Role of physics in medical science

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DEVELOPMENT of interdisciplinary research in recent era has strikingly highlighted that physics has an important role to play in the field of medical biology. Physics and its laws in conjecture to medical science, tell us how to understand a human body at molecular level. The Medical Physics is defined as the application of concepts of physics, theories, and methods in medicine or healthcare field.


Lately in the modern era, the advanced techniques and the instruments mostly used in the medical science were developed by the physicist. They imported different technologies in medicine like X-rays, nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), ultrasound, particle accelerators, and radioisotope tagging and detection techniques into the medical domain. The other technologies i.e. MRI, CT scanning, nuclear medicine tomography and various radio therapy treatment methods are the revolutionary techniques which standardized the methodology of imaging human ailments and in its diagnosis.


There are several applications of physics in medical science. The examples include X-rays crystallography that helps to study the structures of viruses and can help in the identification of parasites. The X-rays enter human body and after interaction with the internal organs of the human body, they are emitted and recorded on a photographic film, imaging a bone structure and the differing densities of tissues.


Similarly, Electro Cardiogram (ECG) and Electro Encephalogram (EEG) techniques are playing tremendous role in medical science. When a heart beats and a brain functions, it produces a kind of a protein in a cell. The Electro Cardiogram (ECG) and Electro Encephalogram (EEG) techniques are used for the diagnosis of heart and neurological diseases due to the operations of such proteins. Biophysicists have discovered there methodology of operations for how they produce electric signals and this knowledge had further helped in generating ranges of therapies and drugs. Similarly, Ionization radiations had been used for half of a century where the lifetime of the red cells was measured and also used to determine that if anemia is caused by the decrease in production or increase in destruction of blood cells.


Physiotherapy is a line of work where impairments are remediated, mobility is promoted and quality of life is improved by the help of examination, diagnosis and physical intervention. One of its types is radiotherapy; it uses sources of radiation for the treatment of cancer cells. It makes the use of penetrating rays and ionizing radiation in order to kill diseased cells in cancer affected human body. This is the biggest contribution of nuclear physics in the field of biology.


Pharmacy is the very important field of medical science. It has been observed that in the design and development of the drugs for different diseases, there are also genius of physics playing their role in combining the great concepts of nuclear physics and quantum mechanics to the world of nuclear medicine.


There had been many great advances in the history of medicine that occurred in the last century coming directly from the geniuses of the physics laboratories. Few references from history are mentioned below.


In 1895, Wilhelm Conrad Roentegen discovered X-rays; they were further applied to the medical imaging system which yielded productive results. Approving its application, in 1901, the Conrad was awarded his very first Nobel Prize for his discovery of X-rays. In 1952, the Phenomena of Magnetic Resonance Imaging was discovered by Though Felix Blouch and Edward Purcell. Few decades later of its discovery, its application of MRI was developed. This technique is utilized by the doctors on daily basis to image human body. In 2003, by the Nobel Prize of Physiology was awarded to Paul Lautenberg and Peter Mansfield for their work in MRI.


Radioimmunoassay is an extremely sensitive diagnostic technique which is able to quantify the amounts of biological substances in the body by the help of radioactive materials. In 1977, Nobel Prize of Physiology was awarded to the AAPM member named Rosalyn Yalow for her development of this technique. In 1979, the CT scan technique was developed by Allan M Cormack and Godfrey Newbold Hounsfield, later awarded by the Nobel Prize for Physiology/Medicine. It had proved to be revolutionary in the world of medical science because it improved the imaging technique producing an extraordinary clarity in images.


Physics has an inevitable, imperative role in various fields of medical science and most importantly being in the field of biomedical science.


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Published in: Volume 06 Issue 15

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