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Possible selection effects for radiation risk estimates in Japanese A-bomb survivors: reanalysis of acute radiation symptoms data

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin Muirhead


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An earlier analysis examined the possibility of bias in the Life Span Study (LSS) cohort by studying Japanese A-bomb survivors with bomb-related acute injuries and those without such injuries. The authors reported significantly higher radiation risks, both for cancers and non-cancers, among those survivors with acute injuries compared with those without. The risks were reported to be particularly large among survivors aged <10 or > or =55 years of age at the time of bombings. The aim of this paper is to examine these findings more closely using the LSS acute effects data. All the analyses were carried out using Poisson regression. Relative risk models were fitted with adjustment for sex and other factors. Significant differences in relative risk between survivors with epilation and burns and those without epilation and burns are found for leukaemia. There is also some evidence for heterogeneity in the leukaemia risk between survivors with two or more acute injuries and those with no injuries, but the evidence is disappeared when survivors with one or more injuries are compared with those without injuries. For solid cancers, cardiovascular disease and all deaths combined, the risks do not differ to a statistically significant extent between survivors with and without injuries. There is no statistically significant heterogeneity in risk across age-at-exposure categories for survivors with injuries. For all deaths combined, relative risk estimates and their uncertainties are significantly higher for survivors exposed at ages <10 years when compared with other exposure ages, but risks are not significantly raised for survivors exposed at > or =55 years of age. With the exception of leukaemia, the findings from the present work are inconsistent with those of Stewart and Kneale.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hunter N, Muirhead CR, Zhang W

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

Year: 2006

Volume: 45

Issue: 1

Pages: 17-26

ISSN (print): 0301-634X

ISSN (electronic): 1432-2099

Publisher: Springer


DOI: 10.1007/s00411-006-0040-9


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