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J Nucl Med. 2006; 47 (Supplement 1):242P
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Poster Presentations - Educational Exhibits

Educational Exhibits Track

Determining the chronic biological health effects of depleted uranium among civilian populations

Omar Ha-Redeye1

1 Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada


Purpose: Though a great body of information exists concerning Depleted Uranium (DU), there remains significant debate about its potential health effects. Most of the information available discounting the likelihood of any significant effects resulting in the use of DU in a wartime setting is based on human epidemiological studies of uranium millers/miners and workers in nuclear weapons and fuel workers between 1940-1970. However, a newer body of literature has been developed positively demonstrating the adverse effects of DU from the chromosomal level to fetal development in in-vivo and in-vitro studies. Techniques currently exist to estimate the levels of DU in both the environment and the patient. Though urine samples have traditionally been used, they may prove inaccurate as DU stores in long-term deposits in the bones. Since the detrimental effects of DU in the bones has now been well established, the use of gamma scintillation bone scans may prove most effective in identifying early bone lesions. Treatment and suppression for patients suspected of DU exposure is also rapidly developing. The means to identify, estimate, and respond to such incidents is becoming increasingly important as the proliferation of DU weapons expands beyond Western nations. Objectives: To compare the various means of DU detection and determine the effectiveness of {lambda} scintillation in detecting early bone lesions To verify the biological effects of DU in human subjects To evaluate the usefulness of various therapies proposed by literature Methods: Instrumentation: Urine samples HpGe solid state detectors Overly sensitive NaI {lambda} detectors with thick crystals Rapid detection of fragments or shards with {lambda}-ray spectrometry Oak bark, sapwood sampling Proposed Therapy: {lambda} scintillation detection of osseous metastases Phenyl Acetate (Phenyl Fatty Acid) chemoprevention through p21RAS protein pathway Chelating agents; Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, EHBP, Tiron, DTPA Fauna uptake suppression with Ca2+ competitive depression Results: The study was interrupted by the pending conflict in Iraq, which precludes the direct, continued, and uninterrupted access to civilian populations in southern Iraq. The continued conflict introduces additional DU materials, complicating estimations of DU toxicity. Conclusions: Reports dismissing the adverse effects of DU are based on erroneous assumptions and older literature. Substantial evidence currently support concerns over DU toxicity and their use in military settings. These concerns necessitate longitudinal studies that can conclusively determine their epidemiological effects in human populations when political circumstances allow it.

Copyright © 2006 by the Society of Nuclear Medicine.