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The Use of Isotopes in Medicine - Essay Example

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The Use of Isotopes in Medicine Name Name of Instructor Name of Institution Date The Use of Isotopes in Medicine Introduction Isotopes are atoms with equal atomic number but differ in the mass number due to their difference in the number of neutrons…
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The Use of Isotopes in Medicine
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Download file to see previous pages Majority of the chemical elements that exist on earth have multiple isotopes (Gagne, Leonard and Rivard, 2012). However, it is only that a single isotope gains dominance due to its abundant nature than the rest. Mostly, atoms are defined using their mass numbers (protons + neutrons) and this number is added to their chemical symbol as a subscript. Atom stability of the nucleus depends greatly on the protons to neutrons ratio. Isotopes have two classifications: the stable ones which do not change with time and the ones that possess a ratio that makes them unstable allowing them to change their mass numbers (Ling, et al, 2012). Stable isotopes have a constant concentration in the environment, though their distribution keeps on changing depending on the environmental preferences. Unstable isotopes decay with time through a process called radio-activity and assume different states. For instance, over a period of time it has been found that carbon – 14 decays into carbon – 12. Bonfils, et al., (2012) explains that some isotopes are more active than others and are more likely to decay faster than others until they attain stability. Fortunately, this rate of decay can be predicted or even measured hence can be used age determination. Used In Diagnosis Isotopes, especially radio-isotopes are widely being used in medicine to carry out nuclear examinations. Nuclear medicine is a scientific branch in medicine that employs the use of radiations to provide more information to the human body’s organic functioning or disease treatment (Jodal, Le Loirec & Champion, 2012). Through this information collected a proper and accurate diagnosis is given regarding a patient’s illness. Diagnostic techniques in most cases use tracers which are radioactive in nature for the body to release gamma rays. These tracers are short-lived but are judged with the role of checking particular physiological processes. The tracers can be administered orally or through injections after which a camera is used to detect them. Gagne, Leonard, and Rivard (2012) assert that through the radiations being caused by the tracers, a doctor can examine the image produced by the camera and identify where the exact problem lies. Let us have a look at the PET scan where a radionuclide is injected into a body of a patient and concentrated in the tissue targeted (Jodal, Le Loirec & Champion, 2012). As the radionuclide decays, it emits positrons whose combination with electrons gives gamma rays emission that can be identified easily. Through the PET camera, their original direction can be studied and the affected organ be identified. The most commonly used isotopes in this study are fluoride- 18 which is used as an oncology tracer. It is the most effective method used in cancer examinations as well as heart and brain cell examinations. These scans have improved the diagnosis by almost 30%, providing critical information regarding the various types of diseases (Ling, et al., 2012). They can also be used to detect malfunction of organs through the speed of isotope movement. Use of Isotopes in Radionuclide Therapy (RNT) This is the art of controlling or even getting rid of the cancer tumor by using radionuclide radiations (Rana, et al, 2012). The tumor is irradiated through a process known as teletherapy, which is performed by emitting a beam of gamma rays from a radioactive source called cobalt-60. However, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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