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Nuclear Medicine–Present Perils and Paradigm Shifts

March 12, 2008
Written by: , Filed in: Nuclear Medicine
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The key to the survival of nuclear medicine is to acknowledge its dependency on radiology. Molecular imaging, despite the centrality of PET, will encompass multiple forms of imaging beyond the nuclear field.

Nuclear medicine is undergoing one of its recurrent crises in identity. The future of its science is bright, as it has become the cornerstone of the emerging field of molecular medicine, at least for the foreseeable future.

Yet it is not a popular choice of specialty. Its training programs are shrinking even as its clinical capabilities are expanding. The notion of its independence from radiology is illusory, but many in nuclear medicine want to maintain the illusion.

The key to its survival is to acknowledge its dependency on radiology for several reasons. Molecular imaging, despite the centrality of PET, will encompass multiple forms of imaging beyond the nuclear field.

The residency in nuclear medicine is too short for political reasons, and too narrowly defined for clinical reasons–a reality prospective residents can promptly discern even though some nuclear physicians do not want to see it.

The keys to nuclear medicine’s survival are to conjoin its training programs within radiology to integrate its executive function with radiology to declare its non-independence, so that its attractions can be promoted, and its trainees appreciated for their encompassing non-constricted knowledge.

Nuclear Medicine–Present Perils and Paradigm Shifts: A Prospectus for Change.
Stephen Baker, MD, Special Presentation.

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