09 March 2011

In Chernobyl, 60 Year Old Men Appear "Not a Day Over 30"

18March2011 Brian Wang has more on this story
"Radiation is good for you," one of them tells me. "Every year I get younger," says another. And another: "I work here so when I come home glowing my wife will think I'm a god."

A particularly hearty-looking man who works as a janitor asks me, "How old do you think I am?"

"Sixty," he answers himself....he looks not a day past 30. _Outside
As of January of this year, Chernobyl is now open to tourism. Over most of what is now the Chernobyl wildlife haven, radiation levels have returned near normal. The wild animal population is thriving, and the people there do not seem to be doing so badly themselves. Particularly so long as they have an ample supply of homemade vodka.

Residents of Chernobyl are not the only ones who claim health benefits from low dose exposure to ionizing radiation. Skim through the research regarding "radiation hormesis" referenced here and here, and you may begin to develop a bit of healthy skepticism toward the "zero tolerance policy" of modern environmental protection law toward low level radiation.

More on hormesis:
Hormesis is the term used to describe biological phenomena that are often adverse or detrimental but become beneficial when applied at low levels. The concept of biological hormesis is as important as that of homeostasis for the survival of the organism. The basic biological trait is the organism�s ability to resist and adapt appropriately to both internal and external stresses, and the hallmark of aging is the organism�s inability to withstand stress. The hormetic phenomenon in aging is characterized as beneficial responses to stress through the physiological adaptations, as exemplified in lifespan extension by irradiation and calorie restriction. Thus, hormesis in aging is the biological adaptive function to resist or blunt the age-related deleteriousness. Such a remarkable biological hormetic effect was shown experimentally by exposing mice to a low dose of gamma irradiation, which extended the lifespan of mice rather than shortening by turmorigenesis. The plausible explanation on this interesting radiation hormesis is that the irradiated mice were able to resist better, because the mild radiation itself is the most effective factor in conditioning for the activation of adaptation. In response to stress, an organism is expected to go through three distinct phases: alarm reaction, resistance phase, and exhaustion phase. According this schema, the adaptability can be developed during the resistance period. This notion is in line with the evolutionary view on the survival for the fittest theory, for which the only possible way to attain the survivability is through the organism�s metabolic and defensive adaptation to deleterious stress. _InnoVita
More on hormesis and ageing from an abstract in Ageing Research Reviews:
Hormesis in aging is represented by mild stress-induced stimulation of protective mechanisms in cells and organisms resulting in biologically beneficial effects. Single or multiple exposure to low doses of otherwise harmful agents, such as irradiation, food limitation, heat stress, hypergravity, reactive oxygen species and other free radicals have a variety of anti-aging and longevity-extending hormetic effects. Detailed molecular mechanisms that bring about the hormetic effects are being increasingly understood, and comprise a cascade of stress response and other pathways of maintenance and repair. Although the extent of immediate hormetic effects after exposure to a particular stress may only be moderate, the chain of events following initial hormesis leads to biologically amplified effects that are much larger, synergistic and pleiotropic. A consequence of hormetic amplification is an increase in the homeodynamic space of a living system in terms of increased defence capacity and reduced load of damaged macromolecules. Hormetic strengthening of the homeodynamic space provides wider margins for metabolic fluctuation, stress tolerance, adaptation and survival. Hormesis thus counter-balances the progressive shrinkage of the homeodynamic space, which is the ultimate cause of aging, diseases and death. Healthy aging may be achieved by hormesis through mild and periodic, but not severe or chronic, physical and mental challenges, and by the use of nutritional hormesis incorporating mild stress-inducing molecules called hormetins. The established scientific foundations of hormesis are ready to pave the way for new and effective approaches in aging research and intervention. _ARR

How much is too much, when it comes to radiation? That is difficult to say, at lower doses. Certainly if it is possible to build resistance against radiation and other sources of normal wear and tear, wouldn't most people want to do so?
A dangerous dose is hard to pin down. Worldwide, for most people, those daily microrems add up to about 360 millirems per year. Scientists agree that humans can safely handle 1,000 a year. Astronauts on the International Space Station receive 18,000 millirems of cosmic radiation over six months—but it's once in a lifetime, so it's seen as an acceptable, voluntary risk. But edge that up to 30,000 millirems and you're looking at what caused increased cancer rates among the blast survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And yet animals can handle even more than this: large mammals and birds are generally safe with 36,000 per year, small ones with even higher doses, and reptiles with higher still. The more complex the animal, the more sensitive it is. _Outside
Of course, animals spend more time outside under the ionizing radiation of the sun, than most modern humans. Perhaps the natural radiation protection exhibited by animals is a manifestation of hormesis?

As long as government-sanctioned science shies away from the topic of "safe levels of low level radiation," we may find it difficult to learn about this topic. With government becoming the largest financier of scientific research, human science is falling into something of a rut. Government bureaucracies are by nature conservative and self-serving. Naturally the science which such bureaucracies are willing to finance and publish, will be the kind of science which justifies the existence and mission of such bureaucracies. They're the government. They're here to help you. Or else.

How will we all survive after the house of cards crashes down? If there is life after a Chernobyl apocalypse, perhaps there could even be life after mega-government breakdown? It may be time for individuals to begin planning for interesting times ahead.

See you in Chernobyl?

Labels: , ,

Bookmark and Share


Blogger neil craig said...

A collection of links I have made about radiation hormesis http://a-place-to-stand.blogspot.com/2010/03/low-level-radiation-evidence-that-it-is.html

There has never been any evidence for the official LNT theory. It was the first major "scientific consesnsus" imposed by bureaucrats and has cost the human race decades of reliable inexpensive power. Had the trend of reactor building not been stopped humanity would by now habe roughly 2.4 times as much electricity. Electricity supply is closely related to GNP.

Wednesday, 09 March, 2011  

Post a Comment

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts