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October 17, 1966


JAMA. 1966;198(3):312. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03110160140045

Early investigators who used x-rays suffered radiation burns, almost invariably of the hands and fingers, and the cause was quickly realized. Other radiation hazards were recognized but not clearly documented. A relationship between exposure to radiation and leukemia long enjoyed a substantial existence in the minds of many, but defied an exact demonstration, perhaps because radiology was a young specialty, or because radiologists entered the specialty at a comparatively late age, during beginnings of the specialty.

Data from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic explosions yielded a heightened incidence of leukemia among heavily exposed survivors. Radiation damage to bone marrow in humans, confirmed by numerous studies in animals, would seem to show a rational background for leukemia in the exposed.

However, studies of the real dangers of radiation to radiologists by Warren in 1956 suggested that the danger was not specifically that of leukemia, but that radiologists died at earlier ages