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February 14, 1966

Potential Dangers of Radiation, Steroids Examined

JAMA. 1966;195(7):37-38. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100070021008

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Thirty-one survivors among a group of infants irradiated for various therapeutic reasons between 1940 and 1959 were examined by Harold Katzman, MD, and Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center colleagues.

Fifteen had undergone nephrectomy followed by irradiation for Wilm's tumor; 13 had been treated for neuroblastoma. Three patients with other diseases also were included because of "extremely interesting post-irradiation changes."

All of the children examined showed skeletal changes with growth. Six needed orthopedic treatment.

Average radiation dose to bone was calculated at 2,850 roentgens over 28 days. One of the children had been given an 8,000 r betatron dose for bilateral retinoblastoma.

'Bones Within Bones'  Altered vertebral development was found in 23 of the 28 Wilm's tumor or neuroblastoma patients. Within the first post-radiation year, "bones within bones" were evident. This, Dr. Katzman explained probably represents epiphyseal growth arrest of endochondral ossification.Twenty of the 28 developed varying degrees of scoliosis, usually concave

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