Cognitive, psychological and psychiatric effects of ionizing radiation exposure.

Dipartimento di Psichiatria, Neurobiologia, Farmacologia e Biotecnologie, University of Pisa, Via Roma, 67, I- 56100 Pisa, Italy.
Current Medicinal Chemistry (Impact Factor: 3.72). 02/2012; 19(12):1864-9. DOI: 10.2174/092986712800099776
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Radiation exposure leads to an increased risk for cancer and, possibly, additional ill-defined non-cancer risk, including atherosclerotic, cardiovascular, cerebro-vascular and neurodegenerative effects. Studies of brain irradiation in animals and humans provide evidence of apoptosis, neuro-inflammation, loss of oligo-dendrocytes precursors and myelin sheaths, and irreversible damage to the neural stem compartment with long-term impairment of adult neurogenesis. With the present paper we aim to present a comprehensive review on brain effects of radiation exposure, with a special focus on its impact on cognitive processes and psychological functions, as well as on their possible role in the pathophysiology of different psychiatric disorders.

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