2.7 How is radiation used to maintain human health?
Innovative Physics: Connecting Physics to Industry
This is material from the CDROM produced by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) in partnership the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD). The material includes: Practical activities, Investigations, Materials testing, Careers information and profiles and an extensive annotated list of web-links.
To access the page click here.
The authors were Craig Tilley and Melanie Lane. The support of the following is acknowledged: Don Swinbourne, CEO, Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists; Dr Tony Speer, gastroenterologist, The Royal Melbourne Hospital; Jim Hagekyriakou, senior physicist, Peter MacCallum Institute; Dr Michelle Livett, physicist, University of Melbourne and Dr Gary Egan, Howard Florey Institute.
A two hour Saturday morning in-service is held from time to time at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre. In recent years, it has been held on the Saturday after the Physics Teachers Conference, which is held in mid February each year. Below are some of the notes and photographs by the participants at the 2007 event.
By Dave Campbell, Sacred Heart College, Geelong, taken during the 2007 Professional Development Morning at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre.
The X-rays come from the head at top right. The flat section across the top contains the linear acelerator. The patient lies on the table where the white cube is. The whole unit rotates around the patient to radiuate the cancer from different angles to minmise damage to healthy tissue and organs. The attachments left and right can swing out to enable a CT scan of the patient prior to treatment to ensue that the patient is correctly positioned for the dose.
The open cupboard on the right contains the klystron to generate the microwaves for the linac.
Some of the screens at the console.
- Cameron, JR & Skofronik, JG 1977, Medical Physics, Wiley, New York.
- Pope, J 2000, Medical Physics: Imaging, Heinemann Advanced Science.
A Word document about the radioactive isotope, Fluorine 18. The article describes its production, decay, half life and its use as a radioactive tracer. There are links to an Age article as well as the ANSTO press release and wikipaedia sites on the radio-pharmaceuticals.
Papers from the 2013 Physics Teachers Conference
Powerpoint by Chris Fox, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre from the 2013 Physics Teachers' Conference.
Relevant papers from earlier Physics Teachers Conferences
Part 1 of four parts of the PowerPoint presentation by Chris Fox from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Part 2 of four parts of the PowerPoint presentation by Chris Fox from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Part 3 of four parts of the PowerPoint presentation by Chris Fox from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Part 4 of four parts of the PowerPoint presentation by Chris Fox from the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Material from the presentation by Dr Leah McDermott of RMIT.
A 3 page Word document about the properties, risks and uses of Tritium. The document was written following a sensationalised article that appeared in the Age in February, 2017.
It is recommended that teachers should view any video before purchase.
Marcom Projects: Radioisotopes at Work
An Introduction to Diagnostic Ultrasound available for rental or purchase from Australasian Society for Ultrasound in Medicine
The UK website "Teaching Medical Physics" (see under 'Useful websites' below) has three valuable powerpoints.
An interactive worksheet to accompany the Physics 2000 Tomography web pages.
Contains information of Radiation Basics and fact sheets on Radiation and Health, as well as technical reports.
The UK website produced by the IOP Teaching Medical Physics has an extensive range of downloadable resources including PowerPoints on The EM Spectrum, Radioactivity and Ultrasound, Additional images, Teaching notes with Worksheets in Word or pdf, A textbook of 24 pages in either A5 or A4 size and in Word or pdf format, and also posters. The material is written for the GCSE, so it is more basic than Unit 1, but it is very valuable introductory material.
An Institute of Physics (UK) website that explores MRI and PET scans, a colonoscopy and a radiotherapy treatment. In each students have tasks to perform, for example in the colonoscopy, the students must direct the camera probe through the rectum of a diagram. On the side is vision of what the camera would see, including a spot where a biopsy should be taken.
A detailed fact sheet addressing 11 specific questions with various words in the answers hyperlinked to explanations and definitions. The website is from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (US).
Useful Video Websites
Using X-rays and CT Scans on the Iceman
Ancient Chiribaya Mummies: Archaeologists use x-rays and an endoscope to investigate the mummies to learn more about the culture.
This video about diagnostic imaging is on HowStuffWorks. Positron Emission Topography (PET) scans provide doctors with detailed imaging of a patient's ailments. Most of the video is an interview from a Business TV channel. (13 min)
How stuff Works video. Philips Helps Children Take CAT Scans. CAT Scans provoke anxiety in patients, but Philips has designed a new technology to help ease that anxiety. (2.5 min)
This video is on HowStuffWorks. New Technology Could Mean Fewer Breast Biopsies A revolutionary new imaging technology is expected to help physicians better classify breast lesions and thus reduce the need for biopsies. Learn how Siemens' new technology means fewer breast biopsies in this video from Siemens. (2 min)
How Stuff Works video. Ultrasound in Your Pocket. The world's smallest and first true pocket-ultrasound system. Doctors are calling this the "visual stethoscope" because it delivers images of the heart and other critical areas in seconds, which could make a huge impact in an emergency. (1.4 min)
How Stuff Works. 16 Pregnancy Ultrasound digital images.
A Youtube video (3:05 min)that shows a demonstration of a CT Scan at a German hospital. The narration is in English. It includes the scan of a toy, both stationary and moving. This video finishes with a few videos of human X-Ray scans of injuries.
A Youtube video (2:57 min) showing what a digital camera sees when placed inside a CT machine. The effect of the X-rays on the CCD display in the camera is clearly visible.
A Youtube video (3:32 min) showing how a MRI scan is conducted. There is a useful demo of the magnetic field inside the machine.
A Youtube video (9:53 min) A young woman monitors her radioactivity before during and after a Technetium examination of her thyroid. She has an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. She uses a geiger counter reading in microsieverts per hour to measure the count. She speaks with the doctor in German, but in English to the camera and in the narration. She shows the gamma ray scan of her thyroid and observes the count over the following hours. She also tests the radioactivity of her urine, as well as the sediment from its distillation. You can also check her flickr for more results. She also answers the many questions from viewers, including the difference between Tc-99m and Tc-99 and how the Tc targets a particular organ.
A Youtube video (7:07 min) The linear accelerator gives 6 exposures from different angles. The face mask that stabilises the head can be seen. There is no narration, juts the noise of the machine. The young woman from the Technetium video answers posted questions.
You tube video (5:03 min) The young woman, bionerd23, from the Technetium video, is visiting a nuclear medicine room where a patient is about to have radiation doses temporarily inserted to treat prostate cancer. She gives the geiger counter readings in the room, then goes to the control room for readings during the dose. She subsequently puts the geiger counter inside the room for the next treatment with the display visible through the window.