RERF Research Programs

Life Span Study (LSS)

The Life Span Study (LSS) is a research program investigating life-long health effects based on epidemiologic (cohort and case-control) studies. Its major objective is to investigate the long-term effects of A-bomb radiation on causes of death and incidence of cancer. About 120,000 subjects selected from residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki identified through the national census in 1950 have been followed since that time, including 94,000 atomic-bomb survivors and 27,000 unexposed individuals.

Data collected from this study continues to be used to conduct studies on the rates of incidence of cancer and causes of death related to radiation exposure.


Adult Health Study (AHS)

The Adult Health Study is a clinical research program based on biennial health examination and mail questionnaires of about 20,000 subjects selected from the Life Span Study (LSS), including 1,000 in utero-exposed individuals added to the study in 1977. While the LSS primarily looks at mortality and incidence of cancer in relation to radiation exposure, the primary objective of the AHS is to investigate long-term health effects of atomic bomb radiation on health. Participants are given examinations including a general physical exam, ECG, chest X-ray, ultrasonography, and biochemical tests.

Specifically, the AHS looks at the relationship of radiation to non-cancer diseases, the study of cancer mechanisms in relation to radiation and other risk factors, aging and psychosocial changes associated with atomic bomb radiation exposure, radiation-related changes in physiological measurements, and medical dosimetry. The medical history and lifestyle information of each individual is collected in order to take such factors into consideration.


In Utero Sample

The In Utero Study looks specifically at the lifelong experience of individuals exposed in utero to A-bomb radiation. This ongoing study hopes to determine whether the sensitivity to radiation effects to this group are greater than that of young children (0-5 years of age).


Children of Survivors (F1) Study

The Children of Surviors (F1) Study focuses on identifying what if any genetic abnormalities translate into birth defects or health effects of offspring of the A-bomb survivors. This work is done through the circulation of questionnaires and clinical exams to collect data later analyzed to determine whether there is any risk increase of adult-onset multifactorial diseases such as hypertension, diabetes mellitus, etc. due to parental radiation exposure.

A secondary biochemical genetics program focuses on whether radiation exposure led to mutations in germ cells (sperm and ova) that resulted in abnormalities in children of survivors. This work is done through comparative DNA studies of survivors and their children.