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The Pros And Cons Of Nuclear Medicine

678 words - 3 pages

According to Helibron and Seidel (2011) nuclear medicine began as a simple experiment in the early twentieth century by George de Hevesy. De Hevesy started the experiment by deciding to test the effects of radiation on living things, beginning with bean plants, then onto furred animals, and then continued onto finding the effects of radiation on the human body, when he did this he became the first person to ever use radiation on a human being. He along with his partner E. Hofer, in 1931, consumed Deuterium which they had diluted with tea and found that traces of radioactivity stayed within their bodies for between eight to eighteen days. This was the first known use of radiation on humans (p. 1). This was just the beginning though, as time moved on the use of nuclear energy advanced and as it advanced it began to bleed into more subjects than those that it had been used in before, such as, nuclear medicine. Although it has its drawbacks, such as nuclear waste, there are many different benefits to nuclear medicine. Examples of such would be advances in therapy and treatment of diseases, such as the cancer, a different example is the new medical devices used to treat and detect the diseases that were virtually undetectable before. Amazingly all of this started before the government started experimenting with the Atomic Bombs.

Health and Environmental Drawbacks
Although nuclear medicine has made amazing leaps and strides to cancer research and treatment, it, like many other medicines, has its drawbacks. When using radiation therapy to treat unwanted cancerous cells it can do more harm to the healthy cells surrounding the unhealthy ones. Radiation therapy is used to kill cancer cells, physicians know this, but, they also know the risk. According to Taylor A, Powell, “Radiation therapy kills cancer cells by damaging their DNA (the molecules inside cells that carry genetic information and pass it from one generation to the next). Radiation therapy can either damage DNA directly or create charged particles (free radicals) within the cells that can in turn damage the DNA. Cancer cells whose DNA is damaged beyond repair stop dividing or...

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