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Consensus Study Report


Written by world-renowned scientists, this volume portrays the possible direct and indirect devastation of human health from a nuclear attack. The most comprehensive work yet produced on this subject, The Medical Implications of Nuclear War includes an overview of the potential environmental and physical effects of nuclear bombardment, describes the problems of choosing who among the injured would get the scarce medical care available, addresses the nuclear arms race from a psychosocial perspective, and reviews the medical needs—in contrast to the medical resources likely to be available—after a nuclear attack. "It should serve as the definitive statement on the consequences of nuclear war." —Arms Control Today

Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. 1986. The Medical Implications of Nuclear War. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

640 pages |  6 x 9 |  Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-309-07866-5
Chapters skim
Front Matter i-xx
Understanding and Preventing Nuclear War: The Expanding Role of the Scientific Community 1-12
Part I: Nuclear War with Modern Weapons: Physical Effects and Environmental Consequences 13-14
1 Possible Fatalities from Superfires Following Nuclear Attacks in or near Urban Areas 15-72
2 A Review of the Physics of Large Urban Fires 73-95
3 Recent Assessments of the Environmental Consequences of Nuclear War 96-116
4 Nuclear Famine: The Indirect Effects of Nuclear War 117-135
5 Nuclear Winter: The State of the Science 136-140
6 Atmospheric Perturbations of Large-Scale Nuclear War 141-154
7 Possible Toxic Environments Following a Nuclear War 155-166
8 Radioactive Fallout 167-204
Part II: Health Consequences of Nuclear War 205-206
9 Casualties Due to the Blast, Heat, and Radioactive Fallout from Various Hypothetical Nuclear Attacks on the United States 207-232
10 Acute Radiation Mortality in a Nuclear War 233-250
11 Burn and Blast Casualties: Triage in Nuclear War 251-283
12 Food and Nutrition in the Aftermath of Nuclear War 284-289
13 Psychological Consequences of Disaster: Analogies for the Nuclear Case 290-316
14 The Immunological Impact of Nuclear Warfare 317-328
15 Expected Incidence of Cancer Following Nuclear War 329-336
16 Genetic Consequences of Nuclear War 337-346
Part III: Medical Resource Needs and Availability Following Nuclear War 347-348
17 Medical Supply and Demand in a Post-Nuclear-War World 349-380
18 The Consequences of Nuclear War: An Economic and Social Perspective 381-410
Part IV: Images and Risks of Nuclear War: Psychosocial Perspectives 411-412
19 Children's and Adolescents' Perceptions of the Threat of Nuclear War: Implications of Recent Studies 413-434
20 Scandinavian Youth View the Future: A Preliminary Report of a Large Questionnaire Survey 435-443
21 Adult Beliefs, Feelings, and Actions Regarding Nuclear War: Evidence from Surveys and Experiments 444-466
22 Hope and the Denial of Stress in the Nuclear Age 467-473
23 The Nuclear Arms Race and the Psychology of Power 474-484
24 Managerial Demands of Modern Weapons Systems 485-489
25 Sources of Human Instability in the Handling of Nuclear Weapons 490-528
26 The Impact of Crisis-Induced Stress on Decision Making 529-552
Part V: Long-Term Consequences of and Prospects for Recovery from Nuclear War: Two Views 553-554
27 View I 555-565
28 View II 566-580
Concluding Remarks 581-582
Summary and Perspective: With Some Observations on Informed Consent 583-588
Glossary 589-598
Biographies of Contributors 599-606
Index 607-620

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