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April 26, 1965

Central-Nervous-System Reactions to Ionizing Radiation

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Radiology, University of California at Los Angeles Medical School and the Radiology Service, Veterans Administration Hospital, Long Beach, Calif.

JAMA. 1965;192(4):297-298. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080170025006

Can man sense low doses of ionizing radiation? This is a key question in this age of atomic energy applications. The risk of industrial accidents in nuclear reactors, to say nothing of the dread possibility of atomic warfare, adds new urgency to finding the answer to this query. Until recently, however, the likelihood of finding the answer seemed very remote.

The central nervous system has always been considered to be very resistant to the effects of ionizing radiation. Furchtgott1 has reviewed the evidence for this, and stated that in the past six years no studies have been published in the American or Western European literature which would cast doubt upon it. In general, such studies have been aimed at detecting radiation-induced structural change in the central nervous system, rather than at detecting the functional reaction of the animal to the stimulus of ionizing radiation.

If one carefully investigates the