An introduction to nuclear medicine

Published on July 28, 2021   43 min

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Hello, my name is James Ballinger and I'm a retired senior lecturer from King's College London, Division of Imaging Sciences. The title of today's talk is 'An Introduction to Nuclear Medicine'. Nuclear medicine is generally classified as a modality of diagnostic imaging, although it also has some therapeutic applications, as we'll be seeing. I've been in the field for about 40 years, half of that in Canada, and more recently in Britain. During that time there have been great advances in the field, which are continuing today, and I'll be talking about some of the most recent advances towards the end of the talk.
I'll begin by defining nuclear medicine, showing how it relates to the other diagnostic imaging modalities. Then I'll talk about the radiations, types of radiation that are used, and how they're detected. Moving on to what makes nuclear medicine different, the radiopharmaceutical, how these are produced and designed to localise in different organ systems. The bulk of the talk will be about clinical uses, and of those mainly the diagnostic, with two different modalities that I'll be defining in a moment. Then there are therapeutic applications, and I'll finish off with a summary and some future directions.
Nuclear medicine is a non-invasive diagnostic tool, part of imaging sciences or medical imaging in most hospitals, sometimes a radiology department, sometimes other specialties, but it provides functional rather than purely structural information. It's sometimes called (in recent years) 'molecular imaging', you're imaging molecules in the body. In many conditions it can be extremely sensitive and specific, but it often requires additional information, such as the patient's clinical history, results from blood tests and so on, and other imaging modalities.