The Effects of Nuclear Medicine

Nuclear Chemistry

  • Nuclear chemistry : The sub-study of chemistry that involves radioactivity and other nuclear processes

Nuclear Processes

  1. Transmutation: changing one element/isotope to another
  2. Radioactivity: Decomposition of a nucleus to form another
  3. Alpha decay: 2 protons and 2 neutron react and release an alpha particle (Helium). The type of radiation emitted can be blocked with a piece of paper.
  4. Beta decay: Electron is released from the nucleus. The type of radiation emitted can be blocked by aluminum.
  5. Gamma decay: Electromagnetic energy is released. This typically occurs when an element is in an "excited state". The type of radiation emitted can be blocked by lead. Can penetrate cell membranes, skin, and even organelles within cells.

(Radiation is emitted during all processes)

Effects

  • Blood lymphocyte cell count is reduced and flu-like symptoms occur (100+ rems)
  • Hair loss (200+ rems)
  • Damage to DNA and RNA (200+ rems)
  • Damage to gastrointestinal tract (200+ rems)
  • Damage to reproductive tract (200+ rems)
  • Heart cell and blood vessel damage (1000-5000+ rems)
  • Brain cell and blood vessel damage (5000+ rems)
  • Thyroid destruction (radioactive iodine)