Practical Applications of Internal Dosimetry

Author:  Wesley E. Bolch, editor
ISBN:  9781930524095      ISBN10:  1930524099
Published:  2002 | 480 pp. | 

Price:   $ 60.00


Health Physics  |  December 2002

"The Title of this book alone, Practical Applications of Internal Dosimetry, brings joy to the hearts of practicing health physicists everywhere! Here is a promise of pragmatic information and useful tools we can readily implement in our own internal dosimetry programs--something that will pull together all of the definitions, algorithms and statistics that we have studied over the years into useful, effective, and time-saving ways of assessing the kinds of radiation doses commonly encountered in today's workplaces.

"However, don't be too quick to judge this book by its cover. A quick flip of the pages takes us to the editor's preface, where we learn that this 10-chapter text is intended to be a supplement to the text book on internal dosimetry that accompanied the 1994 summer school on the same topic. On the other hand the preface is silent on anything having to do with practicality or useful application of 'this complex and fascinating area of radiation protection.' Maybe the editor knows something we don't yet know.

"As we delve further into the book, we uncover some real gems. The chapter on anatomy and physiology is an excellent presentation of those human tissues and systems that we try so hard to describe, mathematically, for dose assessment purposes. Of course we all know that dosimetric models make life easier, but if you find yourself starting to believe that they are accurate representations of the body human, a quick read of this chapter will quickly bring you back to reality.

"Another good chapter is on biokinetics, where the factors used as input to the various metabolic models are discussed, and where emphasis is placed on the ones that influence the outcome most dramatically. The preponderance of this 43-page chapter covers deposition, retention, and clearance via the inhalation pathway, with less than 10 pages on ingestion and wound (injection or incision) pathway kinetics. However, the author mitigates the disparity by pointing out a similar page ratio in recent publications of the ICRP or NCRP! This is a solid instruction chapter with plenty of clarification of concepts, although there is little in the way of practical application beyond improvements to our knowledge base.

"We've all been watching Bayesian inference work its way into the internal dosimetry process. Therefore, the short-but-captivating chapter on the fundamentals of Bayesian statistics in the book is not only a welcome tutorial, but it has some nice examples of ambiguous and unambiguous prior distribution assumptions. (Don't know what those are? Read the chapter!) The information is well-presented, but again falls short of offering practical applications.

"The chapter on radionuclide therapies is a 'must read' in order to appreciate all of the pre-treatment, 'patient specific' information that is required before a post-treatment assessment of dose can be made. It is no wonder that external beam therapies, with their relatively straight-forward dosimetry requirements, seem to get most of the press. However, the author's concise presentations of the MIRD method, the dose point-kernel method and Monte Carlo transport codes, and how they are used for patient-specific organ dosimetry, gives the reader a healthy respect for the tools that are available to the medical dosimetrist, as well as those that are sorely in need of development. And there are some practical applications in here too!

"If you want a quick review of the MIRD system before tackling the aforementioned radionuclide therapies chapter, there is an excellent tutorial in the chapter immediately preceding. The easy-to-read chapter on dosimetry for nuclear medicine also describes a number of available software tools for image analysis, kinetic analysis, and dose calculation. More importantly, it provides some high-quality practical applications of internal dosimetry to patient care. Now that's what we've been looking for!

"Other chapters in the book contain a review of various elements of internal radiation monitoring programs, ways of implementing programs in the face of flawed regulations (e.g., regulations that mandate maximum dose limits rather than a protective work environment), an interesting use of variance models for interpreting multiple data points, use of that 'always popular with the employees' practice of fecal monitoring for discriminating between respirable and non-respirable intake fractions, and some case studies where we learn that the Markov Chain algorithm-along with large amounts of computer time-can produce exact solutions to intake assessments from bioassay data. While all of them have value, some can be difficult to read (i.e., single paragraphs that span multiple pages and frequent use of atypical or unfamiliar symbols, abbreviations and acronyms), some are slanted towards a specific regulatory environment thus limiting applicability, some present methodologies that are still in early stages of development, and some present approaches that are far from being universally accepted. Interesting information? Absolutely! Practical applications? Not as many as we would have hoped.

"The bottom line is that Practical Applications of Internal Dosimetry is a valuable resource for students of internal dosimetry. It contains some excellent background information and some helpful discussions geared towards a better understanding of the internal dosimetry process. There are some easy-to-read tutorials that will refresh and improve any practitioner's fundamental understanding of this important topic. And you can even find some controversial approaches and opinions that will give you something to talk about over coffee with your fellow dosimetrists. The editor is quite correct when he says that this book would make a fine companion to the 1994 Summer School text. . . it does. (By the way, the publisher is offering both books as a set for a purchase price of only $88.00.)

"Does the book offer practical applications of this often complex, multi-phased topic that are suitable for use by the applied health physicist in this world? Based on Webster's definition of the words 'practical' and 'application,' the answer is a resounding 'not really.' However, Practical Applications of Internal Dosimetry would be a worthwhile addition to your technical library, as long as you don't let the title fool you about the contents."

--Carol D. Berger