Tuesday, April 02, 2013

The doctor will see you now.

Last month, I was contacted by the group International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War/ Physicians in Social Responsibility (IPPNW).  In the March issue of their members magazine IPPNW Forum, they were publishing an article by Dr. Alex Rosen,  a pediatrician who writes about the health effects of Fukushima, particularly on children.  They had seen my photographs of children undergoing thyroid tests on my blog (HERE) and wanted permission to use one of them to accompany Dr. Rosen's article.

I was honoured that a medical journal was interested in using my work, but before I agreed, I wanted to know what Dr. Rosen's article was going to be about.  The office contacted him for me and he e-mailed right away.  He told me he was "on a Sabbatical, traveling in the Indian Himalayas" at the time so to please understand any delay in getting back to me.

I asked him if he could summerize for me his personal opinion on the situation after having spent time researching the situation in Minamisoma, Fukushima (a place where I have also spent much time filming).  Then, for some reason, I felt the need to add this at the end of the e-mail:

I am not an anti-nuclear activist; I am simply a filmmaker who is documenting the very real fears that the mothers in Fukushima have for their children.

Dr. Rosen's reply:

Greetings from Bodhgaya, India... Internet here isn't great, so very briefly to answer your question:

Thyroid nodules and cysts in children are not necessarily a precursor to cancer and therefore do not necessarily pose a health risk. They can be monitored and more invasive diagnostics (like scintigraphy or even fine-needle biopsy) are rarely necessary and only come into play when the symptoms get worse (i.e. the cysts or nodules bigger or irregular). However, these findings are generally not found in healthy children. A study performed in Nagasaki in 2000, only 0.8% of the children showed thyroid cysts and none showed any kind of nodule (N = 250), while the study in Fukushima from 2012 showed thyroid nodules in about 1% of children aged 0-18 and thyroid cysts in about 35.1% (N = 38,114). Therefore, these cases should be well monitored, as they possibly have a higher risk for thyroid cancer - a big problem in the pediatric population affected by the Chernobyl disaster fallout.

And then Dr. Rosen added:

P.S.: Every good war journalist is always an anti-war journalist ;)

The hard copy of the IPPNW Forum arrived in the mail today.  I am so honoured to have my photograph published alongside Dr. Rosen's research.  The article can be found online, HERE.

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