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February 15, 1947


JAMA. 1947;133(7):462-463. doi:10.1001/jama.1947.02880070026008

One of the important ways of influencing growth, both normal and abnormal, is radiation. Whether applied deliberately, as for therapy of a tumor or the production, by Müller and others, of genetic effects through induced mutation or accidentally, as when epiphyseal growth of bone is arrested as a result of treating an adjacent osseous tumor, the effects of radiant energy are vividly apparent.

Whether used to end a war, as at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or to cure a basal cell cancer of the skin, ionizing radiations act on organisms through direct production of intrinsic changes in exposed cells and through changes in the environment of the cells. The direct effects may kill, injure or induce somatic mutations in those cells that survive. Changes in morphology and growth rate are not infrequent among tumor cells which survive therapeutic radiation or among normal cells incidentally exposed and may be carried on in