Diagnostic Radiology


Diagnostic Radiology most commonly utilizes various types of ionizing radiation to image and investigate the anatomy and physiology of the human body. X-rays, for example, are used for various imaging techniques such as radiography (e.g. chest or skeletal X-rays) and CT - computed tomography - which gives finely detailed information as cross-sectional images of the human body based on absorption versus transmission of X-rays. Gamma rays are also used for medical imaging through various nuclear medicine examinations such as bone scans to search for infection or spread of tumors, cardiac perfusion scans to evaluate blood flow to the myocardium (muscle of the heart), and radioiodine for diagnosis and treatment of thyroid cancer. Diagnostic Radiology also makes use of other imaging techniques which do not employ ionizing radiation such as ultrasound and MRI.

In addition to using these techniques for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions, the Diagnostic Radiology division is uniquely suited to address issues of biologic effects of radiation. This may be in monitoring radiation doses produced in medical imaging exams, or in education and study related to human effects of accidental radiation exposure such as with the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The study of radiology also includes educational and technical instruction in radiation protection to ensure that medical uses of radiation are safe for both patients and workers. The same knowledge is useful in understanding and managing commercial nuclear power plants and nuclear research laboratories.

In relation to the GW Institute for Nuclear Studies, the Diagnostic Radiology division serves many different functions such as: providing an educational resource regarding biologic effects of radiation, increasing the scientifically-based knowledge in the community and government, and contributing to a rational evaluation of the risks, benefits, and places of nuclear power and radiation sources in our society.