5.1 Radiological studies (often referred to as screening programs and uranium bioassay studies)
UMRC analyses biological media (e.g., urine, bone, lung tissue, etc.) provided by persons who suspect they have been internally contaminated by uranium. UMRC analyses the specimens to detect the presence and measure the levels of abnormal or artificial types of uranium contaminants. UMRC measures the levels (concentrations and quantities) and the proportions (ratios) of the uranium isotopes in the biological specimens to identify if contamination occurred, and if so, the type and quantities of the material causing the contamination (e.g., depleted uranium, non-depleted uranium, reactor fuel waste products, etc.). Biologically incorporated contaminants are compared to scientifically analyzed material present (extracted) at alleged sources of the contamination and surrounding environment to determine the origin (i.e., geological or technological origins).
UMRC’s radiological studies are used to provide clinical diagnostic support for physicians of patients suspected of having been exposed to hazardous levels of uranium and/or suffering from symptoms and presenting histories consistent with internal contamination. UMRC’s radiological studies are conducted on both living and deceased persons. Bioassay results (detected levels, types and measurements of uranium) may be used, under a Release Agreement with the donor (or their representatives) as experimental and control data in UMRC’s on-going uranium research. The data from the bioassay analyses may be published. All biological specimen donors agreeing to participate in UMRC’s studies are protected by confidentiality agreements.
5.2 Radiological studies of exposed populations
UMRC conducts radiological studies on biological specimens from selected populations suspected of wide-scale, uranium, internal contamination. These studies are conducted to identify, measure, and examine the causes, scope and scale of possible contamination from acute exposure incidents and/or chronic exposure conditions.
Population studies may involve surveys of medical and public health conditions of uranium-exposed populations and associated geological assaying to determine the extent and relationship of human and biosphere contamination. Where required to corroborate radio-biological studies and subsequently determine the origin of radioactive contaminants, UMRC conducts radiological and geo-chemical analysis of natural and human-made artifacts. This includes studies on soil, water, bomb-crater debris and shrapnel at sites and surrounding locations subjected to radiological weapons and ordnance that may contain uranium.
5.3 Clinical effects’ and medical consequences’ research
UMRC conducts clinical studies on individuals and populations confirmed to have, by radiological assessments and bioassays, uranium, internal contamination. The object of these studies is to determine the cellular, organ and biological systems’ effects of different types and levels of internal contamination. UMRC is currently conducting clinical studies of the biological effects of ionizing radiation and heavy-metal actinides on lung and kidney functions in populations with acute and chronic exposure to NATO and Allied forces’ weapons deployed in the Persian Gulf, the Balkans and Afghanistan.