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August 24, 1963

Changing perspectives on the genetic effects of radiation

Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1963;185(8):675. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060080071032

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This little book is the text of the Beaumont Lecture delivered by Dr. Neel to the Medical Society of Wayne County, Michigan. It is both desirable and timely to have one of the most controversial subjects in radiobiology discussed with a group of physicians, because medicine, like industry, must continue to utilize ionizing radiation in its profession. Dr. Neel, with his vast experience in studies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, is particularly qualified to review this subject.

Neel's main thesis is that evaluation and decision concerning exposure to radiation should be based not only on the balance between beneficial and deleterious effects of radiation alone, but on a broader frame, since radiation is only one of a number of other dysgenic agents introduced into our modern environment. As to the problem of fall-out from bomb tests, he says (p 76): "I am a firm believer in the control of atomic weapons,

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