X-Rays and Their Biological Effects.

Wm. H. Love


Before proceeding to a consideration of the more precise apects of quantitative radio-biology we will note a few general results, selected from the extensive literature, which may be of some interest and serve to convey some idea of the general effects of radiations on living organisms. Some of the earliest systematic observations of the effects of X-rays upon developing forms of animal life were made and recorded by Perthes in 1908. He exposed the eggs of ascaris under certain conditions (which he described), and found that the general appearances of the irradiated eggs fell into two divisions accordingly as they were more or less severely damaged by the exposure. In the more severely damaged class are those eggs which do not proceed to the formation of a recognizable embryo, but remainĀ as a group of cells abnormally arranged and irregularly sized. In the other class the eggs produced monstrous embryos partially resembling normal forms, but presenting irregular cell masses ; sometimes the irregular mass would occupy the position of the tail of the embryo-the head being normal, and vice versa. None of the eggs were killed outright, but underwent division to a greater or less degree, producing the monstrosities referred to, which were of low vitality.

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