Don’t Go Nuclear: Protecting Yourself From Radiation Sickness (Lessons from Nature)

The risks currently posed by the Japanese reactor crises are relatively small here in the US.  However in Japan they are serious.  But Japan’s problems will slowly spread to the rest of the World.

For years I have been studying cell defense mechanisms.  Ionizing radiation (the kind emitting from the reactors in Japan) , much like oxidative stress, damages all aspects of cell biochemistry. Scientists have discovered several species that are incredibly resistant to ionizing radiation.  In the old test blasts in the US Southwest desert, huge amounts of radiation had little to no effect on cockroaches. In the laboratory we can zap a funny sounding bacteria, Deinococcus radiodurans (which roughly translates as: I am one tough bug when it comes to radiation), with huge doses of radiation and it survives and repairs all the damage easily (Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2011 Mar;75(1):133-91.). So does another tough bacteria, Kineococcus radiotolerans (which translates as: I can suck up huge doses of radiation – PLoS One. 2010 Aug 26;5(8):e12427.)

Deinococcus radiodurans — the consummate survivor


Nature Reviews Microbiology 3, 882-892 (November 2005

So what lessons can we learn from radiation resistant microbes and cockroaches?  First, if we keep playing with radioactive in this way we will likely cede the World to their progeny rather than our own.  But more importantly, the lesson they are teaching us is the same lesson we already have learned – at least in part – from oxidative stress in autism, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.

The tough microbe, D. radiodurans, has dual backup systems to repair oxidative stress. K. radiotolerans is a bit more unusual and it seems to suck in ionic cooper to act as a sink for free radicals created by radiation. And for all of us we know killing a cockroach is tough, but if you were tempted to nuke them – forget it.  They can endure living at the levels 131x what would immediately kill you. This is of course not new news. D. R. A. Wharton and Martha L. Wharton (1959), published simialr findings in:  (The Effect of Radiation on the Longevity of the Cockroach, Periplaneta americana, as Affected by Dose, Age, Sex and Food Intake. Radiation Research: October 1959, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 600-615).  Debbie Hadley summarizes the cockroach research this way: “Scientists measure radiation exposure in “rems,” an objective measure of the specific damage radiation would cause to human tissue. Humans can withstand 5 rems safely. Exposure to just 800 rems would be deadly for us. If you want to kill an American cockroach with radiation, it will take 67,500 rems to do the job. German cockroaches are even more impervious to radiation, requiring between 90,000 and 105,000 before you’ll see them on their backs.”

Cockroaches (presumably they need this in order to live where they live) can repair oxidative insult from both ionizing and oxidizing exposures extremely rapidly.

I know you can’t get potassium iodide now that your thinking about it – always the case in disasters. What can we do to try to catch up with roaches and bacteria in the nuclear defense race?

1) Antioxidants and HBOT: These are necessary back up and sacrificial scavengers to take the damage from radiation so the DNA can be spared.  HBOT induces (particularily higher HBOT pressures 2.0 ATA or higher) induces temporary oxidative stress rapidly followed by an increase in DNA production of Superoxide Dismutase and Catalase (key enzymes which deal with oxidative damage). This helps to defend your cells.

2) NAC (acetylcysteine): This is the best way to increase glutathione inside cells.  Glutathione is the MAIN cell defense against damage.

3) Probiotics: Probioitcs have been demonstrated to decrease the effects of radiation injury on the hut during cancer treatment.

4) Curcumin: As we know, curcumin is an amazing defender of cells from both inflammation and oxidation. (cell the post on it on an earlier blog). Getting it to the brain is challenging, but higher doses and lipid wrapped curcumin may be helpful.

5) Vitamin C: I have given IV Vitamin C to radiation patients and helped to spare them complications without keeping the cancer from being killed.  Even if that seems paradoxical it has worked will.  Vitamin C will act as a sacrificial antioxidant.

6) Chelation: The US Atomic Energy Commission controls ALL of the special chelators designed to chelate plutonium and uranium (and I doubt they have any intention of sharing it with us).  These chelators are different from the commonly used DMSA and DMPS and CaNa2-EDTA. The reason they need to be different is the plutonium and uranium atoms have different chemical properties from mercury and lead.  Our common chelators  aren’t supposed to work that well on the large radioactive atoms. Having said that, we routinely see significant: uranium, cesium, gadolinium on our IV challenge results.  Cesium in particular is very large in size and yet still seems to chelate with DMPS in particular. Cesium 137 is radioactive and results from nuclear fission. It is commonly detected in my patients from Eastern Europe and Russia after Chernobyl.  However, we are seeing increased amounts of cesium in the US as well and we know part of the Chernobyl fallout made it all the way around the Northern Hemisphere.


Dr Bradstreet will be lecturing in South Carolina

I will be presenting the latest research on the likely causes of autism and the various methods we have to help children. I am joined by some very talented therapists.  Together, I am confident we will be making a difference in the lives of these children.  Even families who have been working at this for years will hear creative ideas and concepts to help their children.

Contact Norlina at (864) 576-7188 if you want to attend.  The venue can only hold 100 people so we have to limit attendance.  Please reserve today.


More on Stem Cells, Hyperbaric Oxygen, Flavinoids and TNF-alpha

I will be working more on stems cells this weekend, but I just wanted to let you know I think there may be some exciting ways to integrate these various modalities to bring even faster resolution of brain inflammation.  This would likely apply to autism, Alzheimer’s and a host of other chronic inflammatory conditions.


Cultivated stem cells – not the kind we would do but the same net effect.

Stay tuned and I expect to have something big to talk about by Sunday.

Rapid Skin Healing with Hyperbaric Oxygen

Generally a picture can communicate a more memorable concept which is easier for us to remember.  I’ve been telling you on this blog that HBO heals via both oxygenation as well as stem cell regeneration.  Here is some visual evidence to help you understand. This patient was treated at our Melbourne, FL hyperbaric center.


Figure 1. Pre HBO damaged skin on the leg.


Figure 2. The same side of the leg viewed at a different angle, but after just 2 days of treatment. The intervention was a total of 3 hours of 100% O2 at 1.75 ATA.

I know it is a bit graphic, but it demonstrates my point so well I felt it was important to share it.

HBO is a powerful tool in healing.  This child did not receive extra stem cells – although he he may benefit from them since this is a chronic autoimmune type of skin disorder.


More News on the Benefits of Hyperbaric Oxygen on Stem Cell Generation

It used to be said in medicine that if you understood diabetes you understood medicine.  The reasons we said that was diabetes adversely effects everything in the human body. In addition to the damage elevated sugar has on proteins (glycosylation), it impairs tissue blood supply by damaging the tiny capillaries.  We’ve known for a long time and certainly at my Hyperbaric Centers we have observed this first hand over and over again – that HBO rapidly causes healing.  And it isn’t just because oxygen was needed by the ailing tissues. One of the important effects of HBO is to mobilize stem cells from bone marrow.

When added to the study I referenced yesterday that demonstrated stems cells plus HBO were superior to either alone – we can see a path for healing chronic diseases – and just diabetes.  It is likely this combination of HBO and Stem Cells can benefit many if not most chronic illnesses as well as acute injuries.

Here is some more research published this week.

Vasculogenic stem cell mobilization and wound recruitment in diabetic patients: Increased cell number and intracellular regulatory protein content associated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

Wound Repair Regen. 2011 Mar;19(2):149-161.

Thom SR, Milovanova TN, Yang M, Bhopale VM, Sorokina EM, Uzun G, Malay DS, Troiano MA, Hardy KR, Lambert DS, Logue CJ, Margolis DJ.

Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Department of Underwater & Hyperbaric Medicine, Gulhane Military Medical Academy, Haydarpasa Teaching Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey, Podiatry Surgery University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Dermatology and Biostatistics, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


Diabetic patients undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapies (HBO(2) T) for refractory lower extremity neuropathic ulcers exhibit more than a twofold elevation (p=0.004) in circulating stem cells after treatments and the post-HBO(2) T CD34(+) cell population contains two- to threefold higher levels of hypoxia inducible factors-1, -2, and -3, as well as thioredoxin-1 (p<0.003), than cells present in blood before HBO(2) T. Skin margins obtained from 2-day-old abdominal wounds exhibit higher expression of CD133, CD34, hypoxia inducible factor-1, and Trx-1 vs. margins from refractory lower extremity wounds and expression of these proteins in all wounds is increased due to HBO(2) T (p<0.003). HBO(2) T is known to mobilize bone marrow stem cells by stimulating nitric oxide synthase. We found that nitric oxide synthase activity is acutely increased in patients’ platelets following HBO(2) T and remains elevated for at least 20 hours. We conclude that HBO(2) T stimulates vasculogenic stem cell mobilization from bone marrow of diabetics and more cells are recruited to skin wounds.

IF YOU NEED INFORMATION ABOUT HYPERBARIC OXYGEN YOU MAY CONTACT:  or ICDRC in Florida  (321) 259-7111 or CIHC in Irvine California (949) 428-8878.

News: Study Demonstrates the Beneficial Effects of Hyperbaric Oxygen on Vascular Cells

On February 28, 2011, researcher from the UK released a very interesting lab study.  I am including an excerpt below.

Limited DNA damage in human endothelial cells after hyperbaric oxygen treatment and protection from subsequent hydrogen peroxide exposure.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011 Feb 28. [Epub ahead of print]

Yuan J, Handy RD, Moody AJ, Smerdon G, Bryson P.

School of Biomedical and Biological Sciences, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus, Plymouth, UK, PL4 8AA.

Conclusion: A single HBO exposure causes limited DNA damage to HUVECs (human blood vessel cells), which repairs quickly. HBO treatment protects against hydrogen peroxide-induced DNA damage and involves cellular glutathione (raises glutathione).

This group exposed cells to 2.2 ATA at 100% for 90 minutes in cell culture.  Now that is not exactly the conditions cells have in a living organism.  All the same if they can tolerate these stressful conditions and actually see benefits it is likely the human response would be even more robust.

I like the enhancement of glutathione they observed by the following day. Glutathione is the main cell defense against oxidative stress.  Deficiencies of glutathione have been observed in autism, Parkinsonism,  Alzheimer’s dementia and schizophrenia. Using pulses of HBO to increase glutathione response is logical in these conditions.

These observations may also explain why HBO improves stem transplanting as well.  We previously discussed on this blog the observations of significant combined effects of HBO and Stem Cells on cardiac regeneration.

As Serious as a Heart Attack – Major University Study Supports the Role of Integrative Medicine: Hyperbaric Oxygen in Stem Cell Therapies.


My vote for one of the most important articles published in integrative medicine is this outstanding investigation from the Cardiovascular Medicine group at Ohio State University.














The more I study this paper, the more I respect the thought that went into it.  On this blog I’ve been posting a lot about adipose (fat) derived stem cells – one type of mesenchymal stem cell line (MSC). This paper focuses on bone marrow derived stem cells.  Without going into a lengthy discussion about this, the medical literature documents that adipose and bone marrow stem cells both have similar potentials as stem cells. This paper investigates mice, but in the human application of this technology – adipose derived MSC are far more practical.

Lipoaspirate MSC are abundant and relatively easy to obtain – clearly more abundant and easier than bone marrow stem cells for most situations.

Given the devastating effects of heart attacks, as well as how common they are, finding better ways to treat these patients is critically important.  In a nutshell, what these researchers did was to create heart attacks in mice. Then they studied the natural untreated course, but they also contrasted that with hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy versus stem cells (MSC), and then combined MSC + HBO. The pictures speak for themselves. The purple areas represent living heart tissue and the pale blue areas are scar. Study the pictures below (I added the arrows) and I will explain the significance below.


Just by looking at the colors it is clear that MSC + HBO is far better than even stem cells provided alone.  This type of study is exactly what we need in the field of integrative medicine. I have been complaining about clinical studies which control for only one variable. I understand the scientific reasons, but in reality that just isn’t the way complex biological systems work.

This study is just awesome.  Let’s look below and and get into some more details.

I added the dotted lines to help in my discussion. As a primer in cardiology, the active phase of heart muscle work is done during RELAXATION of the heart muscle. That is where nearly all of the energy is consumed, because heart muscle has to actively recharge for the next beat. Think about a rubber band you want to shoot.  You pull it back and that requires energy.  Then you let it fly and that took very little effort.  The red dotted line is set at the ejection fraction (EF) [measured in percentage points]. In simple terms, that means what percent of blood leaves the heart on any given heart beat (or letting the rubber band fly).  Mice are better at this than we are. They are approximately 90% efficient with each heart beat: we humans average 55-70%.  The blue line represents fractional shortening, which measures and ratios the change in the diameter of the left ventricle (main pumping chamber) between the contracted and relaxed states. In this mouse study, the heart attack reduced the EF to 60% (a 1/3 reduction). Hyperbaric oxygen plus stem cells returned the rejection fraction to about 75%. HBO by itself made a marginal., but not significant increase in the EF. Stem cells by themselves (the MSC alone portion of the study) did help, but significantly less than the combination of MSC and HBO.



This study is simply amazing science.  It teaches us the specifics about stem cell implanting and why HBO is a valuable adjunct to the process.  But more importantly, it teaches us to use integrated therapies to optimize outcomes.

For me it seems very clear: stem cells are good, but stem cells plus HBO is significantly better.