Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Ross ZafonteEmail author
  • Brad Kurowski
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_66


Fractionated radiotherapy; Radiation therapy


Medical treatment that typically delivers a dose of ionizing radiation high enough to induce cell death in a specific target cell population (e.g., tumor cells).

Current Knowledge

Sources of ionizing radiation include high-energy photons, X-rays, and gamma rays. Gamma rays are photons released from the nucleus of a radioactive atom (i.e., Iodine-125), and X-rays are photons created electronically. Doses are measured in units of radiation absorbed per unit of tissue. Typically, this is expressed in Grays (1 J/kg tissue). Radiotherapy-induced cell death typically occurs through two mechanisms: direct and indirect ionization. Direct ionization induces cell damage directly in cell DNA while indirect ionization induces the ionization of water molecules, thus forming free radicals (i.e., hydroxyl radicals), which also lead to cell injury and death. Additionally, radiation therapy can affect cell cycle processes needed for...

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References and Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationSpaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationSpaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolCincinnatiUSA