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U.S. Radiologists Stand Ready To Help Japan

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U.S. radiologists have just started helping Japan recover from its devastating earthquake and tsunami. More help will surely be needed. And the Japanese College of Radiology (JCR) has politely mentioned that it could use mobile imaging machines.

Diagnostic Imaging reports that the American College of Radiology has reached out to the JCR. At least three U.S. doctors have volunteered to help with education about radiation-related issues and with remote reading. Right now, the focus in Japan has been on assessing needs—and restoring electricity and Internet access, which obviously would be vital to any remote reading.

“As JCR learns needs and as we can help, we will provide whatever assistance we can,” said Brad Short, the ACR’s senior director of member services and an international outreach specialist. “At this point, it’s more to let them know we are supportive, we have resources they could call on, and be at the ready if and when that call should come.”

Kei Yamada, MD, a radiologist in Kyoto and a JCR spokesman, mentioned in an e-mail the need for mobile equipment, such as mobile CT units. He added:

It would be wonderful if there is someone who can provide those.

Of course, radiation emanating from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear power plant has also inspired concern. Regarding that:

  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has created a special Web site for information about the issue, focusing on monitoring of “potential exposure routes.” The site includes a “Daily Data Summary,” which at this writing leads with: “As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has said, we do not expect to see radiation at harmful levels reaching the U.S. from damaged Japanese nuclear power plants.”
  • The American Medical Association journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness devoted its entire March issue to nuclear preparedness. All content is open access. One article examines the long-term radiation-related health effects on the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan during World War II. One startling point: many of those effects have yet to manifest themselves. “Approximately 40 percent of the A-bomb survivors, but about 80 percent of those exposed before age 20 years, are alive today,” the article says. “The latter are just now entering their cancer-prone and ‘diseases of aging’ years. It has been estimated that as many cancers in the [Life Span Study] and [Adult Health Study] cohorts have yet to occur as have previously occurred and were recorded.”

Related seminar: Radiology Review

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