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You are here:  HOME  >  What's New  >  Researchers share latest radiation-effects findings with military medical community

New handbook guides
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Dept. of Homeland Security
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Researchers share latest
radiation-effects findings
with military medical community

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Researchers share latest radiation-effects findings with military medical community


ANS officials tour AFRRI's research reactor

Photo: D. Morse (AFRRI)

During the week-long Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation Scientific Course that began July 28, 2008, Course Director Col L. Andrew Huff, USAF, MC, SFS, makes a point to the more than 60 attendees about the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute's Biodosimetry Assessment Tool software program that enables the collection of patient data promptly after a radiation incident. That data can be used by health care professionals to make radiation exposure level assessments used in treatment decisions

Bethesda, Md., August 6, 2008—Internationally recognized radiobiology experts shared their latest research findings with an audience of more than 60 at the Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute (AFRRI) annual Medical Effects of Ionizing Radiation (MEIR) Scientific Course conducted this year from July 28 through August 1 in Bethesda, Maryland.

"This five-day course focuses on the latest research about the medical effects of ionizing radiation to help clinicians, health physicists, and medical planners preserve troop health in the face of radiological/nuclear terrorism or warfare," said MEIR Course Director Col L. Andrew Huff, USAF, MC, SFS.

The 23 presenters were from 13 civilian and federal U.S. academic, research, and emergency response organizations as well as from the World Health Organization’s Radiation Emergency Medical Preparedness and Assistance Network and from the joint Japan-U.S. Radiation Effects Research Foundation. Attendees represented the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Public Health Service as well as the Canadian and the United Kingdom military organizations.

Speakers addressed topics that included assessments of the current worldwide nuclear and radiological threat, emergency response practices, medical treatment protocols, and findings from long-term studies of radiation exposures including those in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and Chernobyl in 1986. Research updates included radiation dose assessment methods, development of radioprotectants, radiation countermeasure development strategies, and cancer risk in radiation-exposed populations.

In addition to this 5-day course, AFRRI conducts the standard 2.5-day MEIR Course in 12 to 18 venues each year primarily for military medical providers at military bases in the United States and abroad. "These postgraduate-level training courses," said Huff, "enhance Department of Defense preparedness for nuclear/radiological disaster both for maintaining military readiness and assisting when needed in support of civilian authorities in a federal response."

AFRRI, located on the grounds of the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, is a Department of Defense research laboratory and a component of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences under the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs.