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Frequently Asked Questions

How is information about the atomic-bomb survivors obtained?
To make monitoring easier in long-term follow-up of mortality and cancer incidence due to radiation exposure, approximately 120,000 subjects were selected from residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki identified through the national census in 1950, including 94,000 atomic-bomb survivors and 27,000 unexposed individuals, to comprise the Life Span Study (LSS) cohort.

Information about radiation effects in the atomic-bomb survivors is obtained in many ways, some utilizing the full LSS population, others based on subsets of that population.
  • Mortality follow-up, checking for registrations of death and the cause of death.
  • Checking registrations of cancer diagnoses made by local hospitals and physicians to the cancer registries in Hiroshima and Nagasaki Prefectures.
  • Mail surveys asking about lifestyle and other factors have been sent approximately every 10 years to the LSS cohort members.
  • A subset of LSS (the Adult Health Study) is examined clinically every two years. This clinically examined subset also forms the basis of cytogenetic, immunological, and molecular epidemiologic studies.
  • Chromosome aberrations and blood proteins have been examined in a sample of approximately 16,000 and 23,000 children (respectively) born to one or two radiation-exposed parents to assess possible genetic damage passed on to children. Approximately 77,000 children were examined at birth and at age 9 months, between 1948 and 1954, for possible birth defects.
  • The health status of children of atomic-bomb survivors is being examined based on mail surveys and clinical examinations. Questionnaires were sent to approximately 24,600 individuals over a period of four years starting in 2001, and clinical health examinations were conducted for about 12,000 people between 2002 and 2006 to evaluate potential effects of parental radiation exposure on late-onset lifestyle diseases.