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December 18, 1996

Effects of Atomic Radiation: A Half-Century of Studies From Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Author Affiliations

University of California, Los Angeles, School of Medicine UCLA Childrens Hospital

JAMA. 1996;276(23):1919-1921. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540230069040

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


Out of the disaster of humankind's first encounter with an atomic attack, a monumental surveillance has been undertaken by physicians and scientists of Japan and the United States to unravel the delayed effects of atomic radiation, as told in this invaluable compedium by William J. Schull, a geneticist and a veteran of the investigations. Discussions of the radiobiological basis of the principal studies also serve to make the text an authoritative desk-side handbook on ionizing radiation and health.

The instant destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the atomic bombs that were detonated in the skies above the cities wreaked unprecedented devastation: the dissolution of families and communities in the blast and the thermal and nuclear radiation of a single atomic bomb. In the immediate aftermath, physicians, who were survivors themselves, followed by teams of specialists from medical centers throughout Japan, began to document the atomic bombs' effects. Several weeks later