Age-at-exposure effects on risk estimates for non-cancer mortality in the Japanese atomic bomb survivors

Wei Zhang, Colin R. Muirhead, Nezahat Hunter

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Statistically significant increases in non-cancer disease mortality with radiation dose have been observed among survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The increasing trends arise particularly for diseases of the circulatory, digestive, and respiratory systems. Rates for survivors exposed to a dose of 1 Sv are elevated by about 10%, a smaller relative increase than that for cancer. The aetiology of this increased risk is not yet understood. Neither animal nor human studies have found clear evidence for excess non-cancer mortality at the lower range of doses received by A-bomb survivors. In this paper, we examine the age and time patterns of excess risks in the A-bomb survivors. The results suggest that the excess relative risk of non-cancer disease mortality might be highest for exposure at ages 30-49 years, and that those exposed at ages 0-29 years might have a very low excess relative risk compared with those exposed at older ages. The differences in excess relative risk for different age-at-exposure groups imply that the dose response relationships for non-cancer disease mortality need to be modelled with adjustment for age-at-exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-404
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Radiological Protection
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005


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