Radiobiological and social considerations following a radiological terrorist attack; mechanisms, detection and mitigation: review of new research developments Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Purpose

    This review focuses on recent research in understanding the different aspects of what society should expect from a radiological attack. Although some scenarios of a radiologic event can be impossible to be prepared for, the effort put toward educating and better preparing for these types of events can help minimize some of the issues. The different areas discussed in this review include radioisotopes of concern, detection of radiation dose, biological effects of ionizing radiation exposures, low dose effects, targeted and non-targeted effects (NTE), psychological effects, mitigations, with a brief mention of other considerations such as medical preparedness, communication, policy implications and ethical issues. This review also discusses solutions to rectify the issues faced at hand that may come up in the event of a radiologic terrorist attack.

    Conclusions

    A review of recent work in the area shows that a multi-layered and interdisciplinary approach is needed to prepare for a radiological terrorist attack. As well as medical preparedness, the approach needs to include sociological and psychological planning as well as an understanding of ethical issues. Since the likely 'dirty bomb' scenarios may involve low dose exposures to high numbers of people, a much better theoretical and practical understanding of low dose radiobiology and the development of robust low dose exposure biomarkers is needed as part of an integrated plan.

publication date

  • May 4, 2022