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Nuclear Medicine & The Use Of Radioactive Tracers

Nuclear Medicine & The Use Of Radioactive Tracers

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses safe, painless, and cost-effective techniques both to image the body and treat disease. It is a way to gather medical information that may otherwise be unavailable, require surgery, or need more expensive diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine uses very small amounts of radioactive materials or radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat disease. The radiopharmaceuticals used in nuclear medicine emit gamma rays that can be detected externally by special types of cameras. These cameras work in conjunction with computers used to form images that provide data and information about the area of body being imaged. By performing measurements of radiation intensity, Pierre and Marie Curie were able to eliminate non-active fractions and in this way invented the method of radioactive tracers. The discovery of isotopy by Frederic Soddy and Kasimir Fajans made further development of this method possible. It was found that elements considered to be non-active may possess radioactive isotopes having almost identical chemical properties. For a long time, the number of known elements, possessing radioactive isotopes was relatively low and as a result, the application scale of the method of radioactive tracers was limited. It was only in 1934 that the invention of artificial radioactivity by Frederic and Irène Juliot-Curie allowed for preparing applicable radioisotopes of almost all the chemical elements. Owning to this invention, application of radioactive tracers has become common and indispensable in various investigations. Nowadays, application of isotopic tracers, radioactive and stable ones, in biochemistry and physiology is very common.

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