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Nuclear Medicine

Radionuclides And Radiopharmaceuticals, Instrumentation, Treatment And Nonimaging Procedures., Recent Developments In Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty that uses radioactive materials, called radionuclides, to help diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases, and for biomedical research. The development of nuclear medicine reflects the advances in the fields of nuclear physics, nuclear chemistry, and later, molecular biology. While there was considerable research in the nuclear sciences during the first part of the twentieth century, it was not until the 1930s and 1940s, when radioactive substances were made readily available by nuclear reactors and cyclotrons, that nuclear medicine evolved into a separate specialty.

Nuclear medicine procedures are an important diagnostic tool, and are performed in hospitals and many out-patient facilities all over the world. A nuclear medicine team commonly consists of a nuclear medicine physician, a nuclear medicine technologist, a nuclear medicine physicist, and a radiopharmacist. Nuclear medicine procedures sometimes detect the presence of disease rather than provide a specific diagnosis, and are frequently performed together with other medical imaging modalities such as x ray, CT (computerized tomography), MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), and ultra-sonography. In some cases, a disease may be detected before an organ function is altered or symptoms appear. Early detection prompts early treatment.

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