Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS), also known as radiation sickness, is a life-endangering condition that occurs when the body receives a high dose of radiation, usually over a short period of time. Many survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs and many of the first responders after the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in 1986 suffered from ARS.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the chance of survival for people with ARS decreases with increasing radiation dose. Most people who do not recover from ARS will die within several months of exposure. The cause of death in most cases is the destruction of the person’s bone marrow, which results in infections and internal bleeding. For the survivors, the recovery process may last from several weeks up to 2 years.

ARS should be distinguished from the longterm effects of radiation such as an increased occurrence of cancer. These longterm effects may appear among survivors after many years and do not pose an immediate threat to survival. Thus in the event of a radiation emergency where people may be exposed to high doses of radiation in a short period of time, the first priority should be taking measures to prevent ARS. Unfortunately, aside from taking refuge in fallout shelters, methods for preventing ARS are non-existent in the current market.

Co-founder Dr. Oren Milstein gives a keynote lecture on the StemRad 360 Gamma in front of 450 people at Harvard’s Smart Clothing Symposium.

Stemrad at Harvard

Acute Radiation Syndrome