NEWS AND EVENTS
|Year : 2011 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 186-188
News and Events
Department of Radiation Oncology, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
|Date of Web Publication||4-Aug-2011|
Department of Radiation Oncology, King Fahad Specialist Hospital, Dammam
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Ganesh T. News and Events. J Med Phys 2011;36:186-8
A picture is worth a thousand words
Explaining risks and benefits associated with ionizing radiation to a common man is often felt as one of the most challenging tasks by professionals in the field. A common man has very little or no knowledge about radiation, its effects on human beings and radiation units. The statistical nature of most of the detrimental effects, unfamiliar units like Sievert, Gray and common man's lack of ability to comprehend the huge differences between the magnitude of units (micro-, milli-) make the task even more difficult.
Much in line with the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words", Randall Munroe, a staff from Reed Research Reactor, Portland, USA has developed an extremely simple, yet immensely valuable chart on radiation doses and associated effects. It drives home many important messages in an effective manner to any one, irrespective of his knowledge about radiation. Readers would find it very useful on many accounts, especially for teaching and dissemination of knowledge. The chart is freely available in the public domain and can be accessed by: http://xkcd.com/radiation.
Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor accident
More than 3 months after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant following the tsunami, the situation remains very serious at the four reactors there. According to the reports of Japan's emergency nuclear task force, three reactors of the plant experienced a full meltdown condition where the fuel rods not only melted, but also breached their inner containment vessels and accumulated in the outer steel containment vessels.  The report also added that 770,000 TBq - about 20% as much as the official estimate for Chernobyl - of radiation seeped from the plant in the week after the tsunami, more than double the initial estimate of 370,000.  Japanese officials have escalated the severity of the accident to Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale which is the highest. The International Atomic Energy Agency is continually monitoring the situation and issuing regular updates on the status of the reactors and the environment.  Although the reactors remain subcritical, radioactivity leak into sea, atmosphere and detection of radiation in some food items continue to be issues of great concern.
Meanwhile the accident has quite predictably caused ripples in different forms in many countries including the United States, India, Germany and Switzerland. United States saw some panic-stricken public buying radioprotectivedrugs  and Geiger-Muller counters.  While India saw several demonstrations against nuclear energy, Germany closed eight reactors permanently with immediate effect and would phase out the remaining by 2022.  Switzerland also has announced plans to follow a similar line.  Indian nuclear and disaster management experts discussed country's preparedness to handle nuclear emergencies and other disasters. Enhancing the capacity of the National Disaster Response Force to meet nuclear emergencies and equipping 1000 police stations across 35 cities with dosimeters were two key proposals that were discussed. 
Airport body scanners not a health risk
Full body scanners which are being installed at increasing number of airports worldwide to enhance the security have caused great anxieties among airline passengers. Radiation safety and privacy were the two major concerns. A study appearing in the "Archives of Internal Medicine" found no health risks associated with such full body scanners. It stated that a passenger would have to undergo such scanning 50 times before receiving the same amount of dose from a dental X-ray. Similarly a chest X-ray was equivalent to that of 1000 trips through airport scanner and a mammogram would have delivered radiation 4000 times more. The study concluded that there was no significant threat from airport scanners.
World Health Organization: Are radiofrequency electromagnetic fields carcinogenic?
With the number of mobile phone users reaching a staggering 5 billion globally, there has been mounting concern about the possibility of adverse health effects from exposure to such radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma. According to the agency, the still accumulating evidence was evaluated as being 'limited' for glioma and acoustic neuroma and 'inadequate' to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The report did not quantitate the risk and called for important additional research be conducted into the long term, heavy use of mobile phones. Till then, taking pragmatic measures to reduce exposure should be attempted, the agency suggested.
For more information: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
Thermography cannot replace mammography
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public, including women and health care providers, that thermography was not a replacement for screening mammography and should not be used by itself to diagnose breast cancer. It cited the reason that there was no valid scientific data to show that thermographical devices, when used on their own, were an effective screening tool for any medical condition including the early detection of breast cancer or other breast disease.
Books by national academies press are freely downloadable
All PDF versions of books published by the National Academies Press will be downloadable free of charge to anyone. This includes more than 4,000 published books plus future reports by NAP.
For more details: http://www.nap.edu/
Draft reports from international commission on radiological protection available for public consultation and comments
International commission on radiological protection (ICRP) made available three draft reports - Patient and staff radiological protection in cardiology, radiological protection in fluoroscopically guided procedures performed outside the imaging department, radiological protection in pediatric diagnostic and interventional radiology - for public viewing and invited comments from individuals and groups which must be submitted by August 2011.
For more details: http://www.icrp.org/
New publications from atomic energy regulatory board, Mumbai
Atomic energy regulatory board (AERB), Mumbai recently published two new safety codes. The first one is titled "Radiation Therapy Sources, Equipment and Installations" (AERB/RF-MED/SC-1 [Rev. 1]).  It merges and replaces the previous two safety codes - namely 'Telegamma Therapy Equipment and Installations', (AERB/SC/MED-1) and safety code for 'Brachytherapy Sources, Equipment and Installations' (AERB/SC/MED-3) which were issued in 1986 and 1988, respectively.
The second safety code is titled "Nuclear Medicine Facilities" (AERB/RF-MED/SC-2 [Rev. 2])  and replaces the previous safety code on "Nuclear Medicine Laboratories", (AERB/SC/MED-4) issued in 1989 and its revision published in 2001 (AERB/SC/MED-4 Rev. 1).
Besides the two safety codes, AERB also issued two important directives.  The first one addresses the dose limits for exposures from ionizing radiations for workers and members of the public and the second one was on the specifications for radiation symbol and warning sign.
Recent publications of interest from IAEA Inequity in cancer care: A global perspective
IAEA Human Health Reports No. 3
This publication outlines IAEA's work on the availability of integrated cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment programs in order to reduce the cancer burden worldwide. IAEA strategies have particularly focused on the needs of low and middle-income countries and of vulnerable and marginalized populations. This book details causative factors of inequity in cancer care and discusses possible strategies to overcome them.
Radiation safety in industrial radiography-specific safety guide
IAEA Safety Standards Series No. SSG-11
This safety guide provides recommendations for ensuring radiation safety in industrial radiography used in non-destructive testing. This includes industrial radiography work that utilizes X-ray and g-sources, both in shielded facilities that have effective engineering controls and in outside shielded facilities using mobile sources.
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry for bone mineral density and body composition assessment
IAEA Human Health Series No. 15
This publication provides information on the theoretical background as well as on the practical application of DXA to measure bone mineral density and to assess body composition.
Planning national radiotherapy services: A practical tool
IAEA Human Health Series No. 14
The current and future burden of cancer incidence in developing countries requires the planning, establishment and upgrading of radiotherapy services at the national level. This publication is a practical guide outlining the main issues at stake when planning national radiotherapy services. It provides an assessment of the cancer burden, evaluates the existing resources and determines what is needed and how to cover the gap in a resource-oriented rational way. The publication will be of practical value to decision makers and program managers in public health facing the organization or reorganization of radiotherapy in their countries.
32 nd Annual Conference of the Association of Medical Physicists of India - AMPICON 2011
Dates: November 16-19, 2011
Place: Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamilnadu, India
Abstract submission opens on: April 1, 2011
Last date for abstract submission: August 1, 2011
Last date for registration: November 1, 2011
For further details:
Dr. B. Paul Ravindran, Chairman, Organizing Committee
Dr. I. Rabi Raja Singh, Secretary, Organizing Committee
Christian Medical College, Vellore - 632 004, Tamil Nadu, India