The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11, 2011. Tokyo and Osaka, which are located 375 km and 750 km, respectively, from the epicenter, experienced tremors of 5.0 lower and 3.0 seismic intensity on the Japan Meteorological Agency scale. The Great East Japan Earthquake was the fourth largest earthquake in the world and was accompanied by a radioactive leak at a nuclear power plant and a tsunami. In the aftermath of a disaster, some affected individuals presented to mental health facilities with acute stress disorder (ASD) and/or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, few studies have addressed mental stress problems other than ASD or PTSD among the general public immediately after a disaster. Further, the effects of such a disaster on residents living at considerable distances from the most severely affected area have not been examined.
This study aimed to prospectively analyze the effect of a major earthquake on the prevalence of insomnia among residents of Tokyo and Osaka.
A prospective online questionnaire study was conducted in Tokyo and Osaka from January 20 to April 30, 2011. An Internet-based questionnaire, intended to be completed daily for a period of 101 days, was used to collect the data. All of the study participants lived in Tokyo or Osaka and were Consumers’ Co-operative Union (CO-OP) members who used an Internet-based food-ordering system. The presence or absence of insomnia was determined before and after the earthquake. These data were compared after stratification for the region and participants’ age. Multivariate analyses were conducted using logistic regression and a generalized estimating equation. This study was conducted with the assistance of the Japanese CO-OP.
The prevalence of insomnia among adults and minors in Tokyo and adults in Osaka increased significantly after the earthquake. No such increase was observed among minors in Osaka. The overall adjusted odds ratios for the risk of insomnia post-earthquake versus pre-earthquake were 1.998 (95% CI 1.571–2.542) for Tokyo, 1.558 (95% CI 1.106–2.196) for Osaka, and 1.842 (95% CI,1.514–2.242) for both areas combined.
The prevalence of insomnia increased even in regions that were at a considerable distance from the epicenter. Both adults and minors in Tokyo, where the seismic intensity was greater, experienced stress after the earthquake. In Osaka, where the earthquake impact was milder, disturbing video images may have exacerbated insomnia among adults.
insomnia; Web-based survey; population surveillance; disaster; nuclear accidents; earthquakes
Large quantities of radionuclides have leaked from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant into the surrounding environment. Effective prevention of health hazards resulting from radiation exposure will require the development of efficient and economical methods for decontaminating radioactive wastewater and aquatic ecosystems. Here we describe the accumulation of water-soluble radionuclides released by nuclear reactors by a novel strain of alga. The newly discovered green microalgae, Parachlorella sp. binos (Binos) has a thick alginate-containing extracellular matrix and abundant chloroplasts. When this strain was cultured with radioiodine, a light-dependent uptake of radioiodine was observed. In dark conditions, radioiodine uptake was induced by addition of hydrogen superoxide. High-resolution secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) showed a localization of accumulated iodine in the cytosol. This alga also exhibited highly efficient incorporation of the radioactive isotopes strontium and cesium in a light-independent manner. SIMS analysis showed that strontium was distributed in the extracellular matrix of Binos. Finally we also showed the ability of this strain to accumulate radioactive nuclides from water and soil samples collected from a heavily contaminated area in Fukushima. Our results demonstrate that Binos could be applied to the decontamination of iodine, strontium and cesium radioisotopes, which are most commonly encountered after nuclear reactor accidents.
Confounding factors in radiation pulmonary carcinogenesis are passive and active cigarette smoke exposures and radiation hormesis. Significantly increased lung cancer risk from ionizing radiation at lung doses < 1 Gy is not observed in never smokers exposed to ionizing radiations. Residential radon is not a cause of lung cancer in never smokers and may protect against lung cancer in smokers. The risk of lung cancer found in many epi-demiological studies was less than the expected risk (hormetic effect) for nuclear weapons and power plant workers, shipyard workers, fluoroscopy patients, and inhabitants of high-dose background radiation. The protective effect was noted for low- and mixed high- and low-linear energy transfer (LET) radiations in both genders. Many studies showed a protection factor (PROFAC) > 0.40 (40% avoided) against the occurrence of lung cancer. The ubiquitous nature of the radiation hormesis response in cellular, animal, and epidemio-logical studies negates the healthy worker effect as an explanation for radiation hormesis. Low-dose radiation may stimulate DNA repair/apoptosis and immunity to suppress and eliminate cigarette-smoke-induced transformed cells in the lung, reducing lung cancer occurrence in smokers.
Hormesis; Smoking; Lung Cancer
A large amount of radionuclides was released from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station (FDNPS) following the damage caused by the tsunami due to the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011. Although many radionuclides in various environmental samples around the FDNPS have been measured, 3H in the terrestrial environment has not yet been reported. We present here the first survey results of 3H concentrations in plant samples collected around the FDNPS in 2011 from shortly after the accident. The free-water 3H concentrations in herbaceous plant shoots and evergreen tree leaves were considerably higher than the previous background concentration, and diminished with distance from the FDNPS. Although reconstruction of atmospheric 3H concentrations after the accident is difficult, a rough estimate of the radiation dose due to 3H inhalation about 20 km from the FDNPS is on the order of a few microsieverts (μSv).
Quantitative and mechanism-based information on differences in transfection efficiency between viral and non-viral vectors would be highly useful for improving the effectiveness of non-viral vectors. A previous quantitative comparison of intracellular trafficking between adenovirus and LipofectAMINE PLUS (LFN) revealed that the three orders of magnitude lower transfection efficiency of LFN was dominantly rate limited by the post-nuclear delivery process. In the present study, the contribution of transcription and translation processes to the overall differences in the transgene expression efficiency of nucleus-delivered DNA was independently evaluated by quantifying mRNA. As a result, transcription efficiency (Etranscript) of LFN, denoted as transgene expression divided by the amount of nuclear pDNA was about 16 times less than that for adenovirus. Furthermore, translation efficiency (Etranslate), denoted as transfection activity divided by mRNA expression was approximately 460 times less in LFN. Imaging of the decondensed form of DNA by in situ hybridization revealed that poor decondensation efficiency of LFN is involved in the inferior Etranscript. Moreover, the inferior translation efficiency (Etranslate) of LFN was mainly due to electrostatic interactions between LFN and mRNA. Collectively, an improvement in nuclear decondensation and the diminution of the interaction between vector and mRNA is essential for the development of new generations of non-viral vectors.
Priority setting in radiation policy is complex because it depends to a large extent on risk perception. It has been shown repeatedly that the public is much more sensitive to potential harmful sequelae of radiation than to those of other environmental pollutants. Thus, cancer risk, particularly at low doses, has become a sociopolitical issue. The principle that radiation causes cancer, is life shortening, and causes an array of other pathologic disorders, is well accepted yet the quantification of sequelae at the lower end point of the dose-response curve is still controversial. The presence of a significant carcinogenic effect at very low doses has strong financial implications. Sociopolitical and economic values play a major role in the interpretation of available data. Thus, the use of nuclear energy is a function of risk/benefit, pressures, available alternatives, and cost. Three case studies--nuclear plant workers, children irradiated for an essentially benign condition, and food safety--are used to illustrate polar policy decisions.
The idea to hold an international conference on radiation and health arose as a natural response to the mounting evidence of serious health effects on populations resulting from the Chernobyl accident. The nature of the Chernobyl accident, where large amounts of radioactive nuclides spread in the reactor area and all over Europe, dictated the emphasis of the presented papers covering both direct radiation effects and effects of radioactive contaminants on large populations. In addition to classical radiobiologic studies of the effects of radiation on cells, organs, humans and their environment, basic studies of DNA damage and repair, the possibility to enhance and repair, and studies of radioprotectors, emphasis was directed at the effects of radiation on large populations and at the inaccuracy of dosimetry. The lack of accurate physical dosimetry resulted in the need to develop new methods of biological dosimetry. Health effects as a result of Chernobyl were expressed in many disorders, some not recognized before as radiation effects, and many related to psychosocial behavioral symptoms. Special emphasis was given to the plight of liquidators who were exposed while carrying out cleanup operations around the reactor and to the observed increase in thyroid cancer among area inhabitants. All of the observations and results were taken into consideration when discussing and proposing appropriate health policies based on risk analysis and the observed phenomena.
The contamination of Japan after the Fukushima accident has been investigated mainly for volatile fission products, but only sparsely for actinides such as plutonium. Only small releases of actinides were estimated in Fukushima. Plutonium is still omnipresent in the environment from previous atmospheric nuclear weapons tests. We investigated soil and plants sampled at different hot spots in Japan, searching for reactor-borne plutonium using its isotopic ratio 240Pu/239Pu. By using accelerator mass spectrometry, we clearly demonstrated the release of Pu from the Fukushima Daiichi power plant: While most samples contained only the radionuclide signature of fallout plutonium, there is at least one vegetation sample whose isotope ratio (0.381 ± 0.046) evidences that the Pu originates from a nuclear reactor (239+240Pu activity concentration 0.49 Bq/kg). Plutonium content and isotope ratios differ considerably even for very close sampling locations, e.g. the soil and the plants growing on it. This strong localization indicates a particulate Pu release, which is of high radiological risk if incorporated.
In a series of 20 cases here presented in a study of Western equine encephalitis, only ten were conclusively proven by serological or histopathological methods, while the other ten were presumptively cases of that disease. Involvement of the spinal cord was of relatively low incidence. In only one case of four in which autopsy was done could the Western equine virus be demonstrated in the cerebral tissues.
There was a rather high incidence of involvement of the respiratory tree. A high proportion of patients had complaints referable to the respiratory tract. Physical signs denoting disease of both the upper and lower respiratory tract, x-ray evidence showing bronchial and pulmonary involvement, and autopsy evidence of bronchopneumonia were noted frequently.
All patients had fever as well as symptoms and physical signs of central nervous system disease. Differential diagnosis posed many interesting and challenging problems.
The clinical features were those of meningoencephalitis and never a “flu-like” syndrome, although in several of the cases diagnosis could not be made with certainty for several days, until meningeal signs developed, and usually the patients were treated with one or several antibiotics during that time.
In all cases in which a neutralization test for the Western equine virus was done, the result was either positive or inconclusive. Results of complement fixation tests were significant in only six cases. In seven of 13 cases in which x-ray films of the chest were made, streaks of increased density were noted.
Energy needs worldwide are expected to increase for the foreseeable future, but fuel supplies are limited. Nuclear reactors could supply much of the energy demand in a safe, sustainable manner were it not for fear of potential releases of radioactivity. Such releases would likely deliver a low dose or dose rate of radiation, within the range of naturally occurring radiation, to which life is already accustomed. The key areas of concern are discussed. Studies of actual health effects, especially thyroid cancers, following exposures are assessed. Radiation hormesis is explained, pointing out that beneficial effects are expected following a low dose or dose rate because protective responses against stresses are stimulated. The notions that no amount of radiation is small enough to be harmless and that a nuclear accident could kill hundreds of thousands are challenged in light of experience: more than a century with radiation and six decades with reactors. If nuclear energy is to play a significant role in meeting future needs, regulatory authorities must examine the scientific evidence and communicate the real health effects of nuclear radiation. Negative images and implications of health risks derived by unscientific extrapolations of harmful effects of high doses must be dispelled.
sustainable nuclear energy; radiation health effects; radiation hormesis; social acceptance; regulatory implications
The Fukushima nuclear disaster has generated worldwide concern on the risk of exposure to nuclear radiations. In Europe, health authorities had to issue statements about the lack of usefulness of iodine based preventive treatments within their borders. However a lack of confidence in official messages has developed in various European countries due to recent perceived failures in managing public health crises. The lay population preventive behaviors in this context are largely unknown. Consequently, to examine the effects of public health crisis on lay behaviors leading to pharmaceuticals purchases, we studied the sales of iodine-based products in France before, during and after the crisis.
We focused our study on 58 iodine-based drugs available with and without a physician prescription. Our data came from a stratified sample of 3004 pharmacies in metropolitan France. Our study period was from January 2010 to April 2012, with a focus on March-April 2011. We differentiated sales of drugs prescribed by physicians from sales of drugs obtained without a prescription. We used a CUSUM method to detect abnormal increases in sales activity and cross-correlations to assess shifts in sales timing.
Sales of iodine-based nutritional complements, and later sales of iodine-based homeopathic remedies, substantially increased (up to 3-fold) during a period of 20 days. Their temporal patterns were correlated to specific events during the crisis. Prescriptions for iodine-based homeopathy increased (up to 35% of all sales). Iodine pills, strictly regulated by health authorities, have also been sold but on a very small scale.
These results indicate uncontrolled preventive behaviors resulting in the potentially unjustifiable consumption of available drugs. They have implications in public policy, and demonstrate the usefulness of drug sales surveillance for instantaneous evaluation of population behavior during a global crisis.
On March 11, 2011, an earthquake led to major problems at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A 14-m high tsunami triggered by the earthquake disabled all AC power to Units 1, 2, and 3 of the Power Plant, and carried off fuel tanks for emergency diesel generators. Despite many efforts, cooling systems did not work and hydrogen explosions damaged the facilities, releasing a large amount of radioactive material into the environment. In this review, we describe the environmental impact of the nuclear accident, and the fundamental biological effects, acute and late, of the radiation. Possible medical countermeasures to radiation exposure are also discussed.
Fukushima nuclear power plant; nuclear accident; environmental contamination; reactive oxygen species; low dose effect; radiation mitigator
A magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck off eastern Japan in March 2011. Many survivors have been living in temporary houses provided by the local government since they lost their houses as a result of the great tsunami (tsunami group) or the expected high-dose radiation resulting from the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (radiation group). The tsunami was more than 9 m high in Soma, Fukushima, which is located 30 km north of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and adjacent to the mandatory evacuation area. A health screening program was held for the evacuees in Soma in September 2011. The aim of this study was to compare the metabolic profiles of the evacuees before and after the disaster. We hypothesized that the evacuees would experience deteriorated metabolic status based on previous reports of natural disasters.
Data on 200 subjects who attended a health screening program in September or October of 2010 (pre-quake) and 2011 (post-quake) were retrospectively reviewed and included in this study. Pre-quake and post-quake results of physical examinations and laboratory tests were compared in the tsunami and radiation groups. A multivariate regression model was used to determine pre-quake predictive factors for elevation of hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in the tsunami group.
Significantly higher values of body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, and HbA1c and lower high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were found at the post-quake screening when compared with the pre-quake levels (p = 0.004, p = 0.03, p = 0.008, p < 0.001, and p = 0.03, respectively). A significantly higher proportion of subjects in the tsunami group with high HbA1c, defined as ≥5.7%, was observed after the quake (34.3%) than before the quake (14.8%) (p < 0.001). Regional factors, periodic clinic visits, and waist circumference before the quake were identified as predictive factors on multivariate analysis for the deterioration of HbA1c.
Post-quake metabolic variables were impaired compared with pre-quake baseline levels in survivors who were living in temporary houses. A natural disaster could affect metabolic profiles, and careful follow-up for survivors should be planned.
Natural disaster; Health screening; Glycemic control; Lipidemia
An earthquake and tsunami of historic proportions caused massive damage across the northeastern coast of Japan on the afternoon of 11 March 2011, and the release of radionuclides from the stricken reactors of the Fukushima nuclear power plant 1 was detected early on the next morning. High levels of radioiodines and radiocesiums were detected in the topsoil and plants on 15 March 2011, so sampling of food and water for monitoring surveys began on 16 March 2011. On 17 March 2011, provisional regulation values for radioiodine, radiocesiums, uranium, plutonium and other transuranic α emitters were set to regulate the safety of radioactively contaminated food and water. On 21 March 2011, the first restrictions on distribution and consumption of contaminated items were ordered. So far, tap water, raw milk, vegetables, mushrooms, fruit, nut, seaweeds, marine invertebrates, coastal fish, freshwater fish, beef, wild animal meat, brown rice, wheat, tea leaves and other foodstuffs had been contaminated above the provisional regulation values. The provisional regulation values for radioiodine were exceeded in samples taken from 16 March 2011 to 21 May 2011, and those for radiocesiums from 18 March 2011 to date. All restrictions were imposed within 318 days after the provisional regulation values were first exceeded for each item. This paper summarizes the policy for the execution of monitoring surveys and restrictions, and the outlines of the monitoring results of 220 411 samples and the enforced restrictions predicated on the information available as of 31 March 2012.
food safety regulation; Fukushima nuclear accident; provisional regulation value; provisional tolerance value; internal radiation exposure
This presentation will discuss new developments in emergency biological dosimetry and the CRTI (CBRN Research and Technology Initiative) National Biological Dosimetry Response Plan (NBDRP). Biological dosimetry is a technique used to estimate the biological consequences of a radiation exposure and is largely based on chromosome aberration detection. The NBDRP will establish a national network of laboratories to respond to a nuclear event for the purposes of rapid radiation dose estimation for crisis management and for long-term health risk assessment. In the event of a large-scale radiation accident or deliberate act of terrorism this will help guide the actions of emergency officials, emergency responders and health care personnel by providing timely biological dose estimates. The presentation will outline the research initiatives to develop modern techniques used for biological dosimetry. The overall purpose of this presentation is to provide the audience with a brief introduction to radiobiology, radiation-induced DNA damage, the health risks associated with radiation exposure, and the latest cytogenetic techniques used to estimate the risk.
A radiological emergency exists at the Fukushima Daiichi (Fukushima I) nuclear power plant in Japan as a result of the March 11, 2011 magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the massive tsunami that arrived later. News media misinformation related to the emergency triggered enormous social fear worldwide of the radioactivity that is being released from damaged fuel rods. The heroic recovery workers are a major concern because they are being exposed to mostly gamma radiation during their work shifts and life-threatening damage to the radiosensitive bone marrow could occur over time. This paper presents a way in which the bone marrow equivalent dose (in millisieverts), as estimated per work shift, could be used along with the hazard function model previously developed for radiological risk assessment to repeatedly check for potential life-threatening harm (hematopoietic system damage) to workers. Three categories of radiation hazard indication are proposed: 1, life-threatening damage unlikely; 2, life-threatening damage possible; 3, life-threatening damage likely. Categories 2 and 3 would be avoided if the whole body effective dose did not exceed the annual effective dose limit of 250 mSv. For down-wind populations, hormetic effects (activated natural protective processes) are much more likely than are deleterious effects.
radiological emergency; risk assessment; hormesis
Gold standard datasets on protein complexes are key to inferring and validating protein–protein interactions. Despite much progress in characterizing protein complexes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, numerous researchers still use as reference the manually curated complexes catalogued by the Munich Information Center of Protein Sequences database. Although this catalogue has served the community extremely well, it no longer reflects the current state of knowledge. Here, we report two catalogues of yeast protein complexes as results of systematic curation efforts. The first one, denoted as CYC2008, is a comprehensive catalogue of 408 manually curated heteromeric protein complexes reliably backed by small-scale experiments reported in the current literature. This catalogue represents an up-to-date reference set for biologists interested in discovering protein interactions and protein complexes. The second catalogue, denoted as YHTP2008, comprises 400 high-throughput complexes annotated with current literature evidence. Among them, 262 correspond, at least partially, to CYC2008 complexes. Evidence for interacting subunits is collected for 68 complexes that have only partial or no overlap with CYC2008 complexes, whereas no literature evidence was found for 100 complexes. Some of these partially supported and as yet unsupported complexes may be interesting candidates for experimental follow up. Both catalogues are freely available at: http://wodaklab.org/cyc2008/.
Concern regarding accidental overexposure to radiation has been raised after the devastating Tohuku earthquake and tsunami which initiated the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, in March 2011. Radiation exposure is toxic and can be fatal depending on the dose received. Injury to the lung is often reported as part of multi-organ failure in victims of accidental exposures. Doses of radiation >8 Gray to the chest can induce pneumonitis with right ventricular hypertrophy starting after ~2 months. Higher doses may be followed by pulmonary fibrosis that presents months to years after exposure. Though the exact mechanisms of radiation lung damage are not known, experimental animal models have been widely used to study this injury. Rodent models for pneumonitis and fibrosis exhibit vascular, parenchymal and pleural injuries to the lung. Inflammation is a part of the injuries suggesting involvement of the immune system. Researchers world-wide have tested a number of interventions to prevent or mitigate radiation lung injury. One of the first and most successful class of mitigators are inhibitors of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme that is abundant in the lung. These results offer hope that lung injury from radiation accidents may be mitigated, since the ACE inhibitor captopril was effective when started up to one week after irradiation.
captopril; lung fibrosis; mitigation; radiation pneumonitis; nuclear accident; radiological terrorism
Postdisaster crisis interventions have been viewed by many as the appropriate and immediate approach to enhance psychological well-being among persons affected by large-scale traumatic events. Yet, studies and systematic reviews have challenged the effectiveness of these efforts. This article provides the first rigorous scientific evidence to suggest that postdisaster crisis interventions in the workplace significantly reduced mental health disorders and symptoms up to 2 years after the initial interventions. Until now, studies have neither focused on the effectiveness and safety of brief mental health services following disasters, or traumatic events generally, nor examined the long-term impact of these interventions across a spectrum of outcomes using a rigorous research design. The focus of this study was to examine the impact of brief mental health crisis interventions received at the worksite following the World Trade Center disaster (WTCD) among a random sample of New York adults. The data for the present study come from a prospective cohort study of 1,681 adults interviewed by telephone at 1 year and 2 years after this event. Results indicate that worksite crisis interventions offered by employers following the WTCD had a beneficial impact across a spectrum of outcomes, including reduced risks for binge drinking, alcohol dependence, PTSD symptoms, major depression, somatization, anxiety, and global impairment, compared with individuals who did not receive these interventions. In addition, it appeared that 2−3 brief sessions achieved the maximum benefit for most outcomes examined. Implications for postdisaster crisis interventions efforts are discussed.
crisis interventions; emergency services; Critical Incident Stress Management; CISM; community disasters; alcohol abuse; depression; PTSD; mental health services; effectiveness study; outcomes research
Current definitions of 'global health' lack specificity about the term 'global'. This debate presents and discusses existing definitions of 'global health' and a common problem inherent therein. It aims to provide a way forward towards an understanding of 'global health' while avoiding redundancy. The attention is concentrated on the dialectics of different concepts of 'global' in their application to malnutrition; HIV, tuberculosis & malaria; and maternal mortality. Further attention is payed to normative objectives attached to 'global health' definitions and to paradoxes involved in attempts to define the field.
The manuscript identifies denotations of 'global' as 'worldwide', as 'transcending national boundaries' and as 'holistic'. A fourth concept of 'global' as 'supraterritorial' is presented and defined as 'links between the social determinants of health anywhere in the world'. The rhetorical power of the denotations impacts considerably on the object of 'global health', exemplified in the context of malnutrition; HIV, tuberculosis & malaria; and maternal mortality. The 'global' as 'worldwide', as 'transcending national boundaries' and as 'holistic' house contradictions which can be overcome by the fourth concept of 'global' as 'supraterritorial'. The 'global-local-relationship' inherent in the proposed concept coheres with influential anthropological and sociological views despite the use of different terminology. At the same time, it may be assembled with other views on 'global' or amend apparently conflicting ones. The author argues for detaching normative objectives from 'global health' definitions to avoid so called 'entanglement-problems'. Instead, it is argued that the proposed concept constitutes an un-euphemistical approach to describe the inherently politicised field of 'global health'.
While global-as-worldwide and global-as-transcending-national-boundaries are misleading and produce redundancy with public and international health, global-as-supraterritorial provides 'new' objects for research, education and practice while avoiding redundancy. Linked with 'health' as a human right, this concept preserves the rhetorical power of the term 'global health' for more innovative forms of study, research and practice. The dialectic approach reveals that the contradictions involved in the different notions of the term 'global' are only of apparent nature and not exclusive, but have to be seen as complementary to each other if expected to be useful in the final step.
On March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami that followed caused severe damage along Japans northeastern coastline and to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. To date, there are few reports specifically examining psychological distress in rescue workers in Japan. Moreover, it is unclear to what extent concern over radiation exposure has caused psychological distress to such workers deployed in the disaster area.
One month after the disaster, 424 of 1816 (24%) disaster medical assistance team workers deployed to the disaster area were assessed. Concern over radiation exposure was evaluated by a single self-reported question. General psychological distress was assessed with the Kessler 6 scale (K6), depressive symptoms with the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D), fear and sense of helplessness with the Peritraumatic Distress Inventory (PDI), and posttraumatic stress symptoms with the Impact of Event Scale-Revised (IES-R).
Radiation exposure was a concern for 39 (9.2%) respondents. Concern over radiation exposure was significantly associated with higher scores on the K6, CES-D, PDI, and IES-R. After controlling for age, occupation, disaster operation experience, duration of time spent watching earthquake news, and past history of psychiatric illness, these associations remained significant in men, but did not remain significant in women for the CES-D and PDI scores.
The findings suggest that concern over radiation exposure was strongly associated with psychological distress. Reliable, accurate information on radiation exposure might reduce deployment-related distress in disaster rescue workers.
Highly sensitive mutational responses of the stamen-hair system of some Tradescantia clones heterozygous for flower color (blue/pink, the blue being dominant) to low-level radiation and chemical mutagens, as demonstrated in the last decade, seem to endorse this system to be the most promising biological tester for detecting the genetic effects of mutagens at low levels. Two triploid (thus sterile) clones, KU 7 and KU 9, have been established as those suitable for in situ monitoring of environmental mutagens. In situ monitoring with such Tradescantia clones was first tried in 1974 around a nuclear power plant in Japan, then has been repeated until 1979 around more nuclear plants. About 260,000 to 1,570,000 stamen hairs were observed per year per nuclear plant (about 12-million hairs in total), and the data of pink mutation frequency were analyzed statistically. Significantly increased mutation frequencies were observed and were correlated to the operation periods of the nuclear facilities and to predominant wind direction, but not to other environmental factors. Considering physical monitoring data of radiation dose in the air, internal exposure due to incorporation and concentration of man-made radioactive nuclides seems to be of a greater importance in increasing mutation incidence.
A close interaction between the respiratory pump, pulmonary parenchyma and blood circulation is essential for a normal lung function. Many pulmonary diseases present, especially in their initial phase, a variable regional impairment of ventilation and perfusion. In the last decades various techniques have been established to measure the lung function. Besides the global pulmonary function tests (PFTs) imaging techniques gained increasing importance to detect local variations in lung function, especially for ventilation and perfusion assessment. Imaging modalities allow for a deeper regional insight into pathophysiological processes and enable improved planning of invasive procedures. In contrast to computed tomography (CT) and the nuclear medicine techniques, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), as a radiation free imaging modality gained increasing importance since the early 1990 for the assessment of pulmonary function. The major inherent problems of lung tissue, namely the low proton density and the pulmonary and cardiac motion, were overcome in the last years by a constant progress in MR technology. Some MR techniques are still under development, a process which is driven by scientific questions regarding the physiology and pathophysiology of pulmonary diseases, as well as by the need for fast and robust clinically applicable imaging techniques as safe therapy monitoring tools. MRI can be considered a promising ionizing-free alternative to techniques like CT or nuclear medicine techniques for the evaluation of lung function. The goal of this article is to provide an overview on selected MRI techniques for the assessment of pulmonary ventilation and perfusion.
lung; function; magnetic resonance imaging
There has been much debate, in both the linguistics and the psycholinguistics literature, concerning numbers and the interpretation of number denoting determiners ('numerals'). Such debate concerns, in particular, the nature and distribution of upper-bounded ('at-least') interpretations vs. lower-bounded ('exact') construals. In the present paper we show that the interpretation and processing of numerals are affected by the entailment properties of the context in which they occur. Experiment 1 established off-line preferences using a questionnaire. Experiment 2 investigated the processing issue through an eye tracking experiment using a silent reading task. Our results show that the upper-bounded interpretation of numerals occurs more often in an upward entailing context than in a downward entailing context. Reading times of the numeral itself were longer when it was embedded in an upward entailing context than when it was not, indicating that processing resources were required when the context triggered an upper-bounded interpretation. However, reading of a following context that required an upper-bounded interpretation triggered more regressions towards the numeral when it had occurred in a downward entailing context than in an upward entailing one. Such findings show that speakers' interpretation and processing of numerals is systematically affected by the polarity of the sentence in which they occur, and support the hypothesis that the upper-bounded interpretation of numerals is due to a scalar implicature.
numbers; numeral determiners; scalar implicature; polarity; entailment; semantic processing
Fibrosing alveolitis is a disease of unknown cause mainly involving the gas-exchanging portions of the lungs. It may occur in isolation and be called cryptogenic or idiopathic, in which case the clinical manifestations are mainly respiratory, or it may be associated with other disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The histopathologic abnormalities of the pulmonary tissue are identical in either instance. Other names used for the disease have included usual interstitial pneumonia, desquamative interstitial pneumonia and the Hamman-Rich syndrome; these terms may describe different stages of the same pathologic process. Many authors in North America and those in the United Kingdom favour the term fibrosing alveolitis when describing chronic interstitial pneumonias. There may be accompanying nonspecific Immunologic abnormalities, which may denote that fibrosing alveolitis is part of the wide spectrum of diseases known as connective tissue disorders. Recently immune complexes have been found in the lung parenchyma; they probably result in the granulocyte destruction and reticuloendothelial proliferation seen in the acute phase of the disease.
There are no specific diagnostic tests for the disease apart from lung biopsy, which can be performed at the time of thoracotomy or transbronchially, with the use of a flexible fibreoptic bronchoscope. Lavaged cells from the alveoli have also been obtained via the bronchoscope; in persons with fibrosing alveolitis a high proportion of these cells are neutrophils, and after corticosteroid treatment the proportion decreases. The progress of the disease can be followed by examination of these washings as well as by lung scanning with gallium-67 citrate. Newer methods of treatment using combinations of corticosteroids and immunosuppressant drugs are being evaluated and are initially proving to be successful.