OF THE HEALTH CONDITION OF CHILDREN RESIDING IN THE CHERNOBYL ZONE
During the entire period of its existence the Gomel Medical Institute
has been carrying out intensive studies of the problem of radiation
effects upon the human organism. The health condition of many thousands
of children and adults has been investigated, the results of immunological,
hematological and biochemical studies have been evaluated, the morphological
and structural condition of vital organs has been examined among
the individuals living in the Gomel region ind those who suddenly
died of various diseases or in Gomel hospitals.
The following methodological approaches have been employed: 1. Evaluation
of the medical and biological effects in response to the concentration
ofradioisotopes incorporated by the organism. 2. Investigation of
the pathological process clinically and by simulating it among experimental
laboratory animals (the clinical and experimental approach). 3.
Investigation of the structural, functional and metabolic modifications
evolving in the entire organism, in individual organs and systems
(the morphofunctional approach). 4. Evaluation of the severity of
pathological conditions with the consideration of disorders of integrative
processes in the organism. in order to combine the modifications
evolving in different organs into an integral pathological process
(the integrative approach).
The results allow to draw the following conclusions: The health
condition of the children and adults living in the areas contaminated
with radiocesium tends to deteriorate, the fact is invariably evidenced
by the indicators of mortality and birth rate. A pronounced relationship
has been revealed between the structures and functions of vital
organs in response to the concentration of incorporated radiocesium.
Injuries of the myocardium, kidneys and liver cause specific concern.
The pathology of the cardiovascular system is registered in the
form of functional modifications already among the preschool children
aggravating as radiocesium in the organism accumulates [2,3].
Analysis of sections has indicated that the injury of the myocardium
is registered in 98.6% of deaths due to various diseases. Diffusive
injury of muscular cells typical for the toxic radiocesium effect
is noteworthy. Dystrophic modifications of the myocardium are accompanied
by pronounced radiocesium incorporation (84 sudden deaths have manifested
its average accumulation 26.1 Bq/kg). Pronounced damage of kidneys
is noteworthy after it has been registered in 88.8% sudden deaths
as well as among the cases of deaths in Gomel hospitals. In the
majority of cases this condition had not been registered during
life. Damage of this organ is characterized by the disappearance
of structural and functional components, primarily glomerules, manifested
by a typical histological pattern. The tissues of the organ would
manifest pronounced accumulation of radiocesium (36.5 Bq/kg on the
average). The results of experimental injections of "pure" 137Cs
solution into the organisms of laboratory animals allow to assert
that the above modifications have been caused by the toxic effects
of this radioisotope. Damage of kidneys is one of the main causes
of accumulation of radiocesium and products of metabolism in the
organism and their toxic effect upon the myocardium. Its condition
governs high mortality rate among adult population. Grave pathological
changes in the liver tissues are noteworthy, such as fat hepatosis
and cirrhosis. This organ would accumulate 28.1 Bq/kg of radiocesium
on the average.
Disorders of the immunity functions manifest themselves by the suppressed
activity ofneutrophil leukocytes, IgA generation, intensified allergic
responses in the organism . Disorders of endocrine functions
induced by radiocesium become specifically manifest during pregnancy.
Accumulation of the radioisotope in the placenta alters production
of a number of hormones in the mother-fetus system. It relates primarily
to testosterone, estradiol, cortisone, thyroxin, triiodine thyronin.
The above modifications are accompanied by the pathologies during
parturition and in the post-natal period when separation of the
placenta and the afterbirth are inhibited, and by chronic fetus
intrauterine hypoxy . The organ of vision requires specific attention.
It incorporates over 50 Bq/kg of 137Cs in the areas where contamination
exceeds 15 Ci/km2, cataracts are observed in 25% of cases . Considering
the above facts, it can be asserted that incorporation of radiocesium
induces the evolution of structural and metabolic disorders in vital
organs and systems with lethal outcomes in a number of cases. These
modifications can be integrated into the syndrome of incorporated
long-living radioisotopes (SLLR) with the degree of its expression
directly proportional to the concentration of incorporated radiocesium.
The above facts allow to conclude that radiocesium negatively influences
the organisms of individuals living in the areas affected by the
Chernobyl disaster, primarily through the toxic effect upon vital
organs, such as the heart, liver and kidneys. Neglected assessment
of their condition, with resultant inappropriate treatment, leads
invariably to the death of the organism. The situation is aggravated
by the effect of various attendant negative factors, such as nicotine,
alcohol, hypodynamism, infectious agents. Based on the presented
facts, a conclusion can be made that a comprehensive program of
life support is required in order to resist the effects of long
living radioactive elements and its immediate implementation.