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Suffering Made Real American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima cover
  • ISBN: 9780226482378
  • ISBN10: 0226482375

Suffering Made Real American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima

by M. Susan Lindee

  • List Price: $56.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 11/01/1994
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The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August of 1945 unleashed a form of energy as mysterious as it was deadly. Suffering Made Real is the compelling story of the first attempts to understand how radiation affected the survivors of the atomic bomb and subsequent generations of Japanese. Arguing that Cold War politics and cultural values fundamentally shaped this scientific research, M. Susan Lindee examines the daily workings, expectations, purposes, and limitations of a project that raises disturbing questions about the ethical implications of using human subjects in scientific research. In 1946, an American scientific agency, the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission (ABCC), was established in Japan to study the long-term biomedical effects of radiation on the survivors. Over the next twenty-nine years, American scientists and physicians, with funding from the Atomic Energy Commission, published hundreds of papers documenting the effects of radiation on aging, life span, fertility, and disease. In 1975, the agency was renamed and reorganized to permit greater Japanese input. How did the emerging Cold War affect the work of the ABCC? What problems seemed most important to ABCC scientists in their interpretation and public presentation of their data? Why did the ABCC have a "no-treatment" policy toward the survivors, one that conflicted with the ABCC's actual practices? Through a detailed examination of ABCC policies, archival materials, the minutes of committee meetings, newspaper accounts, and interviews with ABCC scientists, Lindee demonstrates how political and cultural interests were reflected in the day-to-day operations of this controversial research program. Set in aperiod of conflicting views on nuclear weapons and nuclear power, Suffering Made Real follows the course of a politically charged research program and reveals in detail how politics and cultural values can shape the conduct, results, and uses of science. As scientists, politicians, and health care professionals have become sensitized to the ethical problems of research on human subjects, this book speaks not only to the painful legacy of the atomic bomb, but also to contemporary concerns about the biomedical use of potentially dangerous substances on patients, children, prisoners, and other vulnerable citizens.
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