Study detects blood changes in Fukushima monkeys

It is hypothesized that radiation contributed to changes in the blood. Local monkeys have fewer white and red blood cells.

Blood tests on monkeys living in the Fukushima region after the nuclear catastrophe showed a lower presence of white and red blood cells, which could cause greater vulnerability in these primates, a study published on Thursday. July 2014) in the journal "Scientific Reports" of the "Nature" group.

Between April 2012 and March 2013, the team from Shin-ichi Hayama (Japanese University of Life and Veterinary Sciences) analyzed the blood of 61 monkeys living within 70 km of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, damaged by the tsunami. March 11, 2011.

To provide a point of comparison, scientists also analyzed the blood of 31 monkeys on the Shimokita Peninsula, 400 km from the nuclear power plant.

"Compared to Shimokita monkeys, Fukushima apes had significantly smaller amounts of white and red blood cells, hemoglobin and hematocrit," the researchers said.

"The results suggest that exposure to radioactive substances contributed to hematological changes in Fukushima monkeys," they added.

While excluding infectious disease or malnutrition as another possible cause of the changes, they cautioned that further studies will be needed to confirm their findings.