Posts tagged radiation

Odd request but there was a time when radium was in everything. Was it used much in snake oil type stuff? — Asked by poisondartwolf

Very very yes. I actually have tons on that that apparently I haven’t posted (or at least haven’t tagged - I know I’ve had this stuff for a LONG time and I wasn’t great at tagging at first), but I have a bit on radiation…just not much on radium, itself, outside of radium toothpaste.

Have a few minutes? Or an hour? Sawbones is great, funny, and has episodes on both patent medicines and quack-a-rific radiation therapy (mostly involving radium). Now that I know I haven’t posted much on the subject, I’m definitely gonna get back to that.

biomedicalephemera:

Suddenly, Virgil got a sinking feeling that not only was Mister Herman in love only with his dear sister, rather than the both of them, but desired to consume yet another lobe of his lung.
[source]

biomedicalephemera:

Suddenly, Virgil got a sinking feeling that not only was Mister Herman in love only with his dear sister, rather than the both of them, but desired to consume yet another lobe of his lung.

[source]

Scarring and pigmentation caused by prolonged x-ray exposure during treatment of tuberculous glands.
Burns caused by long-term radiation exposure can be extensive and expand even after the source of radiation is removed.
Most patients receiving radiotherapy for cancer or other conditions end up with some degree of radiation dermatitis (radiodermatitis), which usually manifests itself as intense erythema (redness) of the dermis. At more extreme or prolonged doses, this can result in severe induration (hardening) of the skin after the fact, dry desquamation (skin sloughing without open wounds underneath), and bursting of surface blood vessels.
Sites of ionizing radiation burns have a greatly increased risk of radiation-induced cancers in subsequent years.
Diseases of the Skin. James H. Sequiera, 1919.

Scarring and pigmentation caused by prolonged x-ray exposure during treatment of tuberculous glands.

Burns caused by long-term radiation exposure can be extensive and expand even after the source of radiation is removed.

Most patients receiving radiotherapy for cancer or other conditions end up with some degree of radiation dermatitis (radiodermatitis), which usually manifests itself as intense erythema (redness) of the dermis. At more extreme or prolonged doses, this can result in severe induration (hardening) of the skin after the fact, dry desquamation (skin sloughing without open wounds underneath), and bursting of surface blood vessels.

Sites of ionizing radiation burns have a greatly increased risk of radiation-induced cancers in subsequent years.

Diseases of the Skin. James H. Sequiera, 1919.

biomedicalephemera:

This crazy radioactive toothpaste was made at the end of WWII, through to about 1950 or so.  Auergesellschaft (a company that produced thorium for gas mantles and the German war effort) wanted to expand into the cosmetics and hygiene industry, and the Atomic Age was upon them. They reasoned:

 Radium had already been used in toothpaste (Radiogen), why not use thorium instead? Auer had the patent, and with the thorium in hand they were ready to hit the ground running. They even formulated the following potential advertisement: “Use toothpaste with thorium! Have sparkling, brilliant teeth—radioactive brilliance!”

On the toothpaste tube:

What Does Doramad Do?

Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases. It gently polishes the dental enamel so it turns white and shiny. Prevents dental calculus. Wonderful lather and a new, pleasant, mild and refreshing taste. Can be applied sparingly.

X-Ray Dermatitis
Not to say that people didn’t realize that radiation could be dangerous, it just wasn’t widely thought to be all that dangerous, and it wasn’t really publicized how easily it could cause injury.
This patient is showing moist desquamation, which is fairly common in incidents of acute mid-level radiation exposure. Cell damage is pretty deep in injuries like this, and there’s usually some degree of radiation fibrosis when the site heals.
A Treatise on Diseases of the Skin for Advanced Students and Practitioners. Henry W. Stelwagon, 1923.

X-Ray Dermatitis

Not to say that people didn’t realize that radiation could be dangerous, it just wasn’t widely thought to be all that dangerous, and it wasn’t really publicized how easily it could cause injury.

This patient is showing moist desquamation, which is fairly common in incidents of acute mid-level radiation exposure. Cell damage is pretty deep in injuries like this, and there’s usually some degree of radiation fibrosis when the site heals.

A Treatise on Diseases of the Skin for Advanced Students and Practitioners. Henry W. Stelwagon, 1923.

Do you know of any good books on the medical effects of ionizing radiation? I have a bit of a morbid obsession with nuclear accidents like those at Chernobyl and Fukashima and would like to hear any suggestions you might have. — Asked by vergiliusmaro

Nnnoooo…not off the top of my head, at least…I mean, almost everything I have thinks shit like this is just the best idea ever:

I actually find the subject really interesting on a cellular and molecular level, but I don’t know of any good *books* on it that aren’t incredibly focused on “Nuclear power is evil blah blah blah not ionizing radiation things blah”. 

For the general scientific side of things (including accident dynamics), I’ve always found the IAEA Publications website helpful. For more radiation/medicine-based stuff, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation and Radiation Emergency Medical Management are worth checking out. REMM has a lot of really good images and explanations if you like the weird medical effects radiation has.

If you’re into radiological accidents, shit like the THERAC-25, Clinic of Zaragoza, and the poorly-reported Costa Rica incident are really interesting. THERAC-25 in particular managed to freak me out when I first read about it a while back. The Goiânia Incident is a good example of why looting old medical clinics is probably a bad idea, no matter how much scrap metal might be in them. 

Campbell’s X-Ray and High Frequency Apparatus is the Standard of the World
I’ll post some of their more “interesting” devices later, I just love the design of the catalogue cover. Note the x-ray tube at the top and the “high-frequency” (“violet ray”) tube at the bottom.
ETA: Feel free to delete text if you reblog.

Campbell’s X-Ray and High Frequency Apparatus is the Standard of the World

I’ll post some of their more “interesting” devices later, I just love the design of the catalogue cover. Note the x-ray tube at the top and the “high-frequency” (“violet ray”) tube at the bottom.

ETA: Feel free to delete text if you reblog.

Combustio (X-Rays)
This patient had been exposed to a single long exposure of x-ray radiation in the thought that it would help a chronic swelling of his thigh. Over the course of the hours and days following the exposure, the skin became brown, then red, then white, and eventually ulcerated. There was also noticeable hardening of the skin and hypodermis in the most burned sections.
The brown areas shown are the least affected. The ulcers cleared in short order, with the application of dusting powder. The hardened skin and sub-dermal tissues regained its normal pliability within several weeks.
Iconograms: A Collection of Colored Plates Illustrating Interesting Surgical Conditions. Prof. Bockenheimer, 1913.

Combustio (X-Rays)

This patient had been exposed to a single long exposure of x-ray radiation in the thought that it would help a chronic swelling of his thigh. Over the course of the hours and days following the exposure, the skin became brown, then red, then white, and eventually ulcerated. There was also noticeable hardening of the skin and hypodermis in the most burned sections.

The brown areas shown are the least affected. The ulcers cleared in short order, with the application of dusting powder. The hardened skin and sub-dermal tissues regained its normal pliability within several weeks.

Iconograms: A Collection of Colored Plates Illustrating Interesting Surgical Conditions. Prof. Bockenheimer, 1913.

Radiation burn to the hand
Note the necrotic dermatitis present in this burn. This signifies either an extremely high one-time dose, or continued exposure to a moderate dose of gamma radiation. Even with a one-time exposure to the radiation, necrosis often does not set in until 2-3 weeks after the initial burn develops. 
A Text-Book of First Aid and Emergency Treatment. A. C. Burnham, 1917.

Radiation burn to the hand

Note the necrotic dermatitis present in this burn. This signifies either an extremely high one-time dose, or continued exposure to a moderate dose of gamma radiation. Even with a one-time exposure to the radiation, necrosis often does not set in until 2-3 weeks after the initial burn develops. 

A Text-Book of First Aid and Emergency Treatment. A. C. Burnham, 1917.

Cataract resultant of Nagasaki atomic bomb
One of the effects of radiation exposure over 1 Gy is an increased incidence of cataract formation in the years following exposure. When exposure reaches 5-6 Gy, there’s a spike in cataract cases within the following two years.
Ionizing radiation does the majority of its damage to dividing cells. Because the cells of the eye divide around the periphery (outer border) and move inwards toward the center of the lens as they replace old cells, the initial damage from radiation is not concentrated in one place, and lens opacity does not immediately occur.

Cataract resultant of Nagasaki atomic bomb

One of the effects of radiation exposure over 1 Gy is an increased incidence of cataract formation in the years following exposure. When exposure reaches 5-6 Gy, there’s a spike in cataract cases within the following two years.

Ionizing radiation does the majority of its damage to dividing cells. Because the cells of the eye divide around the periphery (outer border) and move inwards toward the center of the lens as they replace old cells, the initial damage from radiation is not concentrated in one place, and lens opacity does not immediately occur.

Acute radiation syndrome in Hiroshima man
Acute radiation syndrome is the short-term (first months) effect upon the health of those exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. Depending upon the dosage of radiation received, the symptoms can vary widely, but some of the most common effects are moderate to severe leukopenia (decrease in white blood cell numbers), purpura (the purple spots under the skin caused by subdermal hemorrhage - a result of platelet destruction), hemorrhage (general hemorrhage - again, because of platelet destruction), nausea and vomiting, and epilation (hair loss).

Acute radiation syndrome in Hiroshima man

Acute radiation syndrome is the short-term (first months) effect upon the health of those exposed to high levels of ionizing radiation. Depending upon the dosage of radiation received, the symptoms can vary widely, but some of the most common effects are moderate to severe leukopenia (decrease in white blood cell numbers), purpura (the purple spots under the skin caused by subdermal hemorrhage - a result of platelet destruction), hemorrhage (general hemorrhage - again, because of platelet destruction), nausea and vomiting, and epilation (hair loss).

"A Radium Bomb" - 1935

Just a bit of a break from parasites. You can’t say you don’t appreciate the wonderful expressions of the “radium bomb” patient and nurse!

By Max Cigarettes, 1935, digitized by New York Public Library Archives.

This crazy radioactive toothpaste was made at the end of WWII, through to about 1950 or so.  Auergesellschaft (a company that produced thorium for gas mantles and the German war effort) wanted to expand into the cosmetics and hygiene industry, and the Atomic Age was upon them. They reasoned:

 Radium had already been used in toothpaste (Radiogen), why not use thorium instead? Auer had the patent, and with the thorium in hand they were ready to hit the ground running. They even formulated the following potential advertisement: “Use toothpaste with thorium! Have sparkling, brilliant teeth—radioactive brilliance!”

On the toothpaste tube:

What Does Doramad Do?

Its radioactive radiation increases the defenses of teeth and gums. The cells are loaded with new life energy, the bacteria are hindered in their destroying effect. This explains the excellent prophylaxis and healing process with gingival diseases. It gently polishes the dental enamel so it turns white and shiny. Prevents dental calculus. Wonderful lather and a new, pleasant, mild and refreshing taste. Can be applied sparingly.

1945. Burns from Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. The blast left impressions of the fabric the person was wearing at the time. 

1945. Burns from Hiroshima atomic bomb blast. The blast left impressions of the fabric the person was wearing at the time.