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Hiroshima and Nagasaki Nuclear Bombings and the Effects on Growth Among Children

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08/02/20 Medical Reference this

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During the final years of World War II, in 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs over Hiroshima, Japan and Nagasaki, Japan. On August 6th, Hiroshima was bombed then following, on August 9th, Nagasaki was bombed. These two bombs killed between 129,000-226,000 people within Japan. It did not take the Japanese government long to surrender, for it took only 16 days after the atrocity. There have been studies to fully understand the full impact of the radiation and its biological effects. Children were most affected because of they were not fully developed beings when the bombings occurred. This also applies to those individuals in utero.

 Yasjiro Tanaka is from Nagasaki and was 3.4 kilometers from the hypocenter. This is his testimony:

“I was three years old at the time of the bombing. I don’t remember much, but I do recall that my surroundings turned blindingly white, like a million camera flashes going off at once.Then, pitch darkness. I was buried alive under the house, I’ve been told. When my uncle finally found me and pulled my tiny three year old body out from under the debris, I was unconscious. My face was misshapen. He was certain that I was dead. Thankfully, I survived. But since that day, mysterious scabs began to form all over my body. I lost hearing in my left ear, probably due to the air blast. More than a decade after the bombing, my mother began to notice glass shards growing out of her skin – debris from the day of the bombing, presumably. My younger sister suffers from chronic muscle cramps to this day, on top of kidney issues that has her on dialysis three times a week. ‘What did I do to the Americans?’ she would often say, ‘Why did they do this to me?’ I have seen a lot of pain in my long years, but truthfully, I have lived a good life. As a firsthand witness to this atrocity, my only desire is to live a full life, hopefully in a world where people are kind to each other, and to themselves.”[1]

Children like Yasjiro Tanaka bared scars that would not ever heal emotionally and physically. Many of these scars are due to the horrors of radiation and would later impact their growth and development into adulthood.

Studies by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC) in Japan have shown that certain somatic effects can be attributed to radiation exposure from the A-bomb. For persons in utero at the time of the bomb (ATB), children and those who were examined at 17 years old had both height and weight to be smaller in those with high radiation exposure[2]. Growth and slowing down of the neuro-processes was more significant among Hiroshima offspring and was least apparent, statistically, among boys in Nagasaki. There was an influx on development disabilities which was attributed to irregularities of brain development.

Studies of children who lived in Hiroshima was conducted. They were between the ages of 5 to 19 in 1951-1953. This revealed that there were some height and weight differences

possibly attributable to radiation. Although the differences were statistically significant, the researchers were hesitant to conclude that small size in exposed children was attributable solely to A-bomb radiation. [3]There were several non-radiation effects which an effect on growth could have, however there was not enough data. Since a new dosimetry has become available, called “T65,” total individual radiation (gamma plus neutron). This measured the amount of dosage a person received from radiation. This dosimetry is available for 95 percent of the Japanese National Institute of Health (JNIH)- ABCC fixed study population called the Adult Health Study (AHS). This population, with 20,000 members selected from the 1950 A-bomb Survivors Survey, includes groups with varying A-bomb exposures matched by age and sex.[4] When JNIH conducted their clinical study the examinations of subjects were analyzed for the first five cycles (1958-1968) of the AHS. It was found that those exposed to 100+ radiation levels at ages 0 to 19 ATB had smaller mean heights and weights. The youngest among those exposed might be the most susceptible. Results of radiation and height in Hiroshima found that exposure to high doses of A-bomb radiation resulted in a marked reduction in mean height for those who were very young ATB, but its effect diminished with increasing age.

There are factors such as medical care, food, and shelter that could impact growth Post-Japan bombings. There is no reason to believe that heavily irradiated children who survived and migrated were more deprived than those who received more radiation. Although there is

substantial of evidence of the effects of radiation on growth and development in humans and in animals. In particular, radio sensitivity is greater during the earliest growth periods in irradiated children. That is, even for those children who sustained growth-influencing traumas from the bomb, or at any other time, subsequent recovery in rate of growth, if they survived, could be assumed. There is an example that a younger child who have been exposed have become taller as adults, in comparison with slightly older children exposed at the same time.

There is the question of why a larger radiation effect in Hiroshima is there than Nagasaki, especially among males, is not clear. It may be important to judge the differences between the cities in the light of known differences in the quality of radiation incurred.[5] Fission neutrons accounted for a large percentage of the total A-bomb radiation in Hiroshima (the remainder consisted of gamma radiation), but only a small percentage in Nagasaki.[6] There is the argument that there is a large magnitude of the neutron components of radiation received in Hiroshima compared with the small neutron content in Nagasaki.

Although U.S. officials were proud of the effects that the atomic bombs over the areas of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, in August 1945, they also worked hard to censor information about the radiation.[7] Both civilians and military officials tried to control the amount of knowledge about the radiation effects. American officials “did not want the atomic bombs linked with chemical and biological warfare and some objected to radiological warfare.” [8] The atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, remain a pressing issue within world history. However, there are many questions that remain unanswered in relation to the bombing. Children are a delicate issue. Intersecting the topics of children and war, does not look good for Japanese officials and it is more of a smudge on Japanese history. The amount of research that has been done is not enough. However, the Japanese government is withholding information from the public. If they are holding information, then they are not respecting the stories of the individuals who have lost their lives or those who have been affected by the bombings.

Bibliography

  • “After The Bomb: Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Share Their Stories.” Time. Accessed May 01, 2019. http://time.com/after-the-bomb/.
  • Belsky, Joseph L., and William J. Blot. 1975. “Adult Stature in Relation to Childhood Exposure to the Atomic Bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” American Journal of Public Health 65 (5): 489–94. doi:10.2105/AJPH.65.5.489.
  • BRODIE, JANET FARRELL. 2015. “Radiation Secrecy and Censorship after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Journal of Social History 48 (4): 842. doi:10.1093/jsh/shu150.
  • Lindee, Susan. 2016. “Survivors and Scientists: Hiroshima, Fukushima, and the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, 1975–2014.” Social Studies of Science (Sage Publications, Ltd.) 46 (2): 184–209. doi:10.1177/0306312716632933.
  • MALLOY, SEAN L. 2012. “‘A Very Pleasant Way to Die’: Radiation Effects and the Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb against Japan.” Diplomatic History 36 (3): 515–45.doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.2012.01042.x.
  • Shimizu, Yukiko, Kazunori Kodama, Nobuo Nishi, Fumiyoshi Kasagi, Akihiko Suyama, Midori Soda, Eric J. Grant, et al. 2010. “Radiation Exposure and Circulatory Disease Risk: Hiroshima and Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Survivor Data, 1950-2003.” BMJ: British Medical Journal (Overseas & Retired Doctors Edition) 340 (7739): 193. doi:10.1136/bmj.b5349.
  • Yoshimi Tatsukawa, John B. Cologne, Wan-Ling Hsu, Michiko Yamada, Waka Ohishi, Ayumi Hida, Kyoji Furukawa, et al. 2013. “Radiation Risk of Individual Multifactorial Diseases In Offspring of the Atomic-Bomb Survivors: A Clinical Health Study.” Journal of Radiological Protection 33 (2): 281–93. doi:10.1088/0952-4746/33/2/281.

[1] “After The Bomb: Survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki Share Their Stories.” Time. Accessed

 May 01, 2019. http://time.com/after-the-bomb/.

[2] Belsky, Joseph L., and William J. Blot. 1975. “Adult Stature in Relation to Childhood Exposure to the Atomic Bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” American Journal of Public Health 65 (5): 489–94. doi:10.2105/AJPH.65.5.489.

[3] Belsky, Joseph L., and William J. Blot. 1975. “Adult Stature in Relation to Childhood Exposure to the Atomic Bombs of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” American Journal of Public Health 65 (5): 489–94. doi:10.2105/AJPH.65.5.489.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Lindee, Susan. 2016. “Survivors and Scientists: Hiroshima, Fukushima, and the Radiation

 Effects Research Foundation, 1975–2014.” Social Studies of Science (Sage Publications,

 Ltd.) 46 (2): 184–209. doi:10.1177/0306312716632933.

[6] Yoshimi Tatsukawa, John B. Cologne, Wan-Ling Hsu, Michiko Yamada, Waka Ohishi, Ayumi

Hida, Kyoji Furukawa, et al. 2013. “Radiation Risk of Individual Multifactorial Diseases In Offspring of the Atomic-Bomb Survivors: A Clinical Health Study.” Journal of Radiological Protection 33 (2): 281–93. doi:10.1088/0952-4746/33/2/281.

[7] BRODIE, JANET FARRELL. 2015. “Radiation Secrecy and Censorship after Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Journal of Social History 48 (4): 842. doi:10.1093/jsh/shu150.

[8] Ibid.

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