A long-term cohort study of the atomic-bomb survivors

K Kodama, K Mabuchi, I Shigematsu
Journal of Epidemiology 1996, 6 (3 Suppl): S95-105
The Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), the predecessor of the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF), was established in 1947 to conduct long-term, comprehensive epidemiological and genetic studies of the atomic-bomb (A-bomb) survivors. Today this study still depends upon the voluntary cooperation of several tens of thousands of survivors of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. An in-depth follow-up study of mortality in the study population of 120,000 persons, including A-bomb survivors and controls, has continued since 1950. The study of tumor incidence was initiated through record linkage with a tumor registry system in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1958. In the same year, biennial medical examinations of 20,000 individuals began. Follow-up studies also have been conducted on in-utero-exposed persons and first-generation offspring of the survivors. On the basis of these studies spanning nearly half a century, we know that the occurrence of leukemia and cancers associated with A-bomb radiation is higher than among the non-exposed. Among the A-bomb survivors, radiation cataracts, hyperparathyroidism, delayed growth and development, and chromosomal aberrations also occur more often. However, to date no evidence exists of genetic effects in the children of A-bomb survivors. It should be kept in mind that such study results could never be obtained without the cooperation of A-bomb survivors.

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