I'm looking for a word that compliments stochastic (randomly determined) in a medical context, specifically in describing when radiation effects occur. 'Acute' seems to be the generally used term for effects that vary directly with exposure, but I feel this is being muddled with the term used to describe what brings on such effects, "acute exposure," while not commenting on the nature of the effects themselves, as stochastic does. I'm certain that another word is used that speaks more to the nature of radiation effects that increase in severity with increased exposure.

Stochastic effects include cancer and genetic disorders.

Acute effects include skin lesions and vomiting at moderate levels, and multiple organ failure at very high doses.

  • 3
    Predictable? Deterministic? Regular?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:00
  • 4
    Yeah, "deterministic" is the usual antonym of "random".
    – Hot Licks
    Oct 2, 2015 at 17:23
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    The problems is that the terms aren't complementary (e, not i). The stochastic effects at lower doses are acute when the occur, but they can't be predicted for individuals. You can only make probabilistic statements about the exposed population. At higher doses, the effects are both acute and predictable for every individual exposed.
    – deadrat
    Oct 2, 2015 at 18:12
  • @deadrat So then usual, expected, nominal?
    – Dan Bron
    Oct 2, 2015 at 18:25
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    Yes, stochastic effects do rise in probability with a rise in dosage. That is that nature of these effects to which 'stochastic' speaks. When they will occur is predictable in only a probabilistic sense. The other catigory of effects are ones which rise in severity with a rise in dosage, but what effects will occur at given dosages are treated with far more certainty. 'Acute' does not speak to this nature, and thus feels like a poor choice to describe the category. Something more complementary (thanks) exists, I just can't recall it anymore.
    – Axalon57
    Oct 2, 2015 at 18:48

1 Answer 1


So whether or not it is complimentary in the manner I professed to be searching for, I came across the word in question:

Somatic: of or relating to the body.

Again, these terms are only complimentary in the context of distinguishing between the two distinct varieties of effects that ionizing radiation has on living creatures, and even then questionably so, but they were the terms chosen by texts I had studied with years back.


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