Nuclear Medicine and Radioactivity
Nuclear medicine constitutes that branch of medical imaging and medicine which utilizes radioactive isotopes. The technique is dependent on the phenomenon of radioactive decay for diagnosis as well as treatment of diseases. Moreover, the diseases are treated on the basis of physiology and cellular function instead of anatomy.
The method of administering radiotracers or radiopharmaceuticals is decided by the kind of medical exam required by the patient. The radiotracer could be introduced into the veins, inhaled in the form of a gas or swallowed. The material gets accumulated within the area which is undergoing examination; here energy is released as gamma rays. The energy produced by radiotracers is detected using a gamma camera, PET scanner or/and probe. These devices are utilized with the computer for creating images that provide details about function and structure of tissues and organs.
a) Analysis of kidney functions.
b) Visualizing heart blood flow as well as functions.
c) Scanning of lungs to detect blood flow and respiratory problems.
d) Identification of inflammation in gallbladder.
e) Evaluating bones for arthritis, tumors, infection and fractures.
f) Measurement of thyroid functions for detecting an under active or overactive thyroid.
g) Investigation of abnormalities present in brain like memory loss, seizures as well as abnormalities of blood flow.
The therapies incorporated:
• Radioactive iodine (I-131) therapy: for treatment of thyroid cancer and hyperthyroidism.
• Radioactive antibodies: for treatment of lymphoma (cancer affecting the lymphatic system)
• Radioactive phosphorus (P-32): for specific blood disorders.