Whether ionizing radiation is a risk factor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders?


Journal Article (Review)

The neural diathesis-stressor hypothesis of schizophrenia, where neurobiological genetic predisposition to schizophrenia can be provoked by environmental stressors is considered as a model of the effects of exposure to ionizing radiation. Analysis of information from electronic databases (MEDLINE, PsycINFO, EMBASE, Current Contents, Elsevier BIOBASE) and hand-made search was carried out. There are comparable reports on increases in schizophrenia spectrum disorders following exposure to ionizing radiation as a result of atomic bombing, nuclear weapons testing, the Chernobyl accident, environmental contamination by radioactive waste, radiotherapy, and also in areas with high natural radioactive background. The results of experimental radioneurobiological studies support the hypothesis of schizophrenia as a neurodegenerative disease. Exposure to ionizing radiation causes brain damage with limbic (cortical-limbic) system dysfunction and impairment of informative processes at the molecular level that can trigger schizophrenia in predisposed individuals or cause schizophrenia-like disorders. It is supposed that ionizing radiation can be proposed as a risk factor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders. The hypothesis that ionizing radiation is a risk factor for schizophrenia spectrum disorders can be tested using data from the Chernobyl accident aftermath. Implementation of a study on schizophrenia spectrum disorders in Chernobyl accident victims is of significance for both clinical medicine and neuroscience.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Loganovsky, KN; Volovik, SV; Manton, KG; Bazyka, DA; Flor-Henry, P

Published Date

  • January 2005

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 212 - 230

PubMed ID

  • 16272077

Pubmed Central ID

  • 16272077

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1814-1412

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1562-2975

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/15622970510029876


  • eng