Effects on the Aging Process
Animal experiments have shown that radiation exposure shortens the lifespan. The results were once interpreted as being due to radiation-induced non-specific acceleration of aging, but later studies showed that tumor induction accounted for essentially all of the life shortening.
In studies of A-bomb survivors, there is little or no evidence for non-specific accelerated aging in most physiologic parameters or morphologic effects (e.g., radiation dose is unrelated to breathing capacity, ability to focus vision, skin elasticity, grip strength, and hearing ability, or to tissue differences at autopsy). However, radiation-related increases are seen in the prevalence of cataract and atherosclerosis, as well as in altered immune-inflammatory serum protein levels. Continued data collection is necessary to determine whether radiation exposure leads to non-specific aging.