A nuclear medicine specialist employs the properties of radioactive atoms and molecules in the diagnosis and treatment of disease and in research. Radiation detection and imaging instrument systems are used to detect disease as it changes the function and metabolism of normal cells, tissues and organs. A wide variety of diseases can be found in this way, usually before the structure of the organ involved by the disease can be seen to be abnormal by any other techniques. Early detection of coronary artery disease (including acute heart attack), early cancer detection and evaluation of the effect of tumor treatment, diagnosis of infection and inflammation anywhere in the body and early detection of blood clot in the lungs are all possible with these techniques. Unique forms of radioactive molecules can attack and kill cancer cells (e.g., lymphoma, thyroid cancer) or can relieve the severe pain of cancer that has spread to bone Source: American Board of Medical Specialties, 2007. www.abms.org [7/1/2007: definiton added, source added; 7/1/2011: modified source]
Additional Resources: American Board of Nuclear Medicine, 2007. http://www.abnm.org/. A doctor of osteopathy was able to obtain a Certificate of Added Qualifications in the field of Nuclear Medicine. The Certificate is NO longer offered.
American Osteopathic Board of Nuclear Medicine, 2007. http://www.osteopathic.org/certification
Board certification for Medical Doctors (MDs) is provided by the American Board of Nuclear Medicine.