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Adult Health Study (AHS)

The Adult Health Study (AHS) is a clinical research program based on biennial health examinations. It's major objective is to investigate the long-term effects of A-bomb radiation on health. About 20,000 subjects selected from the Life Span Study (LSS) cohort have been followed since 1958, with an additional 2,400 LSS participants and 1,000 in utero-exposed persons added to the study in 1977. The examinations include a general physical exam, ECG, chest X-ray, ultrasonography, and biochemical tests. Using the data collected during these examinations, it is possible to conduct long-term follow-up studies of the prevalence and incidence of diseases and changes in physiological and biochemical endpoints. Long-term observation of the changes in measurement values, such as blood pressure, benefits participants and contributes to the health management of the A-bomb survivors.

The major research elements of the AHS may be characterized as follows:
  1. Relationship of radiation to non-cancer diseases (benign tumors, cardiovascular disease, and other chronic diseases)
  2. Study of cancer mechanisms in relation to radiation and other risk factors
  3. Aging and psychosocial changes associated with A-bomb radiation exposure
  4. Radiation-related changes in physiological measurements
  5. Medical dosimetry
In the AHS, the medical history of each individual (morbidity, treatment, examination, etc.) and information on lifestyle (exercise, nutrition, smoking, etc.) are collected. Therefore, an evaluation of radiation effects can take these factors into consideration. In addition to the general examination, special tests, such as measurement of bone mineral content and gynecological examinations, can also be conducted if warranted. Special emphasis is also placed on screening for skin, breast, and thyroid cancers, cataracts, and liver diseases. The results of each examination are reported to the individual.

The findings from this program are useful in other epidemiological studies as well. One is the Ni-Hon-San (Nippon [Japan], Honolulu, and San Francisco) cardiovascular disease study, in which the Adult Health Study participants are compared with persons of Japanese origin living in Honolulu and San Francisco to see how the differences in environment, diet, and lifestyle influence the incidence of cardiovascular diseases and mortality.