A major issue confronting future space explorers is the risk arising from exposure to radiation in the environment beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere. The risks include chronic exposure to low level cosmic rays comprised of high energy particles (HZE) that cannot be effectively shielded against with current spacecraft technologies.
Learn more about Local CNS and Systemic Inflammatory Effects Following Space Radiation
The biological effects of low dose radiation exposure are poorly understood. Yet, large segments of the population receive significant doses of radiation from routine CT scans. In addition, the cumulative effects of low dose radiation on radiation workers, astronauts, and persons exposed to radiological disasters are of critical importance in establishing health risks and exposure related policies.
Learn more about Low Dose Radiation Effects on Hippocampal Neurogenesis
Neurocognitive deficits are clearly associated with radiation therapy, particularly in children where they represent a major detrimental side effect of life-saving procedures. Long-standing changes in brain function have also been described in individuals exposed to radiation in the setting of radiological accidents (e.g Chernobyl).
Learn more about Mitigation of Brain Inflammation and Cognitive Impairment after Radiation Injury
Radiation therapy is an important modality for treatment of primary and metastatic tumors in the CNS. Although radiotherapists take great care in selection of radiation doses and localization of delivered radiation, radiation exposure can lead to significant normal tissue damage, with the worst outcomes known as radiation necrosis.
Learn more about Neuroinflammation Following Therapeutic Radiation
Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of dementia in our aging population, affecting as many as 40% of people over the age of 85. Morphological changes in microglia and astrocytes known as activation, as well as local production of proinflammatory cytokines, chemokines, and complement components were described over 20 years ago.
Learn more about Role of Interleukin-1 in Alzheimer’s Disease Neuropathogenesis
Long-term methamphetamine abuse is associated with significant impairment of brain function, likely arising from degeneration of specific neuronal populations, including dopaminergic cells innervating the striatum as can be modeled in rodents exposed to methamphetamine. Together with Dr. Lisa Opanashuk in the Department of Environmental Medicine, we are exploring the hypothesis that methamphetamine associated neuroinflammation contributes to the neurotoxic insult and may be an important source of oxidative stress believed to play a role in tissue damage.
Learn more about Role of Neuroinflammation in Methamphetamine Induced Neurotoxicity