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Yale Diva blog source[edit]

"According to the theory, a little arsenic, dioxin or radiation peppered on the spaghetti sauce may be just what we require to live long and healthy lives...

"The idea is that poisons such as arsenic are, of course, poisonous – that is, if one ingests too much they will produce sickness or death. But arsenic and other toxins in very low doses, below an amount deemed harmful, repeatedly have been shown to benefit the functions of organs, the optimal growth of the organism or longevity.

"According to scientists who favor this theory, when the human body, or cell, becomes stressed or damaged by a small amount of poison, it not only repairs the damage but overcompensates and becomes stronger than it was."

Source: Yale Diva blog -Ed Poor 20:42, 20 January 2004‎

Evidence requested for use of hormesis in medicine[edit]

Can someone provide evidence for hormesis being used now medically? -Pdbailey 04:51, 23 November 2004‎

If hormeosis is "high dose bad, low dose good" - I find this article unclear - consider AZT and Fluoridation. ("A high dose of anything is bad for you" is the usual argument of proponents.) Or consider anaesthetics. Or red wine.
If hormeosis is a general nonlinear outcome, then Petkau effect ought to be crossref'd somewhere, like after "ionising radiation". Kwantus 23:39, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
I don't think advocates claim hormesis works for all substances, just in certain notable cases. Also, it's very important to distinguish between hormesis, which has some scientific basis, and homeopathy which is a pseudoscience. -Firstprinciples 03:57, 17 December 2004‎

To user[edit]

You added: Hormesis is a heavily loaded and politicised concept in more generalised contexts, because it is not part of mainstream biology but is often used by people promoting nuclear power as an energy source. end of citation

My question: can You give us an example ? I know that the concept of hormesis can be heard from supporters of nuclear energy (i am against it myself), but the word hormesis and its concept are dicussed within biology and medecine. You can find many scientific papers concerning hormesis. for instance. please register ! it makes any discussion much easier.. Michael Redecke 23:59, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

An example of hormesis is vitamins and minerals. These are required for health in small quantities, but if you look at any multivitamin bottle, you will see substances that are toxic in large amounts. Specifically Vitamin A and copper. pstudier 06:01, 19 January 2006 (UTC)

References please[edit]

The concept of hormesis is now being used to:

  • Enhance cognitive function in patients with neurodegradative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
  • Boost immune function to prevent diseases in people, captive-breeding populations of both ectothermic and endothermic animals and in commercial fisheries.
  • Avoid harmful tumor-promoting effects of anti-cancer drugs
I request references be provided for the preceding claims. Gleng 13:48, 16 February 2006‎

Is 'Theory and Philosophy' helpful?[edit]

I do not think that this section is helpful, this is not hormesis in the sense of the definition. Gleng 13:48, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

I have now deleted this section. This section claimed (for instance) that body-building is an example of hormesis, without explanation, and this makes no sense in relation to hormesis as defined; the article on body-building makes no reference to hormesis. I could not find any justification for the points made hereGleng 22:00, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
I agree, on a "doesn't sound like it makes sense to me" basis, since I only have only a rudimentary understand of what hormesis is. But I've copied it below, maybe it'll make sense to somebody. --Tsavage 23:34, 18 February 2006 (UTC)
Hello! *waves* I'm the one that added the section. I assumed that it's self-explanatory, but it would be great to discuss why I think it's an example of it here. It is of course, not one of Toxicology, but a more general interpretation that correlates with it's description. It is largely characterized by the statements included in the introduction relating it as a general response to stressors, rather than chemical toxins, as follows:
The same has long been proposed regarding moderate ambient temperature fluctuations, regular exercise and even limited caloric deprivation, as both immune system stimulants and possible longevity factors. The hormesis model has been shown to hold for numerous other substances and environmental fluctuations. Hormesis, then, is the term for generally-favorable biological responses to low exposures to toxins and other stressors.
Was I wrong to interpret it this way? Bodybuilding and probably many skillbuildings are relevant to it looking at it as a biological modification to external stresses. Tyciol 06:29, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
As I understand it, the essence of hormesis is that low level exposure can have opposite effects to high level exposure, in particular that ome substances that are toxic at higher doses might be beneficial at low doses. Presumably the opposite might equally be true, but no examples spring to mind. For exercise to be considered an example of hormesis, it would have to be argued that gentle exercise is damaging but intense exercise is beneficial. The body's response to intense exercise is certainly in part a hypertrophy in response to damage, but I don't think that this can be classed as hormesis. I suppose it might be argued that gentle exercise is beneficial whereas intense exercise is damaging, but again I think that this would not be considered hormesis, as exercise involves many changes; hormesis is really about how a single discrete factor can behave differently at different dosesGleng 18:17, 19 February 2006 (UTC)
Well it's certainly a difficult concept to pinpoint... perhaps I'd have better luck theorizing about aspects induced by it. Aerobic or Anaerobic metabolism for example... anyway in the case of exercise, it's always beneficial at lower intensities. Higher intensities carry more risk, but as long as they're reasonable they lead to much superior adaptation and benefits. If you get way too much, it can kill you though, if you don't have adequate recovery time or you stress yourself to the point where damage because difficult to recover from, like shattering a bone. It does behave differently at different doses, but you're right, it's certainly not a line graph kind of effect. Tyciol 17:10, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

Deleted section:

Theory and Philosophy[edit]

The idea of hormesis is actually quite frequently encountered though rarely named. Strength training and Bodybuilding, for example, are examples of hormesis.

The body's neurological recruitment of muscle fibres is increased with practice and with increasing weights, similar to the way balance and co-ordination and special skills are acquired in sports. Strength training emphasizes these types of strength gains. Learning itself, gains in intelligence and knowledge, may be thought of Hormesis, as well as forms of stress suppression.

When exercised to failure with heavy weights to induce hypertrophy, with adequate protein and rest to rebuild the fibres, the body will overcompensate and rebuild the muscle fibres larger. This leads to higher gains in strength, as larger tissues can contract harder and take more load. Due to this, efficient muscle fibre recruitment is not as necessitated by the body and mind, and will probably not be developed as much. Bodybuilding emphasizes this form of strength gain which also includes size gain, but a low strength to weight ratio. Gains in weight are not desired among athletes who do a great deal of movement or acrobatics, or who do movements that stress the joints in ways the body can not adapt.

Proposed deletion[edit]

I propose deleting the section on Medical and Veterinary Uses, as the claims are not referenced. My earlier call for references has not been answered, and I have not been able to find evidence for them. 21:13, 20 February 2006 (UTC)

I have now provisionally deleted the section below, as I think that the claims need qualification and referencing Gleng 12:54, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Unlike the previous deletion (above), I'm not sure pulling this out right now best serves article development. The statement is quite clear, and a passing reader/editor with the requisite expertise may well be moved to "confirm or deny". IMO, it's always a balance between making an article "better" now, and encouraging it to move ahead. WP Verifiability is core policy, however, obviously, the majority of WP articles are not referenced, and this work-in-progress nature is a...feature... Again, these seem to be quite specific assertions that can be researched, not entirely broad and general claims...? --Tsavage 21:34, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
NOTE: I have some interest but no expertise on this topic. If you know that this stuff is reasonably unsupportable, of course, delete it. :) --Tsavage 04:20, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
I think that claims about a benefit for Alzheimer's disease should be made only with care; I have not found support for these, but am happy to be correctedGleng 23
14, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

Deleted section:

The concept of hormesis is now being used to:

  • Enhance cognitive function in patients with neurodegradative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
  • Boost immune function to prevent diseases in people, captive-breeding populations of both ectothermic and endothermic animals and in commercial fisheries.
  • Avoid harmful tumor-promoting effects of anti-cancer drugs.

Controversially, some homeopathic researchers and practioners claim that their use of homeopathic preprations diluted beyond Avogadro's number (such that no molecules of the original solute are present) represent an extension of the principle. This is based on energetic concepts and is widely dismissed by science and medicine, but is accepted by energy healing practitioners and the theories of energy healing. Science similarly does not support such practices.

  • An interesting general readership article (this WP article started out based on a Calabrese press handout): The Power of Poison. Is Calabres a controversial figure? Well-known in...toxicology circles? --Tsavage 01:13, 2 March 2006 (UTC)
  • As far as I can see Calabrese appears to be a very good scientist, and well respected; his views are provocative, but the controversy seems to be about the generality of hormesis and its importance; see

Thayer KA, Melnick R, Burns K, Davis D, Huff J. Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Oct;113(10):1271-6. Fundamental flaws of hormesis for public health decisions.

Gleng 09:59, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

I have read quite a few papers by Calabrese. He is well known and has published in some very good peer reviewed journals. I think his work could be referenced with confidence. Lady of the dead (talk) 11:54, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

How about some history?[edit]

Reading this article I found it contains very little on the history of the hormesis model. You know, where did it come from? Who first proposed it and when? Under what circumstances? How was it adapted later? There is a lone sentence saying that it used to be associated with homeopathy, but that's it. --Smithfarm 07:42, 1 May 2006 (UTC)

EPA regulation[edit]

The article comments that EPA standards would be affected by a move from a linear model for carcinogens to a hormetic one. This is not the case as the difference between the standards and concentrations inducing hormesis will be several orders of magnitude. Safety standards are generally calculated by multiplying an Lowest Observable Effect Concentration (LOEC) and multiplying it by an arbitrary factor of 100 to 1000. Any change in standards will hae no effect upon induction of hormesis. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Sonic.death.monkey (talkcontribs) 16:55, 20 June 2006‎

known hormesis?[edit]

I'm not sure I agree with the known hormesis examples. Vitamins have a dose response curve that looks like ( die , okay, die) which is not what the sketch is like, nor is it how hormesis is supposed to work. It's supposed to be about a small dose of a poison making you stronger because of the mild stress. That is totally different than a vitamin allowing your body to perform an essential process. The other paragraphs are confusing and don't directly relate to hormesis. I think the analogies don't add anything and the section should be removed (unless there is a known horemitic substance). If the second and third paragraphs do stay, maybe a better link could be drawn to hormesis. Pdbailey 06:50, 4 July 2006 (UTC)

Merge radiation hormesis to this[edit]

This page is almost entirely about radiation hormesis, as such, I propose a merge between the two.Pdbailey 14:28, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Sounds good. —Keenan Pepper 23:44, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Seems good to me too, but what will the merged page be called? Starhood` 20:37, 2 October 2006 (UTC)
I think "hormesis" is a good name. --Pdbailey 23:35, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Somebody seems to have 'accidentally' deleted radiation hormesis. I have undeleted it, and removed the 'merge' tag. If you wish to delete a page you must put it up for deletion. Thanks for not abusing process.WolfKeeper 05:00, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

I think the implications of radiation hormesis are sufficiently major that it deserves its own page. Since chemical & radiation hormesis are both poorly understood & appear to involve very different mechanisms (chemistry & atomic particles) they may turn out to be different in many ways. Neil craig 13:56, 27 October 2006‎

Neil, both have to be chemical in the end, because DNA damage can only be caused by chemical changes. ionizing radiation can ionize, i.e. make a highly reactive chemical. The same is to of highly active chemicals (that is, they are highly active). Pdbailey 04:18, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
Chemicals ionise do they? Are you aware of a study that shows the effects to be identical? Got a cite?WolfKeeper 05:00, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Wolfkeeper, I'll keep it to hormesis relevant comments on this page. Regarding the latter of the above comments posted at 05 GMT I'm having a hard time understanding it. The mechanism for hormesis in either case is unknown, in fact, cases of hormesis are nearly unknown so the mechanism is going to be somewhat difficult to understand. Even the mechanism for carcinogenesis via exposure to radiation is not well understood (i.e. the radiation bystander effect) [1]. Hormesis is hormesis and chemical reactions are chemical reactions. My point above is that everything that happens in a cell is chemical and that radiation has to start some sort of chemical reaction before it can hav e an effect on a cell at all. For an introduction to our theory of carcinogenesis via radiation, I would point you to Eric Hall's Lauriston Taylor Lecture, the abstract of which appears in the link, but you really should read the article [2]. This is also an interesting article because he shows that radiation effects exist down as far as 100 mr, so I'm not sure that if radiation hormesis exists if it is worth much. Pdbailey 19:24, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

Is there any outstanding complaint against this merge proposal? Pdbailey 13:35, 3 November 2006 (UTC)

This particular page was extremely useful for me. I just attended a lecture on the linear-no-threshold model, and this page told me exactly what I was looking for. I think I would have been less well-served by a long, tedious biology article. I suggest this article be kept until LNT isn't such a hot topic. -Mike 00:05, 11 November 2006

If it's not too late to chime in, I'd prefer to have Hormesis be a general article (possibly including the LNT hypothesis), and Radiation hormesis be a related (or "spin-off" article).
Radiation hormesis is a special case, a particular instance that has been well-studied for half a century. There's not much controversy on it.
Hormesis as applied to other hazards like cyanide in drinking water has been an issue in U.S. political campaigns. In other words, it's hugely controversial (if only in the non-scientific arena). --Uncle Ed 16:10, 15 November 2006 (UTC)

Non-acceptance confusing[edit]

In the article's current state the Non-acceptance section is confusing. The paragraph contains a number of long sentences which are difficult to understand. For example, the following is a single sentence:

The United States-based National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, a body commissioned by U.S. Congress, recently released a report written by national experts in the field which states that rejected, for the sake of caution and lack of contrary evidence, radiation's effects should be considered to be proportional to the dose an individual receives, regardless of how small that dose is.

I'm not quite sure what that means. Anyone who can decipher it (and provide references) should feel justified in removing the {{confusing}} designation.

--Pjf 11:21, 1 October 2006 (UTC)

Student: Was there a Victorian use to hormesis?[edit]

I also think some history and contextual information would be a good idea - I am doing this for a pysics project and would like to know how it is used by people in the modern world. Can anyone tell me if hospital safety pracite could be changed in the near fiture? I also heard something about the Victorians eposing themselves to radiation, beleiveing radiation to be good for them (although they did not obviously understand this idea fully) and I would like to know more about this - is this an example of hormesis? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 14:41, 1 October 2006‎


The article says, "NOTE: An early version of this article was based on the press handout: "Hormesis: Principal Concepts and Take Home Message", by Edward J. Calabrese, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, from a hormesis panel discussion, Feb 25, 2004, Washington, DC."

How is this legal? Was the pamphlet public domain, or under an Free license? Superm401 - Talk 01:36, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hormesis and Thermodynamics[edit]

Could the article include a thermodynamic evaluation of hormesis? The U-shaped curve could be the result when there is a competition between beneficial and deleterious effects. The simplest case would be a linear increase of benefit with increasing dose, combined a parabolic variation of damage with increasing dose. This idea is admittedly based on a very different phenomenon - A.A.Griffith's analysis of the fracture of glass (for a brief discussion, see <>). I realize that biological systems are enormously more complex than glass, but hormesis cannot violate thermodynamics. Al Rosenfield 4 p.m. 15 Feb 2007

alcohol info[edit]

Audacity points out that, 'clarify what exactly second study says ("The authors caution that their report ...has not disproved the notion that light drinking is good for health"))' But their main conclusion is, 'The team found only seven studies that included only long-term non-drinkers in the "abstainers" group. The results of the seven studies showed no reduction in risk of death among the moderate drinkers compared with abstainers.' This is pretty damning. Their above claim is only saying that zero isn't necessarily the answer, this is a difficult conclusion to come to so it's not that surprising. Pdbailey 21:47, 25 March 2007 (UTC)

possible explanations, remove?[edit]

The possible explanations section has had fact tags since February. Can someone please provide references? If not, the section faces deletion. I've contacted those editors who contributed significantly to the section. One problem is that many are anon editors and so can't rightly be contacted. Pdbailey 17:24, 31 May 2007 (UTC) (edited to include contact)

I would advise leaving the information in, as it appears to be valid, though lacking in-text citations. Most of the article lacks such citations, but rather than deleting all uncited information, better to leave the uncited material as a base from which the article can be developed with citations. Λυδαcιτγ 02:42, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
Audacity, it may be useful (for you as well as I) to read Wikipedia's policy on citing sources. Specifically the section on unsourced material and the proper response. Basically, you're right that the section should not be deleted (since all of it is not harmful).
However, I find the following sections less useful and of questionable merit and on the borderline of harm. "This is similar in principle to viral vector vaccines under development for diseases such as cancer and AIDS."
I also find the following paragraph troubling, "A deeper explanation is that low doses interact with genetic signaling systems that upregulate gene expression, whereas high doses cause overt toxicity. This fits well with ideas from the evolution of aging. Aging is not a wearing-out or a failure of the body, but rather a purposeful adaptation, the purpose of which probably has to do with population regulation. The body is programmed to self-destruct, but in times of hardship (when many individuals are dying of external causes) the aging program lets up in order to moderate the death rate. The combination of aging and hormesis acts to level out natural population cycles, by keeping the death rate more constant." I think a lot of this is conjecture about humans based on models in simple organisms like yeast. Not that this conjecture may not be warranted, but it certainly doesn't appear i.e. in the referenced Nature article that serves as a review of the topic under any banner but pure conjecture. Pdbailey 13:12, 1 June 2007 (UTC)
The second section is almost certainly wrong, as evolution generally takes place on an individual level. That every member of a population would allow itself to die to benefit the rest of the population is unlikely. Removed as bad science.
Where do you see possible harm with the first example? Λυδαcιτγ 04:39, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
Audacity, I guess that not knowing viral vector vaccines or how they work I can't comment. I'll withdraw my objection, but would like to believe that someone who understands how these vaccines work believes the analogy is a good one. if you are such a person, so be it. Pdbailey 17:38, 4 June 2007 (UTC)
I didn't mean to endorse the sentence; I didn't know what a viral vector vaccine was either and I was wondering how you thought the sentence could be harmful. Anyway, after a quick read of the viral vector article, I don't see the analogy, so I took the sentence out. User:Audacity 00:06, 5 June 2007 (UTC)
According to the edit history, I am the person who made that comment on viral vector vaccines. It was over two years ago and I can't actually remember making the edit. I think I was referring to relative levels of exposure to pathogenic proteins. For instance, a targeted, low level exposure (as seen with viral vector vaccines) will stimulate the immune system and have beneficial effects; whereas high-level exposure to the same protein may cause major health problems. This seems like a pretty awful example. As I say, I can't actually remember why I made the edit, and support its removal. If I can remember what on earth I actually meant I will let everyone know. -- FP (talk)(edits) 01:20, 10 June 2007 (UTC)


Which beneficial substances actually don't show hormesis? A little bit of water is healthy, too much will cause water poisoning. Carbohydrates can save you from starving, too much cause obesity and thus lower life expectancy. Icek 12:49, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

Great question. The basic idea of hormesis is that a little stress is a good thing, even if a lot of stress is a very bad thing. The other examples are just necessary for human life (so kill you at too low of doses) but also can be toxic (so kill you at high doses). Perhaps the difference between nutrients and hormetic substances should be made clearer. Pdbailey 02:59, 27 June 2007 (UTC)

Science News Article[edit]

There's an article on this topic in the January 20, 2007, issue of Science News, called "Counterintuitive Toxicity", that might be of interest to people working on this article. Unfortunately, it's only available online to subscribers, although the references and sources are here: I don't have the expertise to contribute technically to this article, but the Science News article seems to me like a good two page summary of current research in the field. Mignon 19:40, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Mignon, Science news tends to be a little thin on details, does it cite either articles or people? Pdbailey 14:17, 4 July 2007 (UTC)
Pdbailey, this is one of their long articles, so it cites quite a few researchers and studies. As I mentioned, the references and sources are online.Mignon 15:13, 18 July 2007 (UTC)

International Hormesis Society[edit]

I have twice added an external link to this group, and it has twice been deleted. Since the IHS website is obviously relevant to this topic and contains considerable information, I would appreciate an explantion of these actions Vgy7ujm 23:28, 26 August 2007 (UTC)

reason for undoing edits by Tjw68[edit]

I just undid the edits by Tjw68 because most of them changed well referenced claims to unreferenced and out of the mainstream claims. I would rather go through it piece by piece (i.e. keeping the BJR article, but I think that might be better suited to the radiation hormesis page). Perhaps we could go over them here. I've tried to pull a few out here:

(1) "The hormesis model of dose response is widely accepted in chemical toxicology, though still highly polarizing when applied to radiation dosing." Where's the acceptance in toxicology? Where's the polarization in radiation dosing if NCRP, UNSCEAR, and NSF all agree?
(2) why delete all the reasons it isn't clearly understood?
(3) what's the backup for, "While the scientific community has generally rejected this simplistic model, it serves the political and budgetary goals of the various federal agencies well."
(4) the NSF, NCRP, and UNSCEAR are not, "researchers" they are scientists coming to a consensus based on an existing body of research--not doing research--it's completely different and holds a lot more authority.

Please feel free to bring up new topics, but please start discussion here before making changes that I think we can all agree are contentious. Pdbailey 02:30, 29 August 2007 (UTC)


Is botox Hormesis? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:03, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

No, it's a drug containing botulism toxin. Icek 04:40, 1 October 2007 (UTC)

Interesting reference[edit]

Rebecca Renner. Redrawing the Dose-Response Curve. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2004, 38(5), 90A-95A. --Itub (talk) 13:21, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Renner R (2004). "Redrawing the dose-response curve". Environ. Sci. Technol. 38 (5): 90A–95A. PMID 15046324. 
Here's the cite-ready ref. I can't access it, unfortunately... — Scientizzle 21:29, 5 February 2008 (UTC)

Illustrative Graph[edit]

The illustration show a dose-response curve is non-physical as it shows a non-zero response at zero dose. (talk) 19:34, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

Taiwanese study, recent edits by User:[edit]

This user recently added the following see also link:

Study of 10,000 Taiwanese people who lived 9-20 years in apartment buildings built with radioactive rebar. Cancer rates are reported to be much lower than general population. Article appears in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons a controversial Open Access journal.

The journal is, the Journal_of_American_Physicians_and_Surgeons included on quackwatch's "non-recomended periodicals" under "Journals (Fundamentally Flawed)" [3].

Second, the article literally claims that living in an irradiated home reduces the risk of cancer by 95%. The author is essentially proposing that they have found a way of avoiding 95% of cancer. This claim is, to say the lease, somewhat exceptional. And WP policy claims that exceptional claims require exceptional sources. Is this journal an exceptional source? Pdbailey (talk) 01:14, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

Observational studies are a fine place to start, but it should never be assumed that "the age and income distributions of these persons are the same as for the general population". This single not particularly powerful methodologically dubious study is not nearly strong enough to reference the surprising conclusion. All I can say in favor of this study is that they argue against the use of single-tailed t tests, which is a bit of a pet peeve of mine. Still, it does not belong in Radiation hormesis by WP:RS, and it does not belong here simply by virtue of being off topic. - Eldereft ~(s)talk~ 22:12, 4 March 2008 (UTC)

The Anonymous Coward says:

A great many things now solidly accepted in the physical sciences, were once regarded with career-ending hostility when first proposed.

Notably, a great more thing now solidly accepted as quacks were always accepted as quacks and regarded with career ending hostility. (talk) 10:00, 28 September 2009 (UTC)

Therefore I think it is fair and good to point out that an idea or a report, has critics and is "non-recommended" by or whomever.

One can never say "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof" too often.

But to delete this page or that references is a great many bad things starting with censorship. Critique this or any idea, any way you like and as often as you wish. But don't delete it. You might be correct 99 out of 100 times, but none of us is perfect. Wikipedia as currently deployed should always be seen as a place to start, never the final word. Therefore it should present ideas and honest critique, not suppress them.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:35, 9 March 2008 (UTC), You are arguing against the idea that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia that aggregates agreed upon consensus. It certainly is true that consensus has been wrong on many, many occasions--but I've never known an encyclopedia to be the shepherd that lead the way out of the darkness. In any case, if you want to argue against the idea that Wikipedia should include well referenced consensus positions, this fundamental principle of Wikipedia, I'd propose that this page is not the right place. I would suggest you take your complaint to the above linked Wikipedia policy page. Pdbailey (talk) 04:17, 10 March 2008 (UTC)
I agree that Chen et al. is not in a reliable source and neither is Luan et al. (2006)[4] (which is self plagiarized from Chen et al.). It seems likely that there was (and is) a government sponsored cover-up. However, the study of Thompson et al. (2008) could be added instead[5][6][7] - its a 7 year long case-controlled study of residential radon exposure in Worcester County, Massachusetts, that found a 60% reduction in lung cancer (hormesis) in amongst people exposed to low levels (0-150 Bq/m3) of radon. --Diamonddavej (talk) 01:39, 2 April 2008 (UTC)
I think you have the conclusion wrong here, looking at the abstract, there is a hormetic repose that they claim, a J shaped curve, so less than 150 isn't exactly right. Pdbailey (talk) 02:17, 2 April 2008 (UTC)

Science and politics[edit]

Can we separate the scientific debate from the political controversy?

I've seen claims that hormesis has been observed in hundreds of dose-response relationships. But I've also seen reports that the theory isn't widely accepted among scientists. Is there any way to write about this, other than to say which scientists say they've seen a U-shaped response, and which ones say they can't replicate those results?

It's common knowledge that hormesis is politically unpopular, at least in the English-speaking world. Are we going to need a separate article on the political aspects, listing all the groups that favor it and all the groups that oppose it?

Should we even try to separate it? I don't know what NPOV says about describing scientific disputes. Do we focus more on evidence, or more on opinion? --Uncle Ed (talk) 21:51, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

agent orange[edit]

My own published research is among the more directly relevant sources on this subject so I believe Wikipedia policy is that I cannot add it myself but I think the section on Hormesis would benefit tremendously from a subsection about Arthur Galston. He earned his PhD in biochemistry by studying a chemical that, in low concentrations, caused soybeans to flower and give fruit at a faster rate, and at higher concentrations defoliated the soybeans. His research was weaponized decades later as Agent Orange, to his horror. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:21, 20 March 2014 (UTC)

DES study[edit]

The article states: For example, research by Retha Newbold at the US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has shown that while relatively high doses of a xenobiotic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol, during fetal development cause weight loss in adulthood, extremely low doses cause grotesque obesity

Seems to me that the source says something different: while it mentions that prenatal DES doses caused weight loss in adults, the rest of the article is about neonatal doses, and both small and large doses caused weight gain in adults (with large doses only showing temporary weight loss).

Prenatal DES doses (10 –100 μg/kg maternal body weight) often caused a decrease in the offspring’s body weight at birth and subsequently throughout life; neonatal DES at a dose of 1 μg/kg/day did not affect body weight during treatment but was associated with a significant increase in body weight as adults as we reported in an earlier publication

Unlike the lower dose of DES (1 μg/kg/day), the high DES dose tested (1000 μg/kg/day=1 mg/kg/day) caused a significant decrease in body weight during treatment which was followed by a “catch up” period around puberty and then finally resulting in a significant increase in body weight of DES treated mice as compared to controls after 2 months of age; Figure 2 shows the body weight comparison of control and DES treated mice during the time of treatment and continuing into adulthood. The body weight was significantly lower in DES exposed mice compared to controls during the time of treatment and shortly thereafter as denoted by the * in the graph. However, DES treated mice gradually caught up to controls by 30–45 days, surpassed them by 2 months of age and remained heavier throughout the experiment. Although this experiment was terminated shortly after 4 months of age, earlier data showed this enhanced weight difference was present in DES mice throughout adulthood Ssscienccce (talk) 01:47, 18 November 2014 (UTC)