[ RadSafe ] RE: Comment to "hormesis"

Bjorn Cedervall bcradsafers at hotmail.com
Sat Dec 15 22:31:20 CST 2007

Hormesis is a mix of many different phenomena. Therefore the concept causes confusion unless each phenomenon is analyzed and interpreted separately: adaptive response (priming, by-stander effects, genomic instability, induction of radical scavengers & repair enzymes etc), stress mechanisms, evolution of evolvability (including tuning of mutation rates), natural (statistical) selection against those least fit, the individual vs. the gene pool of the same species etc, interpretation of what is good/bad for an individual vs. the corresponding population and so on. This boils down to:
The concept "hormesis" gives no help in the understanding of radiation biology and all its subtopics can be discussed under headings such as those just mentioned (part of evolutionary biology). It was perhaps OK to lump all the different biological phenomena ("radiation is beneficial"...) 30 to 70 years ago but today when we know so much more about radiobiological mechanisms we do not have any use for that word.
Hormesis is often referred to in a superficial way like "radiation is good for you" which basically only can hurt the nuclear industry because the business may be perceived as being driven by narrow minded cynical risk takers which, as most of us know, is far from the dominating attitude.
My personal ideas only,
Bjorn Cedervall   bcradsafers at hotmail.com
PhD, Associate Professor (Medical Radiation Biology, Karolinska Institutet)
MSc (Theoretical Chemistry: Nuclear chemistry & biochemistry, Royal Institute of Technology)
Radiology specialist (Nuclear power safety) - have now been in this field for 24 years.
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