Radiation in Medicine

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Uses of Radiation in Medicine
Nuclear Chemistry and the Field of Medicine: A Union

Shan Gupta, Yahoo! Contributor Network
Jul 2, 2009 "Contribute content like this. Start Here."

Applications of Radiation in the Field of Medicine


With the discovery of radiation in the late 1800's by Antoine Henri Becquerel, Marie Curie, and Pierre Curie, the powers of the atom were seemingly multiplied greatly. With this new power of the atom also came new uses for it, especially in the field of medicine. In fact, just a decade after Marie and Pierre Curie coined the term "radioactivity" doctor Frederick Proescher was able to harness this newfound power and to use it, theoretically, to treat various diseases. The following are some of the common uses of radiation in today's growing field of medicine:

I. Tracers

• Tracers are used to obtain images of a patients inner body- images of places that would otherwise be inaccessible

• The tracer is a very small amount of a radioactive isotope with a short half-life; These two factors are necessary in the selection of a good tracer because they ensure that the radioactive material does not stay in the body for too long; some common tracers are listed below:

Iodine 1 ( half-life of 31 8.1 days, used for diagnoses of thyroid problems)

Iron 59 (half-life of 45.1 days, used to examine red blood cells)

Molybdenum 99 (half- life of 67 hours, used to study metabolism)

Phosphorous 32 (half-life of 14.3 days, used to study the eyes, liver, and tumors)

Chromium 51 (half-life of 27.8 days, used to study red blood cells)

Strontium (half-life of 87 2.8 hours, used to study bones)

Sodium 24 (half-life of 14.8 hours, used to study the circulatory system)

• Tracers are usually injected into a person's blood stream so that it can reach any organ that the examiner wants to target

o Specific Example: Iodine 131

·On the suspicion that a person's thyroid gland is not working properly, a...
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