2018 Volume 28 Issue 4 Pages 162-169
Cohorts of atomic bomb survivors—including those exposed in utero—and children conceived after parental exposure were established to investigate late health effects of atomic bomb radiation and its transgenerational effects by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) in the 1950s. ABCC was reorganized to the Radiation Effects Research Foundation (RERF) in 1975, and all work has been continued at RERF. The Life Span Study, the cohort of survivors, consists of about 120,000 subjects and has been followed since 1950. Cohorts of in utero survivors and the survivors’ children include about 3,600 and 77,000 subjects, respectively, and have been followed since 1945. Atomic bomb radiation dose was estimated for each subject based on location at the time of the bombing and shielding conditions from exposure, which were obtained through enormous efforts of investigators and cooperation of subjects. Outcomes include vital status, cause of death, and cancer incidence. In addition, sub-cohorts of these three cohorts were constructed to examine clinical features of late health effects, and the subjects have been invited to periodic health examinations at clinics of ABCC and RERF. They were also asked to donate biosamples for biomedical investigations. Epidemiological studies have observed increased radiation risks for malignant diseases among survivors, including those exposed in utero, and possible risks for some non-cancer diseases. In children of survivors, no increased risks due to parental exposure to radiation have been observed for malignancies or other diseases, but investigations are continuing, as these cohorts are still relatively young.