RESTON, Va. -- Say the word nuclear and it conjures up mistaken ideas about radiation, an invisible, odorless and intangible force that allows doctors to non-invasively see into the body. Say the words nuclear medicine, and its powerful reality is that it is highly beneficial to life, said Jonathan M. Links, former SNM president, who has written an overview on understanding radiological and nuclear terrorism in the October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine.
"When people hear the words radiation and radioactivity, they initially think negative thoughts," said Links, professor and director of the Center for Public Health Preparedness at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md. "The public's perception of the risks of radiation is that radiation is highly risky. It's best to get the scientific facts. In reality, radiation--a release of energy--allows doctors to effectively diagnose and treat disease," noted Baltimore's radiation terror expert and co-author of "Understanding Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism as Public Health Threats: Preparedness and Response Perspectives."
The use of nuclear medicine--giving tiny amounts of radioactive materials to patients to examine molecular processes in the body to diagnose and treat a variety of diseases--continues to grow and evolve. Every major hospital in this country has a nuclear medicine department. Last year, 19.7 million nuclear medicine procedures were performed on 17.2 million women, men and children in more than 7,200 medical sites in the United States--a 15 percent increase from four years ago. Every day, about 55,000 women, men and children undergo nuclear medicine (also called molecular imaging) procedures to evaluate heart disease, detect cancer and determine response to treatment, diagnose and evaluate brain disorders and locate stress fractures.
When it comes to nuclear medicine, Links says the public should keep in mind these facts.
"Understanding Radiological and Nuclear Terrorism as Public Health Threats: Preparedness and Response Perspectives" appears in the October issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, which is published by SNM, an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 physician, technologist and scientist members. Other co-authors include Daniel J. Barnett and Cindy L. Parker, both Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness; Department of Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md.; David W. Blodgett, Southwest Utah Public Health Department, St. George, Utah, and Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health Preparedness, Baltimore, Md.; and Rachel K. Wierzba, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Md.
For more information, please visit SNM's Web site at http://www.snm.org.
Media representatives: To obtain a copy of this article, please contact Maryann Verrillo by phone at (703) 708-9000, ext. 1211, or send an e-mail to email@example.com. Current and past issues of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine can be found online at http://jnm.snmjournals.org. Print copies can be obtained by contacting the SNM Service Center, 1850 Samuel Morse Drive, Reston, VA 20190-5316; phone (800) 513-6853; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; fax (703) 708-9015. A subscription to the journal is an SNM member benefit.
About SNM--Advancing Molecular Imaging and Therapy
SNM is an international scientific and professional organization of more than 16,000 members dedicated to promoting the science, technology and practical applications of molecular and nuclear imaging to diagnose, manage and treat diseases in women, men and children. Founded more than 50 years ago, SNM continues to provide essential resources for health care practitioners and patients; publish the most prominent peer-reviewed journal in the field (the Journal of Nuclear Medicine); host the premier annual meeting for medical imaging; sponsor research grants, fellowships and awards; and train physicians, technologists, scientists, physicists, chemists and radiopharmacists in state-of-the-art imaging procedures and advances. SNM members have introduced--and continue to explore--biological and technological innovations in medicine that noninvasively investigate the molecular basis of diseases, benefiting countless generations of patients. SNM is based in Reston, Va.; additional information can be found online at http://www.snm.org.
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