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January 21, 1961


JAMA. 1961;175(3):235. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040030059016

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Irradiation is no longer a term used by pure scientists alone; rather, it has become a household word. To many, the term "radiation" or "irradiation" carries the sinister connotation of death. Death of tissues does sometimes occur from light doses of roentgen rays, but all tissues, normal or pathologic, seem to have varying degrees of resistance to these lethal rays. Death does not always occur. Tissue structure and physiology may be altered; mutations in growth can occur in some as yet inexplicable ways. Bone is not immune to these changes. As long ago as 1910, Cluzet observed that roentgen rays reduced the vitality and growing capacity of bone cells and impaired bone-forming function. Spontaneous fractures were known to occur, but it was observed that function recovered slowly and that the fractures united with callus formation. The subject has been discussed by Bickel in this issue of The Journal, p. 204.

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