- nuclear medicine
- The clinical discipline concerned with the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radionuclides (an isotope of artificial or natural origin that exhibits radioactivity), excluding the
therapeutic use of sealed radiation sources.
Certain imaging procedures, including PET scanning, employ radionuclides to provide real-time visuals of biochemical processes. One device, a nuclear imaging machine, employs a scintillation camera, which can rotate around the body to pick up radiation emitted by an injected substance (e.g., radioactive iodine, which localizes in the thyroid, or radioactive thallium, which localizes in the heart). A digitized image of a particular organ, or the whole body, is produced.