C A Mitchell

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Maryland, United States

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Publications (10)10.23 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: There is now an increased need for accident dosimetry due to the increased risk of significant exposure to ionizing radiation from terrorism or accidents. In such scenarios, dose measurements should be made in individuals rapidly and with sufficient accuracy to enable effective triage. Electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) is a physical method of high potential for meeting this need, providing direct measurements of the radiation-induced radicals, which are unambiguous signatures of exposure to ionizing radiation. For individual retrospective dosimetry, EPR in tooth enamel is a proven and effective technique when isolated teeth can be obtained. There are some promising developments that may make these measurements feasible without the need to remove the teeth, but their field applicability remains to be demonstrated. However, currently it is difficult under emergency conditions to obtain tooth enamel in sufficient amounts for accurate dose measurements. Since fingernails are much easier to sample, they can be used in potentially exposed populations to determine if they were exposed to life-threatening radiation doses. Unfortunately, only a few studies have been carried out on EPR radiation-induced signals in fingernails, and, while there are some promising aspects, the reported results were generally inconclusive. In this present paper, we report the results of a systematic investigation of the potential use of fingernails as retrospective radiation dosimeters.
    Radiation Measurements. 01/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: The most significant problem of electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) fingernail dosimetry is the presence of two signals of non-radiation origin that overlap the radiation-induced signal (RIS), making it almost impossible to perform dose measurements below 5 Gy. Historically, these two non-radiation components were named mechanically induced signal (MIS) and background signal (BKS). In order to investigate them in detail, three different methods of MIS and BKS mutual isolation have been developed and implemented. After applying these methods, it is shown here that fingernail tissue, after cut, can be modeled as a deformed sponge, where the MIS and BKS are associated with the stress from elastic and plastic deformations, respectively. A sponge has a unique mechanism of mechanical stress absorption, which is necessary for fingernails in order to perform its everyday function of protecting the fingertips from hits and trauma. Like a sponge, fingernails are also known to be an effective water absorber. When a sponge is saturated with water, it tends to restore to its original shape, and when it loses water, it becomes deformed again. The same happens to fingernail tissue. It is proposed that the MIS and BKS signals of mechanical origin be named MIS1 and MIS2 for MISs 1 and 2, respectively. Our suggested interpretation of the mechanical deformation in fingernails gives also a way to distinguish between the MIS and RIS. The results obtained show that the MIS in irradiated fingernails can be almost completely eliminated without a significant change to the RIS by soaking the sample for 10 min in water. The proposed method to measure porosity (the fraction of void space in spongy material) of the fingernails gave values of 0.46-0.48 for three of the studied samples. Existing results of fingernail dosimetry have been obtained on mechanically stressed samples and are not related to the "real" in vivo dosimetric properties of fingernails. A preliminary study of these properties of pre-soaked (unstressed) fingernails has demonstrated their significant difference from fingernails stressed by cut. They show a higher stability signal, a less intensive non-radiation component, and a nonlinear dose dependence. The findings in this study set the stage for understanding fingernail EPR dosimetry and doing in vivo measurements in the future.
    Biophysik 07/2008; 47(4):515-26. · 1.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A comparative study of electron paramagnetic resonance dosimetry in Q- and X-bands has shown that Q-band is able to provide accurate measurements of radiation doses even below 0.5 Gy with tooth enamel samples as small as 2 mg. The optimal amount of tooth enamel for dose measurements in Q-band was found to be 4 mg. This is less than 1% of the total amount of tooth enamel in one molar tooth. Such a small amount of tooth enamel can be harmlessly obtained in an emergency requiring after-the-fact radiation dose measurement. The other important advantage of Q-band is full resolution of the radiation-induced EPR signal from the native, background signal. This separation makes dose response measurements much easier in comparison to conventional X-band measurements in which these overlapping signals necessitate special methods for doses below 0.5 Gy. The main disadvantages of Q-band measurements are a higher level of noise and lower spectral reproducibility than in X-band. The effect of these negative factors on the precision of dose measurements in Q-band could probably be reduced by improvement of sample fixation in the resonance cavity and better optimization of signal filtration to reduce high-frequency noise.
    Health Physics 01/2008; 93(6):631-5. · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: By using EPR measurements of radiation-induced radicals it is possible to utilize human fingernails to estimate radiation dose after-the-fact. One of the potentially limiting factors in this approach is the presence of artifacts due to mechanically induced EPR signals (MIS) caused by mechanical stress during the collection and preparation of the samples and the so-called background (non-radiation) signal (BKS). The MIS and BKS have spectral parameters (shape, g-factor and linewidth) that overlap with the radiation-induced signal (RIS) and therefore, if not taken into account properly, could result in a considerable overestimation of the dose. We have investigated the use of different treatments of fingernails with chemical reagents to reduce the MIS and BKS. The most promising chemical treatment (20 min with 0.1 M dithiothreitol aqueous solution) reduced the contribution of MIS and BKS to the total intensity of EPR signal of irradiated fingernails by a factor of 10. This makes it potentially feasible to measure doses as low as 1 Gy almost immediately after irradiation. However, the chemical treatment reduces the intensity of the RIS and modifies dose dependence. This can be compensated by use of an appropriate calibration curve for assessment of dose. On the basis of obtained results it appears feasible to develop a field-deployable protocol that could use EPR measurements of samples of fingernails to assist in the triage of individuals with potential exposure to clinically significant doses of radiation.
    Radiation Measurements 09/2007; 42(6-7):1110-1113. · 0.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: There is an increased need for after-the-fact dosimetry because of the high risk of radiation exposures due to terrorism or accidents. In case of such an event, a method is needed to make measurements of dose in a large number of individuals rapidly and with sufficient accuracy to facilitate effective medical triage. Dosimetry based on EPR measurements of fingernails potentially could be an effective tool for this purpose. This paper presents the first operational protocols for EPR fingernail dosimetry, including guidelines for collection and storage of samples, parameters for EPR measurements, and the method of dose assessment. In a blinded test of this protocol application was carried out on nails freshly sampled and irradiated to 4 and 20 Gy; this protocol gave dose estimates with an error of less than 30%.
    Radiation Measurements 09/2007; 42(6-7):1085-1088. · 0.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: For intercomparison of methods of dose determination using electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy of tooth enamel, the same sets of enamel samples were analyzed in different laboratories using similar recording parameters. The sets of samples included calibration samples irradiated in known doses, test samples irradiated to doses unknown to the participants and accidental dose samples prepared from teeth of humans affected by radioactive fallout from nuclear tests in the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan. The test samples were analyzed to determine the differences in the resulting doses using different spectrometers and different spectra processing methods. The accidental dose samples were analyzed in order to test the precision of doses determined by EPR spectroscopy and to obtain more accurate values by averaging the results from different laboratories.
    Radiation Measurements 07/2007; 42(6-7):1005-1014. · 0.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In order to investigate the effects of spectrum processing procedures on the results of dose determination using EPR spectroscopy of human tooth enamel, spectra of the same samples measured in different laboratories in the course of the intercomparison were processed by some of the participants using their own unique procedures. Spectra of samples irradiated to known doses (calibration samples) and of samples irradiated to doses unknown to the participants (test samples) were analyzed. By comparison of the results obtained using different spectrum processing methods, it is shown that the precision of calibration and the accuracy of dose determination may be improved by appropriate choice of spectrum processing procedure.
    Radiation Measurements 07/2007; 42(6-7):1015-1020. · 0.86 Impact Factor
  • Medical Physics 01/2007; 34(6). · 2.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Task Group 18 (TG 18) of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine has developed guidelines for Assessment of Display Performance for Medical Imaging Systems. In this document, a method for determination of the maximum room lighting for displays is suggested. It is based on luminance measurements of a black target displayed on each display device at different room illuminance levels. Linear extrapolation of the above luminance measurements vs. room illuminance allows one to determine diffuse and specular reflection coefficients. TG 18 guidelines have established recommended maximum room lighting. It is based on the characterization of the display by its minimum and maximum luminance and the description of room by diffuse and specular coefficients. We carried out these luminance measurements for three selected displays to determine their optimum viewing conditions: one cathode ray tube and two flat panels. We found some problems with the application of the TG 18 guidelines to optimize viewing conditions for IBM T221 flat panels. Introduction of the requirement for minimum room illuminance allows a more accurate determination of the optimal viewing conditions (maximum and minimum room illuminance) for IBM flat panels. It also addresses the possible loss of contrast in medical images on flat panel displays because of the effect of nonlinearity in the dependence of luminance on room illuminance at low room lighting.
    Journal of Digital Imaging 07/2006; 19(2):181-7. · 1.10 Impact Factor
  • Medical Physics - MED PHYS. 01/2006; 33(6).