By Vince Giuliano
As in previous years, I am posting this note regarding the forthcoming 2018 annual meeting of the International Dose-response Society. It will be held as usual on the Campus of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst MA on April 17-18. The program appears to be particularly interesting this year, and I plan to attend.
As regular readers of this blog know, my opinion is that non-linear responses at very low doses to a broad variety of stimuli is a fundamental characteristic of all biological entities at each of their multiple levels of organization. In various writings I have repeatedly pointed out how this property, broadly known as hormesis, is fundamental to biology and understanding of development and aging. It is likely to be a fundamental pillar of any emerging Grand Unified Theory of Biology. Non-linear responses to dangerous stresses, for example, trigger evolution by an identifiable mechanism, namely transposable DNA elements (ref). Some of the articles Jim Watson and I have produced on this hormesis phenomenon are listed here. Suffice it to say that the International Dose-response Society is the central professional group concerned with hormesis, and the 2018 program looks at some of the highly practical and exciting applications of it and further groundbreaking research in this field.
The theme of the 2018 program continues to be PRECONDITIONING IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE – MECHANISMS AND TRANSLATIONAL RESEARCH, similar to that of last year’s program.
The announcement website for the 2018 meeting including registration information can be found here. You can download a PDF for the detailed program from that site.
From last year’s preliminary conference program: “Low levels/doses of numerous stressors (e.g., exercise, intermittent fasting, hypoxia, heat, cold, radiation, electricity, toxins, chemicals/drugs) are known to stimulate a wide range of preconditioning/adaptive responses that may profoundly affect the success of medical interventions for a vast spectrum of disorders. Stressors that trigger adaptive responses also offer ways to enhance healthy aging, improve human performance, and prevent damage in tissues exposed afterward to injurious levels of stressors, including severe psychological stress. Leading researchers will present numerous examples of the adaptive response and show how understanding molecular mechanisms(s), optimizing dosimetry and selecting the appropriate stressors will be important in enabling scientific and technological advances that can translate into future benefits for society.”
A little personal anecdote. As a child from about age 3 to 16 my mother draged me from shoe store to shoe store in Detroit, looking for shoes that best fit my feet and that were most economical. She would never buy me a pair of shoes until we visited at least 3 or 4 stores. At each store I would have to try on multiple pairs of shoes. And for each pair I would have to stick my feet in a buzzing fluroscope x-ray machine and keep them there while my mother and the shoe salesman looked at the flickering green image of my feet and foot bones. They had long discussions about the fit. All the time I kept getting x ray exposure on my feet and lower body while the interminable fit discussions dragged on. Those machines were not lined with lead, and sprayed x-rays everywhere including on my sexual organs. I am talking about the 1930s and early 1940s. This was before the concern about radiation that happened after the Hiroshima first atomic bomb explosion. As a teeneager I got the Smyth Report and read all about the atomic bomb and the horrible dangers of radfiation.
- For most of my life after that, until I learned about hormesis , I thought that the immense amount of childhood exposure to radiation had doubtlessly damaged my DNA, shortened my life, and possibly made it impossile for me to have healthy children. (Turns out I am very healthy at 88 and have had numerous very healthy children and grandchildren.)
- Finally when I learned about non-linear dose response curves for radiation in the last ten years, my take on that childhood radiation exposure completely flipped. I read a ton of research studies of the impacts of radiation that indicate that within a “hormetic” low dose of exposure, the radiation is actually health-inducing. I now think that is what happened to me as a result of shoe shopping and am glad for my mother’s diligance.
There are papers in this 2018 conference related to this radiation hormesis effect. And the feeling is intimate and welcoming. If you see me at this conference, please say hi.