Spring is very welcome this year with an abundance of daffodils and the easing of restrictions lightening everyone’s spirits. This comes after yet another challenging period of lockdown which has again impacted us all in very many different ways. Fortunately, we have been able to continue with the analysis of all the samples we have received for the ‘Genetic and Cytogenetic project’ and our expectations remain on-course for submissions for peer-review publications of the outcomes of parts of this study through the course of this year.

CHRC is committed to building capacity and training our future scientists. As part of this, I am delighted to report the progress our doctoral research students are making with their respective research projects and, in their own personal development. A snapshot of their achievements includes George Collett’s paper titled ‘The psychological consequences of (perceived) ionizing radiation exposure: a review on its role in radiation-induced cognitive dysfunction’ is now published and available through our website (www.chrc4veterans.uk/articles/peer-reviewed-articles). 

Isabella Bastiani received the US Radiation Research Society Scholars-In-Training poster award for Outstanding Achievement with her work titled ‘Cytogenetic effects of a mixed radiotherapy treatment’. Jade Stephens won the online poster award for the UK Association for Radiation Research providing her with a bursary and the opportunity to present her research ‘A systematic review of evidence for the trans/intergenerational effects of parental pre-conceptual exposure to ionising radiation: Human evidence’ as an oral presentation at the upcoming meeting ARR 2021. These are highly competitive awards and excellent achievements. 

Others of note include Amy Prescott’s bursary award to present her work at the British Society of Gerontology ‘Resisting the negative stereotypes of ageing: How Britain’s nuclear test veterans try to maintain health and wellbeing in older age’. Similarly, George Collett also received a bursary to attend the same conference and present his research examining ‘Health Perceptions in British Nuclear Test Veterans’, while Justin Dankwa received a poster prize at Brunel Universities, College of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences post-graduate Conference with his research ‘The impact of radiation exposure on neuronal cytotoxicity, ageing and transcription’. You can see more details of all our projects, their progress and how they relate to each other by reading our 3rd Annual Report (https://chrc4veterans.uk/wpcontent/uploads/2020/12/CHRC-3rd-Annual-Report.pdf) and, a reminder that all publications arising from all work will be shared after completion of the peer-review publication process. 

In this edition of Exposure, we continue our series of articles which encompass ‘Radiation and Health’ with Part 2 of ‘Ionising Radiation and Cancer’. In Part 1 (published in Exposure December 2020) we introduced the common causes of this medical condition and discussed the possible mechanisms that have been proposed by scientists for carcinogenesis. 

In Part 2 we discuss the findings of researchers who have investigated the occurrence of radiation-induced cancers in defined groups of people using a science called radiation epidemiology. We present the evidence for an association between ionising radiation and specific types of cancer known as radiogenic cancers and whether it can be proven that individual cases of cancer were caused by radiation.

I would like to finish by highlighting our ‘Basic Information’ series which are available as either flip-books or interactive versions. Both are available through our Knowledge Hub page on our website www.chrc4veterans.uk and also available to order as hard copies. Thank you again to all our volunteers who have contributed to all of our projects. CHRC staff are contactable via email at CHRC@brunel.ac.uk. During this period there may be a delay in replying. But please get in touch if you have any queries and please all keep well.

Dr Rhona Anderson, Director, CHRC