- OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian and U.S. researchers used radioactivity
in castration experiments on psychiatric patients in Norwegian hospitals
during the Cold War, the daily Dagbladet said on Tuesday.
- Patients considered to be mentally retarded
or insane were used as human guinea-pigs to test the biological and genetic
effects of X-ray radiation on the body. Dagbladet said the experiments
were carried out at the Gaustad, Rikshospital and Ullevaal institutions
in Oslo during the 1950s and 1960s.
- ``An unknown number of experiments were
undertaken in all secrecy at many Norwegian hospitals after the war when
the nuclear threat and arms race were at their worst,'' the daily said.
``The retarded and insane were used, among other things, in trials for
X-ray castration, a method used by German Nazi doctors during World War
Two in the Auschwitz and Ravensbrueck concentration camps.''
- Fredrik Mellbye, 81, a close colleague
of the then director for health services, Karl Evangs, and also a member
of the atomic energy board from 1961 to 1972, told the newspaper that hospital
records would prove the tests had taken place. He declined to say how many
Norwegians were used in the tests. ``I cannot remember that anyone at any
time put their foot down to stop what was happening,'' Mellbye told Dagbladet.
``Both authorities in the health services, psychiatrists and other doctors
knew what was going on.''
- The story recalls revelations about forced
sterilisation in several European countries, including Sweden and Norway,
last year. Sweden said that 60,000 women were forcibly sterilised between
1936 and 1976.
- Mellbye said the experiments were carried
out with the cooperation of Americans ``at the highest level'' and that
Evangs encouraged Norwegian doctors to seek U.S. financial support for
the test. Dagbladet said public investigations in the United States have
revealed that authorities there financed around 4,000 such experiments
on humans between 1944 and 1994.