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Studies of Atomic Bomb Survivors Understanding Radiation Effects

John D. Boice Jr, ScD
JAMA. 1990;264(5):622-623. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450050080033.
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Public concern about ionizing radiation, particularly radiation produced by nuclear processes, originated at the end of World War II, when atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan. We owe much to the members of the Joint Commission for the Investigation of the Effects of the Atomic Bombs, who, in 1946, had the vision, in the face of the destruction and turmoil brought about by the bombings, to see that essential knowledge on the health effects of radiation might be gained from that dreadful experience.1

To this end, the epidemiologic studies of atomic bomb survivors have provided the single most important source of information on the immediate and delayed effects of acute, wholebody exposure to ionizing radiation. These ongoing studies are reviewed in three articles in this issue of The Journal by Yoshimoto,2 Yamazaki and Schull,3 and Shimizu and colleagues.4 The studies, which are now


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