This paper reports the results of our efforts to detect an influence of the spleen on the recovery of those human beings exposed to ionizing radiation in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Two hundred and ninety-one heavily scarred survivors of the atomic bombings are included in this study. The results indicate that Hiroshima survivors with scars under the age of 30 at the time of the bomb and exposed at less than 1300 meters from the hypocenter tolerated splenic irradiation poorly. Bone marrow depression and failure secondary to splenic irradiation is offered as the most likely explanation for this finding. It was further noted that splenic irradiation was accompanied by more frequent epilation and fever in survivors with scars who were 30 years or over at the time of the bomb. The conclusions drawn in this paper are based on the assumptions that the orientation of scarred survivors at the time of the bomb with respect to the hypocenter was random, that distance from the hypocenter is a reliable index of exposure, that any shielding was either negligible or distributed uniformly among the scarred population, and finally that any observed effects were actually due to an influence of the spleen.

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