10 Aug Study Shows Immune System Impacts for Healthcare Workers Exposed to Chronic Low Doses of Ionizing Radiation
Your immune system is worth protecting, and it’s not just under your apron.
We know radiation affects our immune system. With a simple search you can find hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing a wide variety of impacts.
For our healthcare workers who are exposed to chronic low doses the studies are small and the depth of our knowledge is limited.
The below study from the Department of Immunology at Firat University is one of many showing immune system impacts after chronic exposure to low-dose ionizing radiation. The biological significance of these changes are unclear, but they highlight the importance of the safety culture that has been built around radiation protection.
With the added life stress of COVID-19 make sure you are continuing to practice TIME-DISTANCE-SHIELDING to reduce the oxidative stress that IR exposure is putting on your body and immune system.
Always face the radiation source when the imaging machine is on, especially for those that only wear front protective aprons. Protect as much of your exposed body as possible including thyroid, eyes and head. Be extremely careful using steep angulations as dose rates rise rapidly, and don’t forget to use shielding.
Ahmet Godekmerdan, Mehmet Ozden,Ahmet Ayar, M. Ferit Gursu, Ahmet Tevfik Ozan, Selami Serhatlioglu
Diminished cellular and humoral immunity in workers occupationally exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation
It has been reported that subgroups of T-lymphocytes are affected at different levels and different cell groups of immune system give different responses in individuals exposed to long-term ionizing radiation. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of occupational exposure to low levels of ionizing radiation in selected indices of cellular and humoral immunity in radiology workers.
Level of subgroups of peripheral blood lymphocytes, complements (C3, C4), and total immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM) were analyzed in 50 radiology workers occupationally exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation and 35 age-matched healthy controls.
CD4+ T lymphocyte (T-helper) levels were determined as significantly low in radiology workers exposed to ionizing radiation compared with controls (p <0.05). There were no statistically significant differences in groups in terms of other subgroups of lymphocytes (p >0.05). In addition, levels of serum total IgG, IgA, IgM, C3, and C4 were determined as significantly lower in workers exposed to ionizing radiation compared with controls (p <0.001). Total IgA and IgM levels in radiology workers who were smokers were determined as significantly lower compared with non-smoking radiology workers (p >0.05).
Levels of CD4+ T lymphocytes and humoral immune response (total immunoglobulins and complements) were determined as weaker in workers exposed to low levels of ionizing radiation compared with controls, indicating the importance of taking appropriate measures to protect radiology workers from exposure to ionizing radiation and for these workers to avoid smoking. Further studies are needed for determining the appropriateness of periodic check-ups of immune functions and the most efficient and cost-effective ways of monitoring immune functions in radiology workers for detecting early changes in the immune system.