|Year : 2007 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 135-138
Department of Radiotherapy, Dr. BRAIRCH, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India
Department of Radiotherapy, Dr. BRAIRCH, All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Ganesh T. News. J Med Phys 2007;32:135-8
| Recent publications of interest from International Atomic Energy Agency|| |
On-site visits to radiotherapy centres: Medical physics procedures quality assurance team for radiation oncology (QUATRO)
IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1543
This publication describes the audit technique for medical physics aspects of the operation of radiotherapy hospitals with the purpose to help identify and rectify problems in the radiotherapy physics area. It includes the follow-up of inconsistent results detected with the thermoluminescent dosimetry postal service operated jointly by the IAEA and the World Health Organization, as well as problems found during the radiation treatment planning process both for teletherapy and brachytherapy. Reactive QUATRO audits help hospitals at a very early stage in the problem-solving process, focusing on the prevention of incidents or accidents in radiotherapy.
Specification and acceptance testing of radiotherapy treatment planning systems
IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1540
This publication serves as a protocol to be used by both manufacturers and users for the specification and acceptance testing of radiotherapy treatment planning systems (RTPSs). Recommendations are provided in this report for specific tests to be performed at the manufacturing facility and acceptance tests to be performed at the radiotherapy hospital. The protocol uses the IEC 62083 standard as its basis for defining the specifications and acceptance tests. The analysis of algorithm site testing does not only test for consistency with the factory-type tests but will also help the user at the hospital to understand how well the algorithm works and what kind of results should be expected.
Criteria for palliation of bone metastases: Clinical applications
IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1549
Bone metastases are one of the complications that may arise in 14-70% of cancer patients. Although the management of patients with metastatic bone pain must be a multidisciplinary approach including analgesia, hormone treatment, etc., irradiation for patients with metastatic bone pain is specifically emphasized in this publication. This is a guide for specialists in clinical oncology that should help to improve clinical management of metastatic bone pain patients treated with radiotherapy and radionuclide therapy.
The following two new publications, although they are purely intended for national regulatory bodies, are worth reading.
Inspection of radiation sources and regulatory enforcement (supplement to IAEA safety standards series No. GS-G-1.5)
IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1526
This safety report provides practical guidance on establishing the procedures to facilitate regulatory compliance with the law and regulations relating to the use of radiation sources through inspection and enforcement. It contains examples of inspection procedures and checklists for the use of radiation sources in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, industrial radiography, research and industrial irradiators, gauges containing radioactive sources and well logging sources.
Notification and authorization for the use of radiation sources (supplement to IAEA safety standards series No. GS-G-1.5)
IAEA TECDOC Series No. 1525
This safety report provides practical guidance on establishing the organization and management of a system for notification and authorization for regulatory control over the use of radiation sources, including the provision for granting exemptions from regulatory requirements. It also provides examples of specific review and assessment procedures for applications concerning authorization for the use of radiation sources in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy, industrial radiography, research and industrial irradiators, gauges containing radioactive sources and well logging sources.
[These publications can be freely downloaded from the IAEA website using the following links:
Radiological protection of patients
While visiting IAEA website for downloading these publications, do also visit the link http://rpop.iaea.org/RPoP/RPoP/Content/ to see the latest literature that finds mention in these columns, which are worth reading and recommending to others.
| Patient information brochure from American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO)|| |
ASTRO has just created the patient brochure radiation therapy for brain tumors to educate patients with brain tumors on their radiation therapy treatment options. It can be downloaded free by using the link http://www.rtanswers.org/brochures/documents/Braintumor07.pdf.
| Depleted uranium increases lung cancer risk|| |
Depleted uranium (DU), a byproduct of uranium refinement for nuclear power, is a toxic material, as is well known. Its high density makes it useful not only as an effective radiation-shielding material but also as armor and armor-piercing shells. Used in the conflicts of Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq, the DU dust left in these battlefields is the cause of increasing concerns about possible health effects.
As researchers at the University of Southern Maine reveal, the DU damages DNA in human lung cells. The research team wrote in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology that the data suggested that exposure to particulate DU posed a significant risk that could possibly result in lung cancer. However, it admitted that since the disease takes several decades to develop, the results were too early to conclude decisively.
[From: The Hindu dated May 9, 2007]
| X-ray holograms reveal secret magnetism|| |
The magnetic characteristics of ferromagnets are well known for hundreds of years, and scientists have built up a detailed picture of the regions or magnetic domains into which they are divided. Antiferromagnets are materials that exhibit 'secret' magnetism that is not easily detectable. Instead, their magnetism is confined to very small regions where atoms behave as tiny magnets by spontaneously aligning themselves oppositely to adjacent atoms, thus neutralizing the overall magnetism of the material.
A joint collaboration between the scientists at the Center for Nanoscale Materials at Argonne National Laboratory, the University of Chicago and the London Center for Nanotechnology has exploited a technique called 'X-ray photon correlation spectroscopy' to see the internal workings of antiferromagnets, such as the metal chromium, for the very first time.
Using coherent X-rays scientists have produced a speckle pattern ('holograms'), which is a unique fingerprint of a particular magnetic domain pattern. The new experiments help to open the prospect of exploiting antiferromagnets in emerging technologies such as quantum computing.
[From: The Hindu dated May 17, 2007]
| The visit of USS Nimitz to Chennai port raised fears of radiation among general public|| |
The visit of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz to Chennai port during the first week of July raised considerable concern and anxiety amongst the general public over possible 'radiation leakage.' The Government had to take unprecedented efforts to allay the fears of radiation. The efforts included setting up of a radiation safety contingency plan; press meetings by the Chief of the Naval Staff, the Naval Officer-in-charge of Tamil Nadu and several other senior officers from DRDO, Chennai Port Trust, etc. An Indian Navy ship containing radiation-monitoring laboratory and scientists from DRDO and BARC was anchored one mile from the vessel, and air and water samples were frequently monitored during the time the USS Nimitz was anchored at the Chennai port.
Incidentally, at least 10 foreign nuclear warships had berthed at Indian ports in the past, never causing such concerns about radiation.
[From: The Hindu dated July 1, 2007]
| Spain reveals nuclear contaminated land|| |
In the year 1966, at the height of the cold war an American B-52 bomber carrying four thermonuclear bombs collided with a supply plane above the village of Palomares in southeastern Spain.
Out of the four bombs, two landed intact and were recovered. The other two were damaged by a chemical explosion on impact, releasing about 20 kg (44 lb) of plutonium into the center of Palomares village and surrounding hills. Nobody died or is known to have developed cancer, but Spain's worst nuclear accident took 3 months and the work of 1,600 US specialists to clean up before it was promptly forgotten outside of Spain. More than 40 years later, the Spanish nuclear regulatory agency and a national research center on the environment, energy and technology, CIEMAT, have concluded the first large-scale study of the extent of radioactive contamination (with americium) around the village, now perched in the middle of the nationwide building frenzy. Following the revelation of the extent of contaminated area in the study, the nuclear regulatory agency was expected to prohibit building or selling produce grown inside the contaminated area.
[From: Guardian, July 2, 2007]
| Undercover operation exposes pitfalls in NRC's licensing system|| |
World over, there are improved efforts to prevent terrorists from laying their hands on radioactive materials for making 'dirty bombs.' In an effort to check the efficiency of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC) licensing system, government investigators conducted an undercover operation. It involved an application to NRC from a fake construction company that never existed for procuring portable moisture density gauges containing americium-241 and cesium-137. NRC officials promptly mailed the license to the company's post box address without bothering to verify the authenticity of the company. To make matters worse, the license had so few security measures incorporated into it that the investigators were able to alter the limit on the amount of radioactive material. They approached vendors with license; and once they were able to place orders, with enough proof in their hands to prove the shortcomings in licensing, they called off their undercover operation. NRC has accepted the deficiencies and since has taken steps to improve safeguards in all respects.
The incident once again narrates the importance of having an efficient regulatory mechanism in every country governing purchasing, utilizing and disposing radioactive and radiation-generating sources. It also stresses the need for a continuously evolving system of regulatory measures that will adequately address the ever increasing security concerns and threat scenario posed by terrorist groups.
[From: The Indian Express, July 13, 2007]
| CT coronary angiography scans raise cancer risk|| |
CT coronary angiography (CTCA) scan can up the risk for cancer, especially for women and younger people. The finding comes from a new study which was published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association in which doctors sought to estimate lifetime cancer risk from 64-slice CTCA for particular patients. It suggests that doctors should carefully evaluate which patients are the best candidates for this test. According to the study, the lifetime cancer risk ranged from 1 in 143 for a 20-year-old woman to 1 in 3,261 for an 80-year-old man.
However, dose levels from multi-slice CT scanners and the associated cancer risk need not be a hurdle to the progress in CT technology, which they might at first seem. A case in point is the 256-slice CT scanner, currently an experimental prototype, which is installed only at three centers around the world. This scanner can image nearly 13 cm in a single rotation, allowing it to image an entire organ instantaneously - the whole heart in the space of a single heartbeat, for example. This is advantageous because it significantly reduces motion artifacts. There are still several issues that need to be ironed out before it is ready for commercialization, such as the huge volume of data produced, optimized reconstruction algorithms and new phantoms.
The other technology that is fast picking up is the dual-energy CT with dual sources. Radiologists can obtain information about the chemical composition of the tissue and its structure. One can also subtract unwanted structures from the images, like bones, to get an unobstructed view of the blood vessels, for example. Though it might seem that dual-source architecture would lead to double the dose, technology actually makes it half the dose from conventional CT scanners.
[Source: Health Day Reporter, dated July 17, 2007; and MedicalPhysicsWeb dated August 16, 2007. See: http://medicalphysicsweb.org/cws/article/research/30835]
| World's largest nuclear power plant suffers damages in earthquake|| |
The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant in Japan, which is the world's largest, suffered damages in the earthquake that hit Japan on July 11, 2007. According to reports, 1,200 liters (264 gallons) of water containing radioactive material had spilled from a tank and flushed into the sea. Although the leak was discovered at around noon - about 2 h after the earthquake - Tokyo Electric, the company that operated the plant, did not confirm to ministers that the water contained radioactive material, until after 6 p.m. The public was not informed until 9:45 p.m. The company said the amount of radiation involved was well below safety standards and posed no threat to the environment.
[From: Guardian, July 17, 2007]
| Research fails to detect short-term harm from mobile phone masts|| |
Mobile phone masts do not cause harmful short-term health effects, according to a study of people who say they experience symptoms when they are close to them. The study deals another blow to the notion that low-level electromagnetic fields from cell phones or base stations are dangerous. In a double-blind study, the researchers looked at 2G and 3G phone masts in a lab setting where both the participants and researchers did not know whether the equipment was turned on. The setup was designed to mimic the output from a phone mast at 20-30 m from the subject.
[From: Guardian dated July 26, 2007]
| No spillage of yellow cake after accident|| |
A trailer transporting a container with 62 drums of radioactive yellow cake from Jaduguda in Jharkhand to the Nuclear Fuel Complex at Hyderabad overturned at Narsannapeta in Srikakulam district in Andhra Pradesh on July 25, 2007. According to DAE officials, there was no spillage and no change in the background radiation. The incident was promptly informed to AERB. Natural uranium ore mined in different places in Jharkhand is processed into magnesium diuranate, popularly known as 'yellow cake' at a mill in Jaduguda.
[From: The Hindu dated July 26, 2007]
| New York alerted over 'radiological threat'|| |
New York city police increased security throughout Manhattan and at bridges and tunnels in response to what they called an 'unverified radiological threat' on August 10, 2007. The New York Police Department had increased the deployment of radiological sensors on vehicles, boats and helicopters and had set up vehicle checkpoints at multiple locations. Police confirmed the increased security was in response to receiving information that a dirty bomb may go off around 34 th Street in Manhattan, which houses the Empire State Building and several other well-known landmarks.
Reading this news column in the newspaper, one couldn't help from wondering if such an incident/ threat were to occur in India in any metro city, how well our police force and other governmental organizations would be prepared to tackle the situation. For example, how many radiation survey meters do the Bombay or Delhi police have in their arsenal? If they have some, how many of their personnel know how to operate them? If they know how to operate them, do they know what is safe and what is unsafe? Questions for thoughts, I suppose.
[From: Trinity Mirror, August 12, 2007]
| Compensation for radiation effect reversed by US court|| |
A federal appeals court in San Francisco, USA, reversed an award of nearly $320,000 by a lower court to a thyroid cancer victim who blamed her disease on radiation from the US government's Hanford nuclear installation, which made plutonium for bombs for four decades. Residents learned of the emissions from the installation only when the government declassified thousands of documents in 1986. The victim was among six plaintiffs who claimed that they were exposed to radiation during the 1940s when they were children living downwind from Hanford, near Richland.
[Source: The Associated Press, August 14, 2007]
| Nanosilver particles in the treatment of bacterial, fungal and viral infections|| |
With the growing side effects of recently introduced Drug Antibiotics and the developing resistance of germs to these drugs, the interest in use of Silver has recently been rekindled. The Colloidal Silver Solutions are far more effective than Silver Nitrate and require far less quantities of Silver (less than 0.25% of the Silver in Silver Nitrate used before). Silver is Non Toxic to the human body and has been used in preparation of food items in India for hundreds of years e.g. Silver foil on barfi/ sweets. During the past few years, the technology for making Nano sized particles of Silver has developed to a great extent and the broad spectrum antibiotic properties of Silver have thereby been enhanced to cover in more effective manner all kinds of gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Nano silver particles are also highly effective against fungi and viruses of all types including hepatitis, herpes and HIV Virus, to name a few. For more information visit: http://www.space-age.com/silver.html
[Information provided by: Dr. A. Shanta, Associate Editor]