Washington, June 20 : Exposure to low doses of radiation can actually cure a wide variety of ailments, suggests a University of Missouri scientist.
It is well known that exposure to radiation is dangerous and high doses can certainly promote development of cancer.
However, Don Luckey, an emeritus professor of the University of Missouri insists that a short-term controlled exposure to a low dose of radiation can actually be good for our health.
He said that as with many nutritional elements, such as vitamins and trace metals it is possible to become deficient in radiation.
A radiation deficiency is seen in a variety of species, including rats and mice; the evidence for a radiation deficiency in humans is compelling," he added.
Evidence suggests that low dose exposure increases the number and activity of the immune system's white blood cells, boosts cytocrine and enzyme activity, and increases antibody production and so reduces the incidence of infection, assists in wound healing, and protects from exposure to high doses of radiation.
In the first part of the twentieth century health practitioners began to experiment widely with samples of radioactive materials. Then, exposure to radiation, rather than being seen as hazardous, was considered a panacea for a wide variety of ailments from arthritis to consumption.
The discovery of antibiotics and the rapid advent of the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the fact that it became apparent that exposure to high doses of radiation could be lethal led to the demise of this "alternative" approach to health.
Luckey said that more than 3000 scientific papers in the research literature suggest low doses of radiation as being beneficial in human health.
A study led Luckey has also shown that radiation exposure can minimize infectious disease, reduce the incidence of cancer in the young, and substantially increase average lifespan.
Luckey said that represents good evidence that we live with a partial radiation deficiency and that greater exposure to radiation would improve our health.
"It is unfortunate that most literature of radiobiology involves fear and regulations about the minimum possible exposure with no regard for radiation as a beneficial agent," said Luckey.
"Those who believe the Linear No Threshold (LNT) dogma have no concept about any benefits from ionizing radiation. Many radiobiologists get paid to protect us from negligible amounts of ionizing radiation. Our major concern is health," he added.
The report appears in the Inderscience publication the International Journal of Low Radiation,