Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear medicine is a medical specialty involving the use of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. In nuclear medicine procedures, radionuclides are combined with other elements to form chemical compounds, or else combined with existing pharmaceutical compounds, to form radiopharmaceuticals. These radiopharmaceuticals, once administered to the patient, can localize to specific organs or cellular receptors. Radiopharmaceuticals allow nuclear medicine the ability to image the extent of a disease process in the body, based on the cellular function and physiology, rather than relying on physical changes in the affected tissue. In some diseases nuclear medicine studies can identify medical problems at an earlier stage than other diagnostic tests. Nuclear medicine, in a sense, is "radiology done inside out" or "endoradiology" because it records radiation emitting from within the body rather than radiation that is generated by external sources like X-rays.

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