Personally, I never had what it took to go to medical school and fulfill my dream of one day becoming a doctor. My life went in another direction but I am still fascinated buy medicine and especially by people like Apparao Mukkamala who spend their days working to help, treat and save patients from all over the world to get over conditions and diseases which they have.
One aspect of medicine that has always fascinated me is radiology and the importance which this branch of medicine holds in terms of the diagnosis and the treatment of a huge range of problems. Today I want to talk a little about why radiology is so important, how it came about and what the future of this high-tech medical tool looks like.
What is it?
Radiology is the use of radiant energy to look beneath the surface of a patient’s body to ascertain what the problem is that they have. This form of radiology is called investigative radiology and it plays a vital role in the diagnosis stage of patient’s care. Equally, radiology can be used to treat diseases such as cancer as it can penetrate the body and shock malignant cells and force them to die.
The discovery of radiology was made by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen in 1885 who was trying to understand how a fluorescent material, when hit with light particles from a cathode ray tube which he had energized, could create images on the fluorescent material. Following 6 years of investigation, the physicist discovered that these X-rays could be used in medicine and he was awarded the Nobel prize for Physics in 1901. Throughout the years, scientists and doctors alike would further tweak the invention and use it in a broad range of medical practices.
Radiology is currently used in many forms and for the diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, let’s take a look at how we use it.
The MRI or magnetic resonance imaging can be used to take a cross section of the human body and provides a highly detailed image of the various sections of the organs and muscles.
We use X-rays to review the skeleton and discover any damage which has been done to it.
Computer topography provides two dimensional images which gives doctors further insights into cell structure and damage.
This is used to hear inside the person’s body using acoustic energy and is more often used in midwifery to hear a baby’s heartbeat.
Radiographic developments are moving at break neck speed as researchers look into how we can best use technology to not only improve the results which the various forms of radiography which we have but also how they can do it and give minimal radiation to the patentee during the investigative process. Each year sees more developments than the last and this is still one of the most important tools for doctors when they are seeking to diagnose a patient.