Nobody enjoys a trip to hospital, but at least when we do end up there we can expect not only doctors and nurses to treat us but often a whole team of people working behind the scenes to ensure we get better and home as soon as possible.
There are two main ways in which physics meets medicine; firstly physicists are involved with a team of others in diagnosing and developing a treatment plan for patients within a hospital. In the radio therapy department physicists are required to help determine what type of radio treatment an individual may require. An example of when a physicist may be involved in making a diagnosis is analysing a medical image to determine an important variable such as the metabolic rate. Each patient is different and deciding the diagnosis and treatment is key, and hospital physicists use their expertise to ensure the best decisions are made. Medical physicists in hospitals and in labs often collaborate to improve the practice of current methods in medicine.
The second way medicine meets physics is in research; the scope of medical research that physics is involved in is broad, from enhancing diagnostic imagery to improving cancer treatments by developing new techniques for the measurement of radiation, and new high-energy machines to treat patients.
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