[ RadSafe ] AW: The Luan Story

Rainer.Facius at dlr.de Rainer.Facius at dlr.de
Mon Sep 11 02:47:17 CDT 2006

Dear Prof. Becker,

I am inclined to take your word as sufficient regarding the so far inadequate presentation of the epidemiological part of the Taiwanese experience.

Utterly deficient however in my view is the reason offered by the Taiwanese officials that a proper publication of these readily available epidemiological data has been forborne since cancer incidence and mortality were indistinguishable from the population average. For chronic exposures of up to 20 mSv per year such a finding would have been worth reporting, given the fact that today the vast majority of radiation workers is exposed to much, indeed very much lower doses and nevertheless regular updates of the corresponding epidemiological findings are published - which by the way usually are also compatible with the null-hypothesis of no effect!. 

As an exculpation of the Taiwanese experts one may of course allow for the improper reluctance of editors (improper if exercised without judgment) to publish statistically 'insignificant' results and the thereby activated self-censorship in our brains, but it is obvious that the failure to reject the null-hypotheses of no effect in this case would indeed have been a significant finding.

Kind regards, Rainer 

Dr. Rainer Facius
German Aerospace Center
Institute of Aerospace Medicine
Linder Hoehe
51147 Koeln
Voice: +49 2203 601 3147 or 3150
FAX:   +49 2203 61970

-----Ursprüngliche Nachricht-----
Von: owner-rad-sci-l at WPI.EDU [mailto:owner-rad-sci-l at WPI.EDU] Im Auftrag von Prof.Dr.Klaus.Becker at t-online.de
Gesendet: Sonntag, 10. September 2006 16:03
An: rad-sci-l at wpi.edu
Betreff: The Luan Story


just as a minor footnote to the highly interesting discussion currently going on between Rainer, Ted, and other RSH friends, I may give you an explanation why I never quote the Luan claims, to which we are exposed about once a week in rad-sci-l.

I first encountered him during the 1999 WONUC Symposium in Versailles. I remember how shocked the Chairman Andre Maisseu was by Luan's presentation, and that the session chairman tried to stop him from presenting his "data". 

Later, he submitted a paper to Nonlinearity. Even without believing in his data, I spent substantial time in transforming style and content into a publishable form. Independently, Zbigniew Jaworowski tried the same by almost rewriting the paper with all its self-citations and references to local Chinese newspapers and other obscure ducuments, etc. When we received the "revised" version from Dr. Luan, essentially nothing had been changed. No wonder that the journal co-editor, Linda Baldwin, reacted allergic when I once mentioned his name. 

In the meantime, I talked to the Taiwanese Ambassdor, who already hadf heard about this story and told me that it had even been mentioned in the parliament. He connected me to the responsible authority in Taipeh. >From them I received the results of careful measurments and dose reconstructions which have been published since, however without epidemiological data. I enquired about this and learned from colleagues in Taipeh that they had a good cancer register, and (considering age distribution, social status, etc.), the mortality and cancer rates in the Co 60 homes did, as one would have exspected, not differ from the population averages. 

Therefore, they did not see the necessity for further epidemiological studies. They reacted to Dr. Luan's crusade with a smile and a joke. Therefore, I seriously doubt that it benefits our cause if we continue to cite him as an shining example for nasty people surpressing the scientific truth.

Apologies for these open words reflecting my limited knowledge of the case. Of course, I would be delighted to rivise the above impressions if any solid evidence should become available. Incidentally, fully support Don Higson's proposal to compile the recent discussion into a summary paper to be publsished in a popular science magezine, preferably with Ludwig Feinendegen also being involved.

Greetings from sunny Berlin                          Klaus  

Prof. Dr. Klaus Becker
Boothstr. 27, D-12207 Berlin
Phone/Fax +49(0)30-7721284

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