The Use Of X Rays For Diagnosis And Therapy

1870 words - 7 pages

According to Oxford Dictionaries, an X-ray, also known as a type of radiation is defined as an electromagnetic wave of high energy and very short wavelength (between ultraviolet light and gamma rays), which is able to pass through many materials opaque to light and being absorbed to different degrees by different materials. In medicine, an X-ray is produced by the deceleration of charged particles, especially electrons, or by electron transitions in atoms. An X-ray machine sends these particles through the body. The images are recorded on a computer to produce a radiograph. Structures that are dense will block most of the charged particles and will appear white. A special dye that contains metal or contrast media is used to highlight areas of the body. These areas will also appear white. Structures containing air will be shown as black. Muscle and fat tissues and fluid would be shown as shades of grey.
X-rays were discovered on November 8th, 1895 by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923), who was a Professor at Wuerzburg University in Germany. He noted that it was a new type of ray and that is capable of penetrating most substances casting shadows of solid objects. He also discovered that it can penetrate the tissues of humans but not bones and metal objects. Approximately a month after the announcement of the amazing discovery, Europe and the United States of America made radiographs which were used to guide surgeons. Six months after, it was used to guide battlefield physicians to located bullets in troops. In 1913, high vacuum X-ray tubes designed by Coolidge became available. It further advanced in 1931 with double the amount of voltage for industrial purposes. After the discovery of X-rays in 1895, French scientist Henri Becquerel discovered a natural radioactivity in 1896. Becquerel concluded that uranium compounds emit a type of radiation that could penetrate heavy paper and expose photographic film. He was not recognized as he should have been until Marie Curie and her husband French scientist Pierre Curie became interested in Becquerel’s work. In 1898 discovered polonium and radium which were more radioactive than Uranium. Later more radioactive elements were discovered. Radium became the initial gamma ray source. In 1946, man-made gamma ray sources such as cobalt and iridium, that replaced radium, was now available. In 1929, Philips began production of the ‘Rotalix’ which was the first rotating anode tube. This x-ray equipment were owned and operated by businessmen, including chemists, engineers and electricians. Doctors would send their patients by these businessmen to diagnose and treat. In 1910, doctors began purchasing their own equipment and began to specialize as radiologist. They became detached since it started to evolve and they could not keep up with advancing technology. It was too time-consuming causing the doctors to reduce patient care time. Nurses were used as technicians instead to do the time-consuming task. The fatality...

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