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Radiation Dose and Stochastic Risk From Exposure to Medical ImagingStochastic Risk From Exposure to Radiation

Nicholas Dainiak, MD
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; and Yale New Haven Health - Bridgeport Hospital.

Correspondence to: Nicholas Dainiak, MD, PO Box 280, Marion, CT 06444; e-mail: NickDainMD@aol.com


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST that no potential conflicts of interest exist with any companies/organizations whose products or services may be discussed in this article.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;144(5):1431-1433. doi:10.1378/chest.13-1064
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The inscription on a medal given to me on behalf of the Cellular and Molecular Toxicology Division of Japan’s National Institutes of Health Sciences 3 weeks before the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States quotes Paracelsus (1493-1541): “All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing a poison.” Our ability to harness energy from radionuclides has resulted in enormous benefits, ranging from the generation of electrical power to the development of three-dimensional images of an organ. And yet these remarkable technologies have the potential for poisonous consequences. Exposure to a radiation dose of sufficient quantity leads to predictable cellular toxicities (ie, deterministic effects) such as apoptosis and necrosis, as well as to random events in cells that predispose to genetic mutations and malignant transformation (ie, stochastic events).

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