Harmful effects of ionizing radiation on the developing fetus were noted during the early days of radiation therapy. In 1929 Goldstein and Murphy reported that large doses of radiation to the pelvic region of pregnant women sometimes resulted in microcephaly in the offspring.1 More recently, it has been suggested that diagnostic irradiation during the prenatal period may result in an increased incidence of leukemia in the exposed children.2 With these findings in mind, special attention has been directed to a group of children who were exposed in utero to ionizing radiation from the atomic bomb in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These children, along with suitable control groups, have been observed as part of a long-term study of the delayed effects of the atomic bomb. Early studies revealed an increased incidence of microcephaly and mental retardation.
In this issue of The Journal (p 357), Burrow et al report another and