.D.


A TAD DIFFERENT TO WHAT IS GOING DOWN HERE DON’T THINK? Are Australians really too “ignorant” of radiation issues – particularly those who remember Maralinga and who the survivors – to be able to grasp the need for a full and open disclosure allowing proper public debate.

For instance. The Australian government claims that the records from the Maralinga nuclear test facility hospital are lost. Are Australia’s Nuclear Veterans expected to accept that without questioning the motives of the authorities responsible for the safe keeping of their now allegedly lost medical records?

Flinders University is now a nuclear authority calling, via its website, the general population, including the veterans, “ignorant” of matters pertaining to radiological safety. Anyone who disagrees suffers a previously unknown condition called “meltdown in reason”.

This is Australia. So, as politely as possible I say: “Crap to that.” And, just to be on the safe side (rather than the risky side) :


I have a definite impression that many, many, many, many people in Japan disagree with Flinders University’s radiological safety pronouncement regarding them and theirs.

For example:

Ya Nelson.