Therapy, accident and war have exposed man to radiation in large quantities during the nuclear age. Within the decade, another mode may be added: space travel.
Controlled studies of persons exposed to known doses may be the best method of determining sublethal levels that could impair astronaut performance. Therapeutically irradiated patients constitute the largest such group.
There may be a significant difference between the response thresholds of healthy and seriously ill persons, points out Clarence C. Lushbaugh, MD, PhD, of the Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies. "Sufficient data, however, would produce a conservative baseline that might be increased for normal, healthy men."
The clinical records of some 800 therapeutically and accidentally irradiated persons are being analyzed at ORINS with this idea in mind. Data from 100 ORINS patients are being supplemented by records from 32 other institutions, including Boston's Peter Bent Brigham and Houston's M. D. Anderson hospitals.