Injuries sustained during a nuclear event are the result of blast, heat, and radiation effects. Understanding the nature and severity of the combined effects on the human body is a critical aspect of predicting casualties as well as supporting medical planning. The challenge is to develop mathematical models that describe the health effects from prompt or protracted neutron and gamma exposure while also describing the effects of combined injuries sustained in blast and thermal environments. A health effects model that predicts the medical and performance consequences from radiation and combined injuries would be a valuable tool for the medical community.
The ARA Human Survivability research team developed high-fidelity physiological models within the Health Effects from Nuclear and Radiological Environments (HENRE) modeling suite; these models are capable of simulating human response to prompt gamma and neutron radiation along with the impact of protracted radiation doses. The HENRE modeling suite accounts for the reduced effect of radiation at lower dose rates and the increased effect of combined injuries that might occur. The research team has modeled both the probability of mortality as well as the time to mortality, and used clinically relevant parameters (e.g. hematopoietic cell counts over time and cell loss in the gut mucosa) to better understand performance decrement.