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November 27, 1996

Discovery of 50-year-Old Naval Logbook May Aid Follow-Up Study of Radium-Exposed Veterans

JAMA. 1996;276(20):1628-1630. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540200014006

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A LOGBOOK discovered during the renovation of an office in the Submarine Research Laboratory in New London, Conn, confirms that at least some of the US submariners and airmen given radium treatments in the 1940s were subjects in a radiation experiment.

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has maintained that the thousands of members of the armed forces who received nasopharyngeal radium irradiation to prevent areotitis media were recipients of standard clinical practice.

However, the logbook with 1611 names of submarine trainees who received nasopharyngeal radium irradiation or symptomatic or other treatments in 1944 and 1945 clearly identified the radiation treatment as "experimental." At least 732 of those servicemen received nasopharyngeal radium treatment.

US Sen Joseph I. Lieberman (D, Conn) —a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee who has been urging the DoD to conduct a follow-up study of veterans treated with nasopharyngeal radium irradiation—says, "This logbook appears to