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Alternative Medicine

Nuclear medicine A way to health

Nuclear medicine A way to health

The first case of nuclear medicine happened in 1946 when radioactive iodine, through an atomic
cocktail, was first used to treat thyroid cancer. The thyroid gland received the radioactive iodine and the radiation removed the cancer cells, thus curing the patient. But the extensive clinical use of nuclear medicine began in the early 1950s.
Nuclear medicine requires small amounts of radioactive materials or tracers which aids to diagnose and treat a number of diseases. Nuclear medicine ascertains the cause of the medical problem based on the function of the organ, tissue or bone. This is where nuclear medicine differs from the other diagnostic tests such as an x-ray or ultrasound that finds out the presence of disease based on structural appearance.
Nuclear medicine is that branch of medicine which makes use of of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of a disease including many types of cancers, heart disease, gastrointestinal, endocrine, neurological disorders and other abnormalities within the body. In nuclear medicine procedures, radio nuclides are combined with other elements to form chemical compounds, or else combined with existing pharmaceutical compounds, to form radio pharmaceuticals.
The radio pharmaceuticals, when administered to the patient, can localize to specific organs or cellular receptors. This property of radio pharmaceuticals helps nuclear medicine to form an image of the extent of a disease-process in the body. This diagnosis is based on the cellular function and physiology, rather than physical changes in the tissue anatomy. The nuclear medicine procedures are able to pinpoint molecular activity within the body. They offer the potential to identify disease in its nascent stage as well as a patient’s immediate response to therapeutic interventions which is not possible by any other diagnostic tests .Nuclear medicine records radiation emitting from within the body rather than radiation that is generated by external sources like X rays. Hence it is aptly known as the Radiology done inside out or Endo-radiology.
The Treatment of diseased tissue is based on metabolism or binding of a particular ligament, which is quite similar to other areas of pharmacology. However, the result or the effect of the treatment depends on the tissue-destructive power of short-range ionizing radiation.
Safety of Nuclear medicine
Its procedures are one of the safest diagnostic imaging exams available.The patient receives only a small amount of a radio pharmaceutical less than that of a diagnostic x-ray .It is sufficient to diagnose information .

Though aware, we are not bothered of the fact that everyone is continually exposed to radiation from natural and manmade sources. For instance, natural background radiation from space, rocks, soil, and even carbon and potassium atoms in his or her own body, accounts for 85 percent of the annual exposure to radiation. The rest is received from consumer products such as household smoke detectors, color television sets, and luminous dial clocks.X-rays and radioactive materials during medical diagnosis and therapy also account for the radiation received by us. Most of the nuclear medicine procedures, the patient receives about the same amount of radiation as that acquired in a few months of normal living.

There is no unnecessary radiation exposure during a nuclear medicine procedure as the nuclear medicine physician is qualified to select the most appropriate examination for the patient’s particular medical problem.


1.The information provided by Nuclear medicine examinations is unique. It includes details on both function and structure which cannot be got from other imaging procedures.
2.Nuclear medicine scans yield the most useful information needed to make a diagnosis or to determine appropriate treatment, if any, for many diseases .

3.Nuclear medicine is less expensive and may yield more precise information than exploratory surgery.

4.Nuclear medicine offers the potential to identify disease in its nascent stage, often before symptoms occur or abnormalities can be detected with other diagnostic tests.

5.By detecting whether lesions are likely benign or malignant, PET (Positron Emission Tomograph) scans may eliminate the need for surgical biopsy or identify the best biopsy location.

Risks involved in Nuclear Medicine.
1.The radiation risk is very low compared with the potential benefits: As the doses of radiotracer administered are negligible, diagnostic nuclear medicine procedures result in low radiation exposure which is acceptable for diagnostic exams.

2.In a span of five decades ,Nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures have no known long-term adverse effects from such low-dose exposure .

3.The nuclear medicine practitioner informs the patient of all significant risks prior to the treatment and is given an opportunity to ask questions.

4.The Patient should inform the nuclear medicine personnel of any allergies he/she may have or other problems that may have occurred during a previous nuclear medicine exam. Allergic reactions to radio pharmaceuticals may occur but are extremely rare and are usually mild.

4.Injection of the radiotracer may cause slight pain and redness which should rapidly clear.

5.Women should always inform their physician or radiology technologist if they are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Finally the risks of nuclear medicine should be weighed against its benefits before deciding on the treatment.

General Nuclear Medicine -limitations

1.Time consuming: Nuclear medicine procedures can take hours to days .The radiotracer takes up to several hours to accumulate in the part of the body under study and imaging .The latest equipment though can substantially shorten the procedure time.

2.Poor Resolution is another setback in nuclear medicine. When compared to other imaging techniques, such as CT or MRI, the resolution of structures of the body with nuclear medicine may not be good enough. But, nuclear medicine scans are more sensitive than other techniques for a number of indications, and the functional information gained from nuclear medicine exams is not obtainable from other imaging techniques.

Nuclear medicine has a bright future and is here to stay. It may provide an added impetus to the field known as molecular medicine. With the expansion in our knowledge of biological processes in the cells of living organism, nuclear medicine aids developing specific probes that allows visualization, characterization, and quantification of biologic processes both at the cellular and sub cellular levels. Its emphasizes on function and its utilization of imaging agents that are specific for a particular disease process .This makes it an ideal medical specialty to get a feel of the new discipline of molecular medicine.

We can hope that the day is not far off when this new phenomena wipes out illness from human world and provide the much required health to one and all.

Nuclear medicine A way to health


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