A Dynamic Evolution of Nuclear Medicine Is Enough to Give an Interesting History

Nuclear medicine is a relatively new field of medical treatment. First time it was used in 1950s and later on recognized as a medical specialty in 1971. Now, there are almost 100 different nuclear medical imaging procedures available for the treatment of disease. The history of nuclear medicine is very dynamic as well as rich because of the involvement of many disciplines including chemistry, physics, medicine, and engineering. Therefore it is difficult to pin point for medical historians to determine the exact birth date of nuclear medicine. Originally, the artificial radioactive was discovered in 1934 and the production of radionuclides started in 1946 in the Oak Ridge National laboratory.

Many historians believe that radioisotopes were artificially produced by Fredric Joliot-Curie and Irene Joliot –Curie in 1934. Radiation monitoring equipments allowed the distribution of the radioisotopes to be determined, either in-vivo or in-vitro. The large improvement in technology that occurred over a period of time became more sophisticated and automated systems of scanning- rectilinear scanner.

In December 1946, nuclear medicine gained public recognition as the potential diagnosis method. The earliest use of I-131 was devoted to therapy of thyroid cancer and later on it included the imaging of the thyroid gland, thyroid function and therapy of hyperthyroidism. In the history of nuclear medicine Benedict Cassen is known for the development of rectilinear scanner and Hal O. Anger for scintillation camera, which extended the discipline of nuclear medicine into a full-fledged medical imaging specialty.

The recent developments in nuclear medicine show the invention of the first position emission tomography scanner (PET). The PET/CT applications in oncology have led to phenomenal growth and widespread acceptance over the last few years.


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