Presentation on theme: "BROOKLYN 2 RADIOTHERAPY Rebecca PRIESTLEY Sat 31 st Aug 2013 Session 2 / Talk 2 10:45 – 11:15 ABSTRACT At the turn of the 20 th century, New Zealand doctors,"— Presentation transcript:
BROOKLYN 2 RADIOTHERAPY Rebecca PRIESTLEY Sat 31 st Aug 2013 Session 2 / Talk 2 10:45 – 11:15 ABSTRACT At the turn of the 20 th century, New Zealand doctors, electricians and entrepreneurs were early adopters of the recently discovered X-rays, first for diagnostic and then for therapeutic applications. Radium therapy followed, and by 1929 New Zealand hospitals had a greater supply of radium per head of population than the UK. This talk will trace the early uses of X-rays, radium and other radiation technologies in the New Zealand medical profession and in wider society and will include fringe treatments such as radon therapy – drinking radioactive water was recommended as a treatment for gout, arthritis and depression – as well as mainstream techniques such as diagnostic X-rays and radium for cancer treatment.
Mad on Radium: medical radiation in early 20 th century New Zealand Dr Rebecca Priestley School of Chemical and Physical Sciences Victoria University of Wellington
The expose time for an ankle was about 15 seconds. As no timing device was incorporated in this model we used the old photographic method one, two, three, etc., etc., eventually arriving at 15. Another couple of seconds were added for luck. This proved alright if the tube had not emitted several sparks and frightened the patient and he or she had not moved …. John L. Campbell, Thirty-six Years in Radiography, Health and Service, 8(1), 1953, p. 49.
Christchurch hospital therapy picture
MS-Papers /03, Misc Records, Hutt City Council, Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, NZ
By far the most satisfactory method of administration is that of drinking radio-active water. Not only is the dosage easy to determine and the method of administration simple, but the period of retention in the body is markedly longer than in the case of inhalation. Lazurus [ … ] points out the importance of a sipping cure rather than a drinking cure – that is, the importance of taking sips at frequent intervals, thereby maintaining the charge in the blood, rather than of taking large draughts at longer intervals. Arthur Wohlmann, Mineral Waters and Spas of New Zealand, Government Printer, Wellington, 1914, pp61-62
According to German physicians Saubermann and Lazarus, working at the Marien Hospital in Berlin, and publishing in respected medical and scientific journals: 1.… radium emanation in moderate doses promotes the multiplication and growth of healthy cells and the decay of morbid ones. 2.Emanation increases the output of urine. 3.Emanation increases the activity of the digestive tract, and especially the excretory activity of the bowels. 4.It increases the excretion of uric acid … 5.It dilates the blood vessels. 6.It diminishes the viscosity of the blood … 7.It lowers the blood pressure. 8.It increases metabolism … 9.It has a profound nerve-soothing effect. 10.It increases sexual activity. 11.It modifies the constitution of the blood, causing first hyper- leucocytosis, then leucopenia and increase in the number of red corpuscles. Arthur Wohlmann, Mineral Waters and Spas of New Zealand, Government Printer, Wellington, 1914, pp61-62
Grey River Argus, 21 May 1914, p8,
Evening Post, 10 December 1932, 1932
Radioactive Substances Act 1949: a license now needed to use, own or sell radioactive substance or irradiating apparatus. Recommendations for Protection from Radiation Hazards 1951: Radioactive substances are potentially lethal agents and should be treated accordingly Exposure may: -cause injuries to the superficial tissues -cause damage to the blood and the bloodforming organs, producing, for example, anaemia and leukaemia -induce malignant tumours -cause cataract, obesity, impaired fertility, reduced life span -have genetic effects which may affect the progeny of the persons exposed
Source: John Campbell, Rutherford: Scientist Supreme, AAS Publications, Christchurch, 1999, p