The Application Of Radiosotopes In Medicine By Nuclear Age

One of the most practical beneficial outcomes from the nuclear age is the specific application of radioisotopes in medicine. To begin with, radioisotopes or radiation emitting elements is popularly used in nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine is typically defined as the use of molecules bonded to radioactive substances that decays into gamma rays to critically assess bodily functions, properly diagnose and treat diseases. Research has found the nuclear age has birth to the invention of numerous effective 3-dimension imaging system. For instance, Position Emission Tomography(PET) is revolutionary as it utilises the introduction of positrons-emitting radionuclide that decays into positron that interact with electrons in the body through injection, to produce then two distinguishable gamma ray that will be captured by a camera to efficiently generate high definition 3D image from a variety of angles (National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 2016). This enable doctors to map out the rudimentary organs, circulatory and cardiovascular system of the patients without the need to probe or cut the hospital patient. 

A comprehensive study by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering has concluded if PET is used alongside computed-ray tomography(CT) it might demonstrate a 30% increase in the potential of accurately detecting and monitoring cancer stages as well as cystic tumours, clots, neurological and psychological condition such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. For that reason, it is significantly vital to easily isolate the affect region and severity of the disease to allow effective treatment plan, prevent further medical complication along as a painless way to gather necessary data on abnormalities in a patient. According to the World Nuclear Association (2020), organ failure can be indicated by the amount and rate of movement by radioisotopes over time, if radionuclide is absorbed excessively region will appear brighter during imaging. The use of radioisotopes such as Technetium-99 are relatively safe as it releases gamma radiation for about 6 hours that provides adequate time to map a patient’s metabolic process before dissipate quickly and only expose the patient to the bare minimum dose of radiation(World Nuclear Association,2020). Furthermore, the nuclear age has intentionally introduced radiotherapy to the medical world. In fact, modern radiotherapy treatments can be administered through inhalation, injection, exposure, intravenous transfusion, or oral ingestion(National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, 2016).The result from a study by Miller (2016) indicates that radiation treatment is substantially more productive at curing most cancer by targeting problematic tissues compared to chemotherapy while avoiding unfavourable side effects. For example, patients inevitably facing endocrine dysfunction or thyroid cancer are typically offered capsules that contain radioactive iodine-131 which will be absorbed by cells and then kill only the cancerous thyroidal tissues thus leaving other cells unharmed. On the contrary, another major use of long-life radioisotopes is to sterilise medical equipment. Sterilisation of reusable medical apparatus is critical to ensure equipment is safe to be used, eliminate foreign particles to prevent the possible spread of dangerous pathogens and corrosion of surgically precise equipment (Anderson, 2019). 

As an excellent example, an antibiotic-resistant bacterial or superbugs infection outbreak occurred in 2015 due to incorrect duodenoscope sterilisation process which undoubtedly led to 400 infected and 35 deaths. That is remarked as a revolutionary study by World Nuclear Association has inadvertently discovered sterilising medical product using gamma radiation is considerably cheaper and more effective than steam heat sterilisation as it can quickly and easily penetrate through materials to kill infectious microorganisms. Radiation of radioisotopes might also be utilised to treat biological items and items vulnerable to heat like medicine, ointments, bone, skin for transplant as well as blood to prevent spread of diseases from transfusion (World Nuclear Association, 2020). In short, the usage of radiation emitting isotope in the medical field to generate tomography of the body, treat diseases and sterilise medical equipment is one of the key advantages from the remarkable rise of the atomic age.

01 August 2022
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