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Babbocat

Radio therapy (with isotope) and spontaneous gene mutation - any connection

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Hi all,

I wonder what your all think about all the following situation. We have a son who was born with a de novo (spontaneous) mutation for DMD (Duchenne's muscular dystrophy). There is no family history of this disease on either side, plus my wife was tested and came out negative as a carrier.

Unfortunately a week/two weeks after conception, my wife ended up visiting her mother in hospital, she was getting a cancerous lump in her leg removed and part of the treatment was with a radioactive isotope. On the first visit (I wasn't there), the specialist told her and my father in law of the precautions, one of which is if you are possibly pregnant then there should be no contact with her mother in the room. So at that point although we had only had intercourse 10 days or so before my wife told him about it and she indeed had no contact; according to my father in law the gentleman then said she basically shouldn't hang around the hospital period. On the second day I saw my wife and saw how she wouldn't walk into her mother's room, I think she talked to her through a crack in the door. 

So the proper precautions were taken. But even then imagine someone was in the same lift as my wife and was carrying a radioactive implant? Or someone with an implant sat next to her on the bus? 

In fact, when our second child was being born, we were in hospital and a family member came to visit us who was undergoing radio therapy, and I remember my wife saying "she's just walked into a ward full of pregnant women".

I would think that if there was any kind of connection then there would be a lot more restrictions on people receiving this kind of treatment, like they would have to stay in isolation, no visitors, etc.

Anyway, do any of you think there could be a possible connection? 

 

Edited by Babbocat

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Exposure risk is dependent on the source strength, and on external factors like time, distance and shielding. A point source will have the dose drop off as 1/r^2, so distance has a strong effect, and the dose depends on the exposure time and any attenuation between you and the source.

That's why visit times can be limited, and you may be advised to not be too close to the patient.

See e.g. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/radiotherapy/internal/safety

 

Also, it's implied that a patient would not be released if they were implanted with a strong source - someone walking around poses minimal risk

http://ehs.virginia.edu/Radiation-Safety-Your-Patient.html

"For diagnostic nuclear medicine studies (such as a bone or thyroid scan) the amount of radioactivity injected is small and such patents present no hazard to their family or to the public. Such patients are discharged immediately after the procedure.

...

Others who receive iridium-192 or cesium implants must remain in the hospital until the sources are removed."

 

 

AFAIK there's no way to trace this to a specific event. You're continually exposed to background radiation. The precautions are about minimizing risk, but it can't be eliminated. Visitors to patients undergoing treatment might visit multiple times — that's probably the main concern.

 

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Person with mass 60 kg has ~ 2100 decays of radioactive isotope of Carbon C-14 and ~ 7600 decays of Potassium K 40. Per second. It is hundred millions per day. There are apps to calculate this.

It happens inside of the body. If Carbon C-14 is part of cell-to-divide, especially part of DNA, there can happen mutation. DNA is randomly damaged or destroyed.

It is possible to limit radioactive Carbon isotope percentage in human body and therefore risk of getting mutation, and cancers this way, by changing entire farming of plants and farm animals. Plants must grow in hermetic buildings (better farm skyscrapers to limit space) and disallowed unfiltered air with CO2 to get inside. Instead use CO2 from e.g. burning fossil fuels (after proper filtration other toxic chemicals). It has almost no radioactive isotope (half-life of Carbon C-14 is ~ 5700 years). Very expensive idea.

It is unlikely that your child mutation happened due to exposure of your wife in the hospital. The more probable is exposure to e.g. cigarette smoke (it is carcinogenic), unhealthy contaminated air, carcinogenic food etc. Burning fossil fuels and release of smoke to atmosphere causes toxic chemicals (eg not fully burn byproducts with unpaired electrons) be also released and inhaled by people and farm or wild animals (which will get to humans as source of food).

Edited by Sensei

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On 1/22/2020 at 3:53 PM, swansont said:

Exposure risk is dependent on the source strength, and on external factors like time, distance and shielding. A point source will have the dose drop off as 1/r^2, so distance has a strong effect, and the dose depends on the exposure time and any attenuation between you and the source.

That's why visit times can be limited, and you may be advised to not be too close to the patient.

See e.g. https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-in-general/treatment/radiotherapy/internal/safety

 

Also, it's implied that a patient would not be released if they were implanted with a strong source - someone walking around poses minimal risk

http://ehs.virginia.edu/Radiation-Safety-Your-Patient.html

"For diagnostic nuclear medicine studies (such as a bone or thyroid scan) the amount of radioactivity injected is small and such patents present no hazard to their family or to the public. Such patients are discharged immediately after the procedure.

...

Others who receive iridium-192 or cesium implants must remain in the hospital until the sources are removed."

 

 

AFAIK there's no way to trace this to a specific event. You're continually exposed to background radiation. The precautions are about minimizing risk, but it can't be eliminated. Visitors to patients undergoing treatment might visit multiple times — that's probably the main concern.

 

Thanks Swansont. As far as I know my mother in law was injected with some kind of isotope which helped to clear up the tumour she had in her leg. My wife visited her in hospital I think about a week after we had intercourse. 

 

You say that "AFAIK there's no way to trace this to a specific event". So do you mean that even if my wife had walked into the room where her mother had this radiotherapy, there do not know if this could cause a gene mutation?

On 1/22/2020 at 10:08 PM, Sensei said:

Person with mass 60 kg has ~ 2100 decays of radioactive isotope of Carbon C-14 and ~ 7600 decays of Potassium K 40. Per second. It is hundred millions per day. There are apps to calculate this.

It happens inside of the body. If Carbon C-14 is part of cell-to-divide, especially part of DNA, there can happen mutation. DNA is randomly damaged or destroyed.

It is possible to limit radioactive Carbon isotope percentage in human body and therefore risk of getting mutation, and cancers this way, by changing entire farming of plants and farm animals. Plants must grow in hermetic buildings (better farm skyscrapers to limit space) and disallowed unfiltered air with CO2 to get inside. Instead use CO2 from e.g. burning fossil fuels (after proper filtration other toxic chemicals). It has almost no radioactive isotope (half-life of Carbon C-14 is ~ 5700 years). Very expensive idea.

It is unlikely that your child mutation happened due to exposure of your wife in the hospital. The more probable is exposure to e.g. cigarette smoke (it is carcinogenic), unhealthy contaminated air, carcinogenic food etc. Burning fossil fuels and release of smoke to atmosphere causes toxic chemicals (eg not fully burn byproducts with unpaired electrons) be also released and inhaled by people and farm or wild animals (which will get to humans as source of food).

Thanks Sensei, so if I am reading this right, really there is very little reason that this visit to the hospital could have caused the gene mutation in any way?

It is more likely then that it was just in the (our) genes, or was caused by diet, for example? I mention diet because my wife has a very strange diet, she eats lots of meat and very few vegetables, and hardly any fruit.

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40 minutes ago, Babbocat said:

Thanks Swansont. As far as I know my mother in law was injected with some kind of isotope which helped to clear up the tumour she had in her leg. My wife visited her in hospital I think about a week after we had intercourse. 

 

You say that "AFAIK there's no way to trace this to a specific event". So do you mean that even if my wife had walked into the room where her mother had this radiotherapy, there do not know if this could cause a gene mutation?

It’s a probabilistic event, and you are continually exposed to radiation in small amounts. 

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1 hour ago, Babbocat said:

Thanks Sensei, so if I am reading this right, really there is very little reason that this visit to the hospital could have caused the gene mutation in any way?

It is more likely then that it was just in the (our) genes, or was caused by diet, for example?

Pretty much. Chance of getting cancer or mutation the way you described in OP was less than winning the lottery.

1 hour ago, Babbocat said:

I mention diet because my wife has a very strange diet, she eats lots of meat and very few vegetables, and hardly any fruit.

That depends on a lot of factors.

Is she eating the cheapest meat because of low price or more expensive? What is origin country of food?

In US there are widely used GMO plants and animals. Heavy usage of pesticides and antibiotics on farms. Many things which EU prohibited a long time ago are still allowed in US. Therefor there is tension between US and EU governments, as many US agrigultural goods are not allowed to be sold in EU. These things can influence quality of food.

Other factor is method of preparation. Is she frying, grilling it often? Eat heavily fried meat? During some food preparation techniques like frying there are created carcinogenic compounds. It does not depend on whether it is meat or vegetable. e.g. over fried onion is not healthy too.

There are some vitamins which human have to get from vegetables and fruits. With too low abundance she might get illness. Did you perform blood tests?

There is needed healthy balance in the everything what we eat, drink and do in life.

 

Edited by Sensei

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On 2/20/2020 at 2:53 PM, Sensei said:

Pretty much. Chance of getting cancer or mutation the way you described in OP was less than winning the lottery.

That depends on a lot of factors.

Is she eating the cheapest meat because of low price or more expensive? What is origin country of food?

In US there are widely used GMO plants and animals. Heavy usage of pesticides and antibiotics on farms. Many things which EU prohibited a long time ago are still allowed in US. Therefor there is tension between US and EU governments, as many US agrigultural goods are not allowed to be sold in EU. These things can influence quality of food.

Other factor is method of preparation. Is she frying, grilling it often? Eat heavily fried meat? During some food preparation techniques like frying there are created carcinogenic compounds. It does not depend on whether it is meat or vegetable. e.g. over fried onion is not healthy too.

There are some vitamins which human have to get from vegetables and fruits. With too low abundance she might get illness. Did you perform blood tests?

There is needed healthy balance in the everything what we eat, drink and do in life.

 

Sorry for long delay in reply. The basic picture is that the mother-in-law had a cancerous lump in her leg. On a day in the middle of August 2013 we had intercourse, then my wife went off for a few days at the beach with her parents, then they all came back together and about a week or so later her mother went into hospital, into "nuclear medicine" had an isotope to show them the ganglia, etc. The rest as i have described it above.  My wife eats a lot of fried meat, hardly any vegetables, a lot of pulses (lentils, beans, etc.),  no fish except for lots of tuna (which for me is a no-no), drinks lots of Coca-Cola, although due to my insistence things have become more normal over the years. The meat she eats is normal quality, not necessarily cheap ever. And she doesn't eat any processed food, everything is fresh.

In 33% of cases, the disease our son has is a spontaneous mutation ("de novo"), in the other 66% it is inherited through the mother. The mutation is always on the X chromosome. Only boys really get it because if they have a mutation on their X chromosome they do not have another X to fall back on.

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