Author: Masaharu Tsubokura M.D., PhD.

Editor: Yudai Kaneda

335 Childhood obesity rates improving

10 July 2021

 In March of 2021, the latest report from the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation was released. The report indicates little possibility exists of an increase in cancer, including thyroid cancer, because of radiation exposure. On the other hand, the psychological effects and the health effects of the change in living environment were enormous.

 One of the major challenges remains lifestyle-related diseases. Lifestyle-related diseases refer to a number of diseases that are deeply related to diet, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, stress, and other lifestyle factors that contribute to their development. Well-known examples include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes but also obesity, gum disease, gout, fatty liver, chronic kidney disease, and osteoporosis. Of these, I mentioned last week that adult diabetes is a long-term problem.

 On the other hand, not all of these lifestyle-related diseases continued to worsen after the disaster. For example, in the case of children, the results of pediatric health checkups for children aged 7–15 in areas that were evacuated at the time of the nuclear power plant accident showed an increase in obesity and abnormalities in cholesterol and neutral fat (lipids) after the disaster. However, follow-up results show that childhood obesity is improving, although improvement in lipid abnormalities is lagging.

336  No genetic impact on the future

17 July 2021

 In March of 2021, the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation released its latest report, which indicates little possibility of an increase in cancer, including thyroid cancer, exists because of radiation exposure.

 However, might genetic influences exist? As we have mentioned several times before, it has not been confirmed that the effects of radiation exposure are inherited in humans. For example, no increase in cancer or other diseases (genetic effects) were observed in the generation conceived and born after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (second-generation A-bomb survivors). The proportion of children with chromosomal abnormalities did not change between those whose parents were exposed to radiation near the hypocenter and those whose parents were not exposed to radiation. In addition, the condition of thousands of treated childhood cancer patients and the children of siblings of treated patients were compared and the frequency of chromosomal abnormalities, inherited diseases, and malformations did not change.

 The estimated exposure dose from the UN report is low, and even today, we report that the likelihood of radiation exposure effects is low. Based on these findings, we are in no situation to be concerned about any future genetic effects from the current nuclear accident.


The Japanese version of the manuscript was originally published in Fukushima Minyu, a local newspaper in Fukushima prefecture, Japan, on 10 and 17 July 2021 was reproduced for MRIC Global under the author's permission.

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