Nuclear chemistry has a significant impact on the medical field, especially in relation to radiation. Various techniques are employed to introduce radiation into the human body, including X-ray imaging and radiation therapy. These aspects are prominently highlighted in nuclear medicine.
Nuclear chemistry in nuclear medicine uses radioactive isotopes as biological tracers and for dilution purposes. The impact of radiation on organisms can vary based on the dosage administered, ranging from beneficial to harmful effects. As the dosage increases, so does the impact of radiation on the body, potentially resulting in death.
Radiation is involved in medical imaging, which includes three steps to produce images of specific areas in the human body. These steps can be summarized as follows:
- The application of a radioactive isotope to the various parts of the body needed to construct a radioisotope-based image.
- The detection of the radiation involved in the screening process.
- The use of technological devices such as computers to interpret the information detected by the screening and create the necessary image.
The application necessitates the assimilation of a compound containing the isotope by the target tissue. Technetium-99m, commonly utilized for scans, has a restricted lifespan. Another method called Positron Emission Tomography (PET) is also utilized. In radiation therapy, Boron-11 isotope solution is inserted into the tumor and exposed to neutrons. This process singularly generates particles at the tumor site, annihilating cancer cells.
Radioactive isotopes are utilized as tracers in different applications, such as in the isotope dilution technique where these isotopes are added to compounds for conducting tests. This technique involves injecting an isotopic compound into the body’s circulatory system to ensure an even distribution. Subsequently, a blood sample is collected to measure radioactivity and determine the volume of blood.