13 May 2015
Vol 7, Issue 287

About The Cover

Cover image expansion

ONLINE COVER Indicating Radiation Injury. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima were catastrophic nuclear power plant accidents. The radiation from these accidents not only took an immediate toll on human lives, but will also persist long-term, as individuals will suffer from cancer, gut damage, and infections. On the cover, engineers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant fix the "ice wall" to reduce radiation-contaminated water from entering clean groundwater, and thus protect people from future radiation injury. In another effort to protect human health, Acharya et al. identified microRNAs associated with hematopoietic damage and long-term survival in mice exposed to different sublethal doses of total body irradiation. Such RNA signatures may distinguish humans with mild radiation-related injury from those with more severe (often nonrecoverable) bone marrow damage. Studies with human samples will allow for validation of such indicators, as well as investigation into new intervention measures, to improve patient care and to enhance survival after radiation exposure. [CREDIT: K. MAYAMA/EPA/CORBIS]