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ARA Assesses Radiation Health Effects

March 2011

ARA is an industry leader in assessing the health effects of WMD or accidental releases of radioactive or other hazardous material.  We develop predictive modeling and analysis tools for nuclear radiation emergency response and planning. 

ARA utilizes state-of-the-art source-term models of WMD or accidental releases of radioactive or other hazardous materials along with real-time weather data to create realistic plume models and predict airborne and deposited hazard contours.  ARA researchers are leaders in the field of understanding the health effects of exposure to radiation or other hazards.  We have developed models to predict the inhalation of radioactive material and the effect of acute and protracted exposure to radiation.  ARA can determine the impact on health from radiation exposure and the resulting side-effects with a variety tools:

Chicago Census
Number of males under 16 per census blocks in Chicago
Ultrasound

Population and Demographic Data:  We use industry leading GIS tools to visualize and map US census population and demographic data. We are able to overlay hazard areas and populations to develop predictions of health effects within airborne or surface contaminated areas.  Work is underway to quantify the difference in health effects according to demographic factors such as age and gender and in particular to the fetus from radiation exposures. This information aids in more accurately predicting health effects within the population, identifying vulnerable populations, and potential interventions.

D. Stricklin, T. Pellmar, and K. Millage, Human Variability in Acute Radiation Response (Poster Presentation), Society of Toxicology meeting, 2011.

MPPD

Multiple Path Particle Dosimetry model (MPPD):  ARA has particular expertise in understanding respiratory mechanics and have developed models to predict inhalability of particles and have developed a model to predict the internal deposition of particles and vapor.  The Multiple Path Particle Dosimetry (MPPD) tool predicts the deposition location and accumulation of particulates inhaled into the respiratory tract; this information can be used to improve estimates of internal contamination from airborne radionuclides, as well as other airborne hazards.  MPPD can be downloaded from ARA’s website (insert link).  We have used MPPD in the development of a model of radioactive cesium (Cs-137) uptake; the model describes the distribution of Cs-137 in the body, calculates the acute and committed dose delivered, and estimates the efficacy of Prussian Blue in accelerating the removal of Cs-137 from body.

Millage, K., Bergman, J., Asgharian, B., McClellan, G., “A Review of Inhalability Fraction Models: Discussion and Recommendations,” Inhalation Toxicology, Vol. 22, No. 2 , Pages 151-159

Anjilvel, S. and Asgharian, B. (1995). A multiple-path model of particle deposition in the rat lung. Fundam. Appl. Toxicol. 28, 41-50

Chromosome Condensation

ARA also has expertise in biodosimetry and we have proposed an automated image analysis of the existing cytogenetic analysis used to biologically assess radiation exposure to determine risk to health effects and treatment requirements.  These methods include the use of the dicentric gold standard assay and PCC assay which could allow for reliable radiation dose assessment even in partial body exposures.  Automation of the technique would allow practical application in triage, mass casualty, and population monitoring.

C. Lindholm, D. Stricklin, A. Jaworska, et al. Premature chromosome condensation (PCC) assay for dose assessments in mass casualty accidents. Radiation Research, 173:71-78, 2010.

ARA developed or maintains several hazard assessment and emergency response software tools currently utilized throughout the military and civilian community for radiological or nuclear accident and WMD event planning.  These tools include the Radiation Induced Performance Decrement (RIPD), the medical Nuclear Biological and Chemical Casualty and Resource Estimation Support Tool (NBC CREST) and the Consolidated Human Response Nuclear Effects Model (CHRNEM).

Waller, E., Millage, K., Blakely, W., Ross, J., Mercier, J., Sandgren, D., Levine, I., Dickerson, W., Nemhauser, J., Nasstrom, J., Sugiyama, G., Homann, S., Buddemeier, B., Curling, C., Disraelly, D., “Overview of Hazard Assessment and Emergency Planning Software of Use to RN First Responders,”, Health Physics Journal, August, 2009.

Space Radiation Environment
Space Radiation Environment

Radiation Induced Performance Decrement (RIPD):  ARA researchers assisted NASA in analyzing the health effects of potential ionizing radiation exposure for astronauts during lunar or Mars missions. ARA applied the Radiation-Induced Performance Decrement (RIPD) code to model the progression of acute radiation sickness and predict the resulting impaired performance for crew members receiving unexpected radiation doses from large solar events. The RIPD code is applicable to both sudden, short-term exposures and protracted exposures occurring over a few hours or days. These types of exposures affected firemen and other workers at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident and would also occur for many people in the aftermath of an urban nuclear detonation. 

S. Hu, M.Y. Kim, G.E. McClellan, and F.A. Cucinotta, Modeling the Acute Health Effects of Astronauts from Exposure to Large Solar Particle Events, Health Physics, 96:465-476, 2009.

Consolidated Human Response Nuclear Effects Model (CHRNEM):  A tool that allows a user to calculate the combined effects of radiation with blast overpressure and/or thermal burns on soldier performance decrement.  CHRNEM can be used as a stand-alone tool or within NBC CREST, as described below

Nuclear  Biological  Chemical Casualty and Resource Estimation Support Tool (NBC CREST): The medical NBC CREST performs two key functions: casualty estimation for an NBC scenario and analysis of resource allocation necessary to effectively treat those casualties. The types of resources estimated include bed usage, equipment, blood and other material, personnel by occupational specialty, transports, and evacuation resources.

3-D MCNP Model of New York City

Monte Carlo N-Particle (MCNP):  ARA uses this radiation transport code to model the effect that the terrain can have on the propagation radiation.  Extensive work has been done to re-create US cities as high-fidelity models from which radiation shielding estimates are calculated.  We have developed models to estimate radiation exposure from radioactive material deposited on surfaces and protection levels that different types of building structures offer.

J. Bergman, K. Millage, and J. Madrigal, Using Urban Terrain Data for Monte Carlo Radiation Transport Calculations (Poster Abstract), [Supplement to] Health Physics, 99:S7, 2010.