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Vol . 8 No. 3 June 2000  

 Nuclear Medicine & its Importance

A patient being administered radiopharmaceutical prior to nuclear medicine imaging in the 'hot lab'The science and practice of nuclear medicine is firmly based on unshakable mathematical and physics laws. The raDIATion absorbed by the patient ( and the attendant staff) is negligible compared to the benefit derived by the individuals. Continuous upgradation  of technology and familiarity with the procedures have resulted in significant reduction in even this negligible does. RaDIATion received by the patient by a routine  nuclear medicine procedure is comparable to that received during a chest X-ray procedure. Often the diagnostic information provided by these tests is considered final and influences management, in a great number, of human diseases. Nuclear medicine has therefore become an accepted branch of medicine practiced all over the world. The science is now 50 years old and thriving. The speciality has already won two Nobel Prizes. The present century is expected to solve the riddle of the brain and cancer the last two remaining frontiers in clinical sciences and nuclear medicine is expected to play a pivotal role in providing the key to both the riddles.

The Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has been responsible for planning, initiating, nurturing and spreading the science of nuclear medicine in India. It continues to support R&D in the field in its endeavour to provide larger social benefit of this science.

Several DRDO laboratories have been carrying out work in the field of nuclear medicine. Besides R&D, the other activities in this area include training/teaching programmes for civilian and service doctors, promoting the use of radioisotopes for medical purpose and also serving as a technology demonstrator/model for the rest of the country. The growth and development of nuclear medicinal science in India is reflected by the growth in facilities, services and R&D efforts of DRDO. Some important ones are highlighted in this issue.