The Dose Makes the Poison
Adaptive response is the name radiation biologists have given to the phenomenon where small, “priming” doses of radiation stimulate biological defenses, and make an organism resistant to subsequent radiation exposure. The relevant question for radiation biology studies is, "how do phenomena observed in cells translate into health effects in whole organisms"? In the article, “Evidence for adaptive response in a molecular epidemiological study of the inhabitants of high background radiation area of Yangjiang in China”, Dr. Shibiao Su and colleagues report observing improved DNA damage repair and antioxidant capacity and reduced rates of cell-suicide in inhabitants of the high background radiation area (HBRA) compared to a control area with lower background radiation. Dr. Su notes that these results are consistent with their previous results observing lower rates of cancer mortality in the inhabitants of the HBRAs. Be sure to check out Dr. Su’s provocative article in the August issue of Health Physics.