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(26,998 posts)
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 04:14 PM Dec 2014

Thyroid cancer among Fukushima youths unlikely to be linked to nuke accident: study


The thyroid study was focused on gene variations in cancer cells. It found that the type of such mutations among Fukushima youths was different from that among children who developed thyroid cancer after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. This led the team to conclude it is not likely that the Fukushima accident has had any effect on the thyroid cancer cases found in the survey.

The finding was reported on Nov. 14 by Shinichi Suzuki, professor of thyroid endocrinology at the Fukushima medical school, during an academic gathering of the Japan Thyroid Association in Osaka. The health survey found 103 confirmed or suspected thyroid cancer cases. Earlier, the prefectural government and the university had said radiation from the accident is unlikely to have had any link to the disease given scientific knowledge such as its prevalence. The latest gene-level analysis has given credence to the view.

According to the report, 23 of the 103 cases confirmed as thyroid cancer were subjected to genetic analysis. Most gene mutations found in cells of these confirmed cases were of the type that is commonly seen in thyroid cancer among adults in Japan and that was not found among children with thyroid cancer developed after the Chernobyl accident. Furthermore, the type of gene variations commonly found among the Chernobyl cases was not detected among any of the 23 Fukushima cases.


Yeah... but who cares what a professor of thyroid endocrinology or national thyroid association have to say on the matter? There's a flim flam artist and a woman who was a pediatrician for a few years 35 years ago (and who claims that she won a Nobel Prize) who disagree!
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(26,998 posts)
2. I don't find the news funny...
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 04:23 PM
Dec 2014

... OTOH, I find the way that some people are immune to reality when it contradicts their artificial constructs quite funny.

Something else I don't find funny: Japan censors Fukushima news.

Thanks for proving my point.


(55,745 posts)
7. Helen Caldicott doesn't 'claim' anything.
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 04:58 PM
Dec 2014

Helen Caldicott, MD

The single most articulate and passionate advocate of citizen action to remedy the nuclear and environmental crises, Dr Helen Caldicott, has devoted the last forty two years to an international campaign to educate the public about the medical hazards of the nuclear age and the necessary changes in human behavior to stop environmental destruction.

Born in Melbourne, Australia in 1938, Dr Caldicott received her medical degree from the University of Adelaide Medical School in 1961. She founded the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic at the Adelaide Children’s Hospital in 1975 and subsequently was an instructor in pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and on the staff of the Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Boston, Mass., until 1980 when she resigned to work full time on the prevention of nuclear war.

In 1971, Dr Caldicott played a major role in Australia’s opposition to French atmospheric nuclear testing in the Pacific; in 1975 she worked with the Australian trade unions to educate their members about the medical dangers of the nuclear fuel cycle, with particular reference to uranium mining.

While living in the United States from 1977 to 1986, she played a major role in re-invigorating as President, Physicians for Social Responsibility, an organization of 23,000 doctors committed to educating their colleagues about the dangers of nuclear power, nuclear weapons and nuclear war. On trips abroad she helped start similar medical organizations in many other countries. The international umbrella group (International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War) won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. She also founded the Women’s Action for Nuclear Disarmament (WAND) in the US in 1980.

Returning to Australia in 1987, Dr Caldicott ran for Federal Parliament as an independent. Defeating Charles Blunt, leader of the National Party, through preferential voting she ultimately lost the election by 600 votes out of 70,000 cast.

She moved back to the United States in 1995, where she lectured at the New School for Social Research on the Media, Global Politics and the Environment; hosted a weekly radio talk show on WBAI (Pacifica)in New York; and was the Founding President of the STAR (Standing for Truth About Radiation) Foundation on Long Island.

Dr Caldicott has received many prizes and awards for her work, including the Lannan Foundation’s 2003 Prize for Cultural Freedom and twenty one honorary doctoral degrees. She was personally nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Linus Pauling – himself a Nobel Laureate. The Smithsonian has named Dr Caldicott as one of the most influential women of the 20th Century. She has written for numerous publications and has authored seven books, Nuclear Madness (1978 and 1994 WW Norton) , Missile Envy (1984 William Morrow, 1985 Bantam, 1986 Bantam) , If You Love This Planet: A Plan to Heal the Earth (1992, W.W. Norton); A Desperate Passion: An Autobiography (1996, W.W. Norton; published as A Passionate Life in Australia by Random House);The New Nuclear Danger: George Bush’s Military Industrial Complex (2001, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Scribe Publishing in Australia and New Zealand; Lemniscaat Publishers in The Netherlands; and Hugendubel Verlag in Germany); Nuclear Power is Not the Answer (2006, The New Press in the US, UK and UK; Melbourne University Press in Australia) War In Heaven (The New Press 2007); revised and updated If You Love This Planet (March 2009); and Loving This Planet (The New Press; 2013).

She also has been the subject of several films, including Eight Minutes to Midnight, nominated for an Academy Award in 1981, If You Love This Planet, which won the Academy Award for best documentary in 1982, and Helen’s War: Portrait of a Dissident, recipient of the Australian Film Institute Awards for Best Direction (Documentary) 2004, and the Sydney Film Festival Dendy Award for Best Documentary in 2004.

Dr Caldicott currently divides her time between Australia and the US where she lectures widely. In year 2001, she founded the US-based Nuclear Policy Research Institute (NPRI), which became Beyond Nuclear. Currently, Dr Caldicott is President of The Helen CaldicottFoundation/NuclearFreePlanet.org, which initiates symposiums and other educational projects to inform the public and the media of the dangers of nuclear power and weapons. The mission of the Foundation is education to action, and the promotion of a nuclear-energy and weapons-free, renewable energy powered, world.

The Foundation’s most recent symposium, co-sponsored by Physicians for Social Responsibility was held at the New York Academy of Medicine in March 2013, 2013. It was entitled The Medical and Environmental Consequences of Fukushima helencaldicottfoundation.org, download at http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=hcf.

A book – Crisis Without End — emanating from the conference proceedings and edited by Dr. Caldicott will be published by The New Press in the Spring of 2014.

From 2010 to 2013 Dr Caldicott hosted a weekly radio show If You Love This Planet which aired on many community and other public radio stations internationally. From 2007 to 2009 she was also a member of the International Scientific Advisory Board convened by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the then Prime Minister of Spain.

SOURCE w/ links and CV: http://www.helencaldicott.com/about/

Gee, an MD who's accomplished all that. As I've just a lowly BA, I admire her accomplishments. What's your degree in, FBaggins?


(26,998 posts)
9. I appreciate your desire to spam her bio... but you're missing a few paragraphs
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 05:25 PM
Dec 2014

I admire quire a few of her accomplishments as well. Particularly her decades of fighting against nuclear weapons proliferation.

For some reason, I just can't find the lines that document any health physics eduction, or radiation expertise... or anything having to do with thyroid cancer. You know... something that would make her any more authoritative on the subject than a "lowly BA" ? Did you spam the wrong part of her bio by mistake?

As for me? Undergrad work was in physics and philosophy - post-grad level work has been in econ/finance



(16,184 posts)
3. What I find hilarious
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 04:32 PM
Dec 2014

is people treating ENENews, Helen Caldicott, and Arnie Gunderson as reliable sources of information about nuclear power and radiation.


(55,745 posts)
10. Arnie Gunderson is more reliable than TEPCO.
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 06:03 PM
Dec 2014

As far as Fukushima, Chernobyl and Three Mile Island go, Gunderson has been shown to be more reliable than the NRC.

In sworn testimony in Monroe, Michigan, the NRC admitted that it has stripped whistleblower protection from the licensing of new nuclear power plants. By flip-flopping on what it means to be an applicant, the whistleblowers who are truly looking to protect the public health and safety are having their lives and livelihoods jeopardized. Fairewinds Chief Engineer Arnie Gundersen discusses what this means as utilities look for short cuts and cheaper ways to build new nukes.

SOURCE w/links: http://www.fairewinds.org/nrc-strips-whistleblower-protections/#sthash.9RopU3eY.dpbs

So, there's that.


(16,184 posts)
12. "Arnie Gunderson is totally right you guys." - Arnie Gunderson
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 06:44 PM
Dec 2014

Speaking of Chernobyl, didn't Dr. Caldicott predict there were going to be one million deaths?


(26,998 posts)
8. Here's the closest that I can find
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 05:01 PM
Dec 2014

I'm sure the original is available in Japanese somewhere.

Scroll down to Identification of gene clusters related to initiation of thyroid cancer and elucidation of pathogenesis in children and young adults


Response to FBaggins (Original post)


(27,247 posts)
15. Let's put some things into perspective
Thu Dec 4, 2014, 08:42 PM
Dec 2014

First of all, the survey was taken of around 300,000 people in Fukushima Prefecture who were 18 years or younger when the reactors exploded. It did not cover young women age 19 or older at the time, who are among the most susceptible group to thyroid cancer, which was the only cancer examined in the study.

Secondly, Fukushima Prefecture is as big as Connecticut. The nuclear plants are at the easternmost part of the prefecture. The radiation from the explosions did not spread evenly over the prefecture due to prevailing winds and mountains. The hottest spots in the prefecture were mostly along a line running northwest from the reactors, for a distance of about 20-25 miles.

The area with the highest radiation levels, the so-called 12-mile exclusion zone, was evacuated almost immediately, and much of that area is still off-limits to permanent inhabitation. So the evacuation and subsequent depopulation of the area likely made a significant contribution to keeping the thyroid cancer rate down.

However, the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's 2nd largest daily newspaper posted an interesting graphic about thyroid cancer rates within the prefecture:


It shows a map of Fukushima Prefecture with extrapolated thyroid cancer rates for the study group per 100,000 population for 4 regions in the prefecture.

The red dot shows the location of the reactors. The blue area around that includes the 12-mile exclusion zone, and another zone that was put on alert for possible evacuation. The green area is the Hamadori region, and the orange area is the Nakadori region. The yellow area on the far left (western side of the prefecture) is the Aizu region. The Aizu region was spared the worst of the radiation, and the thyroid cancer rates there are the lowest in the prefecture. On the other hand, the thyroid cancer rates in the Hamadori and Nakadori regions are nearly 33% higher than the rate in Aizu.


(26,998 posts)
16. Yes and no
Fri Dec 5, 2014, 01:10 PM
Dec 2014
First of all, the survey was taken of around 300,000 people in Fukushima Prefecture who were 18 years or younger when the reactors exploded. It did not cover young women age 19 or older at the time, who are among the most susceptible group to thyroid cancer, which was the only cancer examined in the study.

It only included thyroid cancer because that's by far the most likely cancer to result from a reactor failure. At the dose rates involved, thyroid cancers a few years from now are the only thing that experts expect to be able to spot.

Plus, they aren't interested in thyroid cancer rates in general populations, they're interested in thyroid cancers that are induced by radiation exposure. For those, there's no question that the younger the subject is, the more at risk they are (because the effective dose is higher). <18 is widely agreed to be the appropriate group.

On a side note - this too was strong evidence that the thyroid cancers identified in the study had nothing to do with Fukushima. The most at-risk (from radiation) population (the youngest kids in the study) had essentially no cancers at all. Hinting strongly that the study is showing us that thyroid cancers in general are more common than we thought... but they aren't identified in most people who get them until they are much older (because the standard screening can't spot them).

So the evacuation and subsequent depopulation of the area likely made a significant contribution to keeping the thyroid cancer rate down.

Close enough. The depopulation didn't help much because radiation-induced thyroid cancer comes from I131 exposure... and that was gone quite quickly.

However, the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's 2nd largest daily newspaper posted an interesting graphic about thyroid cancer rates within the prefecture:

That's probably inadvertent cherry-picking on your part. It leaves the reader with the false impression that there's a dose relationship with the thyroid cancer rates, and that's absolutely not the case. Also...the plume maps that you've seen are almost exclusively for the longer-lived cesium contamination. The radioiodine plumes were not the same.

Here's a site with far more data (from the post above) - http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.com/

You'll note that there's a fairly standard statistical variation all across the map. You can easily find spots with higher I131 doses and higher thyroid cancer rates as well as those with lower doses and lower cancer rates. If you cherry-pick them intentionally (ala Mangano & Sherman) then you can make it look like there's a relationship. The problem is that there are also lots of spots with high exposure and lower than average cancer rates along with spots with virtually no exposure (in some cases - hundreds of miles upwind with no exposure at all) that have higher than average cancer rates.


(27,247 posts)
17. The fact remains, the Fukushima region with the least exposure to radiation from the explosions
Sat Dec 6, 2014, 05:09 AM
Dec 2014

has the lowest thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima, while the regions closer to the reactors have much higher rates.

The radioactive iodine remained in the environment long after the explosions. This map released by the American Health Physics Society and "generated by researchers from the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the United States Department of Energy after they analyzed radiation data that had been gathered jointly between April 2nd and 3rd of 2011", shows that iodine hot spots extended well beyond the 12-mile/20km exclusion zone even 3 weeks after the explosions.

The evacuations started almost immediately after the explosions. But radioactive iodine was still being released into the environment long after that, and into non-evacuation areas where people were still living-- [b[especially in the region with the highest rate of thyroid cancer.

People who were in the evacuation zones often evacuated and eventually relocated to places outside Fukushima Prefecture, including where I live 100 miles south, so it is not clear if they were included in the study.

And according to a World Health Organization report, "thyroid cancer takes a minimum of three years to develop".


These thyroid cancer surveys started before the 3rd anniversary of the explosions. The most recent one was conducted just a few months after the 3rd anniversary. So it is premature to claim that the accidents have had no effect on thyroid cancer. And that is not taking into account other diseases that might result from prolonged exposure to radiation, such as leukemia.

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