Reaching Out To Russian Immigrants Who May Have Been Exposed To Radiation From Chernobyl

Study Focuses on Brooklyn Population

(2001) -- Researchers at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary have discovered a marked increase in the incidence of thyroid disorders, especially benign and malignant tumors, among the Russian immigrant population in Brooklyn.

They are now focusing on immigrants from the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia to determine if they may have been harmed by exposure to the radiation fallout from Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst nuclear power plant explosion in 1986. There are approximately 300,000 former Soviet Union immigrants in the metro region.

Daniel Branovan, M.D., a Russian native who was trained in the United States as an ear, nose and throat specialist and is now at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, says: "Thyroid problems, including cancer, may persist among many of the immigrants in the Brooklyn area who were exposed to the radiation fallout 14 years ago."

To better understand the scope of the problem, he is conducting a formal research study to document how seriously the radiation fallout may have affected their health. Recently, he has conducted two screenings among over 400 immigrants in Brooklyn. As a result of these screenings, Dr. Branovan identified the high incidence of thyroid problems among the Russian population. He is expanding his research to establish if these abnormalities were caused by radiation exposure during the Chernobyl disaster.

To treat those patients with thyroid problems, The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has opened a new Thyroid Center, which has hours every Wednesday afternoon. The new center provides streamlined care in one setting by using an array of state-of-the-art technologies: thyroid ultrasound, fine needle biopsy, fluorescence spectroscopy and a fiber-optic laser technique to evaporate tumors.

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Media Information

If you are a reporter seeking to interview this or any other doctor at The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, please contact Jean Thomas, at (212) 979-4274, or Axel F. Bang, at (914) 234-5433.

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