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Monday, 28 October, 2002, 12:32 GMT
Clearer picture of radiation effects
Scanner (VT grab)
The images are based on MRI and CT scans
Virtual images are giving scientists a better view of how radiation exposure affects the body.

The new 3D models allow physicists to calculate how much radioactivity accumulates in different parts of the body, when it is ingested or breathed in.


The organ distances are exactly the same as in a real person

Dr Maria Zankl
They are known as "voxel phantoms", from the word voxel meaning volume element.

Dr Maria Zankl of the Institute of Radiation Protection in Neuherberg, Germany, says the virtual models provide a clearer picture of the radioactive energy taken up by the internal organs.

"The new voxel phantoms are a clear improvement over previous ones, since they have a very realistic internal anatomy," she said.

"The organ distances are exactly the same as in a real person."

Radiation sickness

When a radioactive substance enters the body, it accumulates in bones and organs.

This can lead to tissue damage, cancer or radiation sickness, depending on how much radiation someone is exposed to.

The new method makes it easier for scientists to estimate how much radioactive energy is absorbed and released by different organs.

It will be presented at a conference in London organised by the Society for Radiological Protection.

See also:

24 Oct 00 | Health
10 Oct 02 | Health
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