Basics of nuclear medicine imaging

Published on April 1, 2010   52 min

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Welcome to this lecture on the basics of nuclear medicine imaging. My name is Dale Bailey. I'm a physicist. I work at Royal North Shore Hospital and the University of Sydney in Sydney, Australia.
In this lecture, I want to address some of the basics of the physics instrumentation and methodology involved in nuclear medicine. Nuclear medicine was originally developed in the days prior to cross sectional imaging, with modalities such as X-ray CT and MR. Using radioactive traces was the only way to image the soft tissues the body, such as the brain, thyroid, lungs, liver, heart, kidneys, spleen, and other organs. Today we recognize that nuclear medicine has a role as a functional imaging modality, whereas we regard the cross sectional imaging with CT or MR as primarily a structural, or anatomical imaging tool. Nuclear medicine functional imaging has a role in the diagnosis of a disease; locating unknown disease, such as infection or primary tumour; staging of disease, that is, the extent to which the disease has spread through the body; monitoring response to treatment, to see whether the drugs or the radiation therapy is being efficacious or not. We also use nuclear medicine in therapy, with the idea of the tumour-seeking magic bullet, where we deliver radiation to a targeted tumor or other abnormality. And finally, nuclear medicine has a large role in research, as a way of non-destructive testing of animal models and humans, where we can study the time course of a trace's uptake and look at the kinetics of that with time.