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Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2012 Mar;149(1):60-6. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncr298. Epub 2011 Aug 3.

The development of fetal dosimetry and its application to A-bomb survivors exposed in utero.

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Radiation Protection Bureau, Health Canada, Ottawa K1A 0K9, Canada.


The cohort of the atomic bomb survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki comprises the major basis for investigations of health effects induced by ionising radiation in humans. To study the health effects associated with radiation exposure before birth, fetal dosimetry is needed if significant differences exist between the fetal absorbed dose and the mother's uterine dose. Combining total neutron and gamma ray free-in-air fluences at 1 m above ground with fluence-to-absorbed dose conversion coefficients, fetal doses were calculated for various exposure orientations at the ground distance of 1500 m from the hypocentres in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The results showed that the mother's uterine dose can serve as a good surrogate for the dose of the embryo and fetus in the first trimester. However, significant differences exist between doses of the fetus of different ages. If the mother's uterine dose were used as a surrogate, doses to the fetus in the last two trimesters could be overestimated by more than 20 % for exposure orientations facing towards and away from the hypocentre while significantly underestimated for lateral positions relative to the hypocentre. In newer fetal models, the brain is modelled for all fetal ages. Brain doses to the 3-month fetus are generally higher than those to an embryo and fetus of other ages. In most cases, brain absorbed doses differ significantly from the doses to the entire fetal body. In order to accurately assess radiation effects to the fetal brain, it is necessary to determine brain doses separately.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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