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TERATOLOGY 59:181 (1999)
Introduction
ROBERT L. BRENT
The members of the Program Committee would like
to thank the Officers and Board of the National Council
for Radiation Protection (NCRP) for approving the topic
for the 1997 Annual Meeting. The topic we have chosen
is one of great interest to scientists and the public who
are unfamiliar with the activities of the NCRP. We will
be discussing the reproductive risks and effects of all
forms of radiation from exposures that occur before
conception and from exposures during pregnancy. The
first portion of the program will deal with the scientific
data pertaining to the preconception and intrauterine
reproductive risks of ionizing radiation, microwaves,
low frequency electromagnetic fields, and ultrasound.
We will be examining the effects of these various forms
of radiation on the offspring of parents who were
exposed prior to conception and the offspring of mothers
who were exposed during pregnancy. Our purpose is to
provide you with the reproductive risks following exposures to the various forms of radiation that are related
to the physical nature of the radiation and the exposure. Some of these effects are deterministic (threshold)
phenomena, and some are stochastic phenomena for
r 1999 WILEY-LISS, INC.
which there is no hypothetical threshold. Following the
scientific presentations, we shall examine the impact of
the public’s perception of these risks and the news
media’s views of these risks. Besides the usual presentations of epidemiological studies and animal studies,
we shall be emphasizing two other parameters that are
important in providing a more accurate interpretation
of the scientific data. The first concept is the importance
of meticulous clinical evaluation of the participants in
epidemiological studies. It is not uncommon that excellent clinical evaluations performed on individual patients or as part of epidemiological studies may support
or refute the suggestion that the effects observed were
caused by a radiation exposure. The second concept
deals with the importance of using the basic principles
of reproductive biology, teratology, developmental biology, and genetics as part of any evaluation of either
animal studies or epidemiological studies.
We shall begin by discussing the basic science concepts that pertain to reproductive toxicology, developmental biology, teratology, and genetics.
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