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In an article published in PLOS ONE, Brazilian researchers describe the first retrospective dosimetric study by electron spin resonance spectroscopy using human tissue from nuclear attack victims (photo: release) By Karina Toledo | Agência FAPESP – The bombing of the Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States in 1945 was the first and only use of nuclear weapons against civilian targets.
A series of studies began in its aftermath to measure the impact of the fallout, in terms of both the radiation dose to which the victims were exposed and the effects of this exposure on DNA and health in general.
Her supervisor was then Oswaldo Baffa, Full Professor at the University of São Paulo’s Ribeirão Preto School of Philosophy, Science & Letters (FFCLRP-USP).
“We used a technique known as electron spin resonance spectroscopy to perform retrospective dosimetry.
The samples were again irradiated in the laboratory using a technique called the additive dose method.
“We added radiation to the material and measured the rise in the dosimetric signal,” Baffa explained.
Techniques like this can help identify who has been exposed to radioactive fallout and needs treatment.” As Kinoshita explained, the study is unique insofar as it used samples of human tissue from victims of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
“There were serious doubts about the feasibility of using this methodology to determine the radiation dose deposited in these samples, because of the processes involved in the episode,” she said.
The investigation was conducted during the postdoctoral research of Angela Kinoshita, currently a professor at Universidade do Sagrado Coração in Bauru, São Paulo State.
“They gave me a jawbone, and I decided to measure the radiation right there, at Hiroshima University,” he said.
“I needed to prove experimentally that my discovery was genuine.” Mascarenhas succeeded in demonstrating that a dosimetric signal could be obtained from the sample even though the technology was still rudimentary and there were no computers to help process the results.
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