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Volume 17, Number 1, 2012

Acute radiation syndrome and Fukushima: A watershed moment?

Laura Cerezo, Miquel Macià i Garau


As we sit down to write this editorial in late December, it is clear that 2011 has been a very active year for scientists interested in finding better ways to treat radiation-induced injuries. The nuclear disaster that occurred in March 2011 in Fukushima, Japan was the most serious accident since the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Fukushima draws attention to the urgent need to implement measures to prevent such accidents from occurring, but also to develop comprehensive emergency plans to respond to accidental – or intentional – radiation exposure.

We believe that, in the long run, the Fukushima disaster may come to be seen as a watershed moment, as it has increased awareness of the need to better understand how to prevent and treat radiation-induced injuries, including both early effects—acute radiation syndrome (ARS), which primarily affects the blood, skin, and gastrointestinal systems—and late effects, which include genetic damage, cancers, and cataracts. Fortunately, in terms of scientific output, 2011 was a banner year and numerous articles were published on this topic. In this editorial, we highlight some of the most relevant of these publications.

Remarkably, in 2011, three different medical journals, all working independently of each other, published special issues devoted to acute radiation syndrome (ARS) and emergency response measures to be undertaken in the event of a nuclear meltdown and/or detonation.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2012; 17(1) : 1-3

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