Episode 120: Nuclear Medicine

PET scan.

PET scan from a former opioid addict under the influence of morphine, circa 1980.

In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. This week we look at diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine. First, we learn how doctors use iodine-131 to eradicate cancerous thyroid cells that regular surgery can't reach. Next, Distillations' assistant producer Anne Fredrickson speaks with University of Pennsylvania's Abass Alavi and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital's Andrew Newberg about their collaborative research in using PET scans to explore the efficacy of non-Western practices like meditation and acupuncture.

Show Clock

0:00 Opening Credits
0:32 Introduction
1:10 Radioiodine
3:59 Interview with Abass Alavi and Andrew Newberg
11:51 Closing Credits


This show was written and researched by Hilary Domush and Michal Meyer.

Our theme music is composed by Dave Kaufman. Additional music from Music Alley and Magnatune. Additional music includes “Eating Babyfood," by Nalts, and "Forensic," by Nick Murray.

Image courtesy of the National Library of Medicine.

Posted In: Medicine | Technology

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