# Medical Nuclear Medicine

1. Nov 30, 2009

### dreiter

I have heard this title bandied around now for awhile, and I'm still not quite sure what it means? Would this be designing/building/maintaining 'nuclear' machines such as MRI/CT machines, or would this be radiation based treatments for diseases, or would this be (insert job description here)?

2. Nov 30, 2009

### fatra2

Hi there,

MRIs are not "nuclear machines". They are calle Magnetic Resonance Imagery for a reason, because they don not use any nuclear technology.

The term nuclear medicine implies radiation therapy, essentially. Your function will vary essentially according to your level of education. But, the term nuclear medicine does not refer to the design, construction, nor maintenance of the nuclear instruments. It only refers to the use of these instruments for radiation therapy.

Cheers

3. Nov 30, 2009

### dreiter

Hence my use of single quotes around the word 'nuclear'. :)

I am finishing up my B.S. in engineering physics, and I am looking into the nuclear masters program, but the job market seems uncertain (as far as working at a plant goes). Perhaps the thread should be moved because I have a new question, and that is:

What masters degree is best for working in industry designing/building new CT machines, etc.?

4. Nov 30, 2009

### fatra2

Hi there,

The best way to truly find out what the industry wants would be to get in contact with some firms that make these instruments. Send them an e-mail.

Otherwise, I would say that nuclear engineering is probably a safe bet, probably more in the field of nuclear instruments. I would say that your knowledge of nuclear physics has to be more or less deep. Your knowledge of material and interaction between radiation and matter is probably where you want to look.

Hope this helps.

Cheers

5. Nov 30, 2009

### vibjwb

6. Nov 30, 2009

### Tsu

Nuclear Medicine is just one area of Diagnostic Imaging. They inject radioactive isotopes into the body that are specifically tagged to go to where you want them. Liver, heart stomach, bone... Then you are scanned with a gamma camera or some other type of tracer - depending upon the exam being done. Positron Emmision Tomography (PET scanning) is part of Nuc. Med. It is a very interesting imaging modality...

7. Dec 1, 2009

### dreiter

Thanks vibjwb for the link. I thought to check Wiki about an hour after I posted the topic, hehe.

I seem to get conflicting info on nuclear medicine as a career choice. Is there pre-med, med school, and a residency involved? I see that the career pays well, so I assume med school is required...

8. Dec 1, 2009

### fatra2

Hi there,

From my point of view, we gave a few ideas of what is nuclear medicine. Now, if you really want to know more about it, make an appointment with the nuclear department in your hospital. They will be able to show you around, and explain you the details of their function.

That's what I did at the time, just to find out that nuclear medicine was not my cup of tea.

Cheers

9. Dec 1, 2009

### alxm

Well, actually they're called 'Magnetic Resonance Imagery' for the reason that patients didn't want to get into a big machine named 'nuclear'-anything. So they got together and decided (I think it was 1983 or thereabouts) to officially rename it 'MRI' rather than 'NMRI'. NMR machines are still named NMR though. (since test-tubes don't complain)

However I agree it doesn't use 'nuclear technology' in the popular sense and MRI wouldn't fall into the 'nuclear medicine' category.

10. Dec 1, 2009

### fatra2

Hi there,

You got me stumped with your description. From what I know, MRI are simple big "magnets" of around 1T, that interact with the magnetic particles of the body. Now, could you tell me what part of super-conductivity of a solenoid is part of nuclear.

Cheers

11. Dec 1, 2009

### alxm

The 'particles' in question being the atomic nuclei that have a non-zero net magnetic moment. (notably hydrogen)

Nothing. The magnet is just there to create a field. The field's not what's being measured though. The field causes an energy level splitting (Zeeman effect) which is what the nuclei 'resonate' between. Superconductors are used because it's the only viable way to achieve field strengths of that order. It doesn't need to be a superconducting solenoid. The first NMR machine used a big permanent magnet.

It's 'nuclear' because you're measuring a property of the nuclei. Not a molecular or atomic or electronic property but a specifically nuclear one - the nuclear spin state interacts only very weakly with the electrons, and hence chemistry is unaffected and it's all an entirely noninvasive method. (which was first used for chemistry as NMR, and still is, with higher resolution machines and fields typically about 10-13T)

12. Dec 1, 2009

### chemisttree

http://perth.uwlax.edu/nmt/pdf/whatisnucmed.pdf" [Broken]

Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
13. Dec 1, 2009

### Tsu

It depends upon whether you want to be the technologist who actually performs the exam (approx. $30-$40/hr) or if you want to be the physician who interprets the exam (potentially up to \$500,000/yr). Radiologists interpret Nuc.Med. studies. Radiologists are MD's who have specialized in Diagnostic Imaging. Tech school = approx. 2 yrs; Radiologist school = pre med, med school, internship and then several years of Radiology Residency. Fellowship? = more years of school.

I have been working in the field of diagnostic imaging for 35 years. I do xrays and cat scan exams, although Nuc Med is a very interesting area with PET scanning technology growing in leaps and bounds. PET scanning (positron emmision tomography) is a fascinating cross of Nuc Med and CT technology.