Doran M. Christensen, Gordon K. Livingston, Stephen L. Sugarman, Steven J. Parillo, Erik S. Glassman. Management of Ionizing Radiation Injuries and Illnesses, Part 3: Radiobiology and Health Effects of Ionizing Radiation. J Am Osteopath Assoc 2014;114(7):556–565. doi: 10.7556/jaoa.2014.109.
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Ionizing radiation exposure can induce profound changes in intracellular components, potentially leading to diverse health effects in exposed individuals. Any cellular component can be damaged by radiation, but some components affect cellular viability more profoundly than others. The ionization caused by radiation lasts longer than the initial inciting incident, continuing as 1 ionization incident causes another. In some cases, damage to DNA can lead to cellular death at mitosis. In other cases, activation of the genetic machinery can lead to a genetic cascade potentially leading to mutations or cell death by apoptosis. In the third of 5 articles on the management of injuries and illnesses caused by ionizing radiation, the authors provide a clinically relevant overview of the pathophysiologic process associated with potential exposure to ionizing radiation.
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