The disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant showed that humanity has made great strides in the methods of personal protection from gamma radiation - not a single rescuer died from the direct consequences of radiation. Officially, at least that was achieved through the use of leaded underwear, in addition to basic protective suits. Oren Milstein, co-founder of StemRad, believes that his brainchild could do a much better job.
The principle of operation of the StemRad anti-radiation belt is based on the work of Soviet scientists who, during the Chernobyl disaster, faced the problem of rapid bone marrow death in exposed people. This is one of the most fatal radiation exposure factors, but thanks to their work, we know two things today. First, the bone marrow can regenerate and fully recover after partial death from radiation. Secondly, it is enough to save only 2.5% of the bone marrow for the body to survive.
The StemRad belt covers only 11% of the body area, but almost half of all bone marrow is concentrated under it, which constantly generates blood cells. The belt is a barrier that can either permanently cover the bone marrow from weak gamma radiation, or maintain a critical mass during a single strong radiation exposure. Experiments on mice have shown that in both cases the risk of developing radiation sickness is minimized.
Wearing a belt instead of a bulky suit is obviously more convenient, although Milstein and his colleagues are already preparing an advanced version in the form of a vest called AstroRad. The only problem is that such an accessory will not protect against other radiation factors and will not be able to walk around the infected area. This is the protection of the front line, which is mandatory for pioneers - many experts agree that such belts and vests could save the lives, albeit not health, of the first liquidators at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.