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Special report: The evolution of nuclear medicine accessories

by Diana Bradley , Staff Writer

"As far as the volume of accessories available go, Biodex now offers a wider range of choices for our customers and many more products," says Ranieri. "One reason that comes to mind is the advent of PET imaging, using high-energy radionuclides such as FDG F-18. The need for increased protection during transport and patient administration spawned a whole new line of shielding and handling products."

Although syringe shield manufacturers have traded in lead for tungsten, lead is still a major component of most nuclear medicine accessories. The leather gloves technologists wore when handling nuclear medicine were infused with lead, but now lead-impregnated vinyl gloves -- much lighter and more dexterous -- are the norm. Further to this, protective glasses have been developed using a form of lead-infused polycarbonate. Lead is also used to safeguard the neck, as well as men and women's reproductive systems.
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"The protection is not just for you; it's for the future children you might want," explains Bogutski.

Once a radioactive isotope has gone through 10 half-lives, its radiation levels are so low it is considered to be non-radioactive. It can then be placed into a lead-lined garbage pail, for further precaution.

Peering into the future of these accessories, Bogutski sees a union with the iPhone/iPad app revolution.

"You will basically just plug in a combination of an app and some sort of a measuring device and your iPad will become a radiation detector," he says. "Or you'll be able to plug your iPad into the ionization chamber of a dose calibrator."

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