Low Dose Radiation and Increased Longevity

Well-respected Professor John R. Cameron of the University of Wisconsin provided evidence that a moderate dose of low-dose radiation increased longevity. 

In 1958, Professor Cameron John joined the faculty of the Department of Radiology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison as an assistant professor, with a joint appointment in the Department of Physics. He quickly established himself as a leader in the field of medical physics and immediately began attracting graduate students and faculty to the new field of medical physics. Over the following three decades, under his leadership, the UW medical physics department expanded from a “one-man” operation to one of the biggest and most successful in the world. In 1981, the program became the first US department of medical physics, and John served as chair from its beginning until his retirement in 1986. 

At UW Professor Cameron focused on the application of physics to medicine, with emphasis on the development of new technologies and techniques for diagnosis and treatment of human diseases. He was a prolific researcher and published more than 200 scientific papers during his career.

In his later years, from 1992 onwards, John’s research interests turned to hormesis. He made a good argument, albeit controversial, that we all need more radiation to be healthy. He published the article “Is radiation an essential trace energy”. 

What is Homesis
Hormesis is a two-phased dose-response relationship to an environmental agent whereby low-dose amounts have a beneficial effect and high-dose amounts are either inhibitory to function or toxic. Within the hormetic zone, the biological response to low-dose amounts of some stressors is generally favorable. An example is the breathing of oxygen, which is required in low amounts (in air) via  respiration in living animals, but can be toxic in high amounts, even in a managed clinical setting (definition thanks to Wikipedia).

The Evidence
In an article published in the  Science Daily (referencing a previous article in the British Journal Of Radiology), Professor Cameron provided evidence that a moderate annual dose of radiation increases longevity. According to Cameron,
British radiologists who entered the field between 1955 and 1979 had a 29 percent lower cancer death rate compared to all other male English physicians of the same age.
Radiologists also had a 36 percent lower death rate from non-cancer causes and a 32 percent lower death rate from all causes. The chances of such a health improvement being accidental is less than one in a thousand, Cameron said. The lower death rate from all causes results in more than a three-year increase in longevity — the same increase in longevity that would result if all cancers were curable.

He also cited similar news from a U.S. government sponsored study that he participated in which showed that the 28,000 nuclear shipyard workers with the greatest radiation doses, when compared to 32,500 shipyard workers who had no on-the-job radiation, had significantly less cancer and a 24 percent lower death rate from all causes. The chance of that health improvement being accidental is less than one in 10 million billion.