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Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 1991 Aug;46(3):747-54.

[Effect on school performance of prenatal exposure to the Hiroshima atomic bomb].

[Article in Japanese]

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Health Sciences, Kyorin University, Tokyo.


As a part of the continuing assessment of the effects on the developing embryonic and fetal brain of exposure to ionizing radiation, the school performance of prenatally exposed survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and a suitable comparison group have been studied. In this report, the changes in performance in seven school subjects according to dose are compared under the dosimetry system (DS86) instituted in 1986 at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation. The sample involves 929 children whose fetal absorbed dose are known and includes 14 severely mentally retarded persons. The findings can be summarized as follows: 1) Damage to the 8-15 week fetal brain appears to be linearly related to the absorbed dose, as judged by the simple regression of average school-performance score on dose. Damage to the fetus exposed at 16-25 weeks after fertilization appears similar to that seen in the 8-15 week group. Canonical and multiple correlations also show a highly significant relationship of exposure 8-15 weeks and 16-25 weeks after fertilization to achievement in school. This trend is stronger, however, in the earliest years of schooling. 2) In the group exposed within 0-7 weeks following fertilization, or 26 or more weeks after fertilization, there was no evidence of a radiation-related effect on scholastic performance. 3) These results parallel those previously found in prenatally exposed survivors with respect to achievement in standard intelligence tests in childhood and development of severe mental retardation.

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