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Question Video: Describing a Medical Application of Radioactivity Science

Which of the following most correctly describes a medical application of radioactivity that is similar to the industrial application of radioactivity of finding defects within manufactured objects? [A] Producing mutations in cells [B] Showing positions of cells inside a body [C] Killing cells

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Video Transcript

Which of the following most correctly describes a medical application of radioactivity that is similar to the industrial application of radioactivity of finding defects within manufactured objects? (A) Producing mutations in cells, (B) showing positions of cells inside a body, (C) killing cells.

Recall that nuclear radiation has many uses, including medical applications and industrial applications. Medical applications are used for diagnosing and treating illnesses, whereas industrial applications are used in the manufacturing of machines and other such products. In medicine, we can use nuclear radiation to identify or destroy cancer cells without damaging healthy ones too much.

Radioactive substances used in medicine to identify certain cells in the body, like cancer cells, are called tracers. Tracers can be used to create images of the inside of a human body to diagnose diseases or to treat them. Different tissues and structures in the body can absorb different tracers. And by controlling the radiation emitted by these radioactive substances, we can create images of the particular tissues or structures that we’re interested in inside the body.

It is important to recognize that causing cells to mutate is not a medical application of nuclear radiation, so we reject option (A). Let us look at the options given in the question: (A) producing mutations in cells, (B) showing positions of cells inside a body, (C) killing cells.

Living organisms are made of cells. Cells are themselves living things. Cells can grow and reproduce. Machines made by industrial processes are not made of cells; they are made of components. These components are not alive, so they neither grow nor reproduce. As components are not alive, it is hard to see how there can be an industrial application of nuclear radiation that is similar to the killing of cells in medical applications of nuclear radiation. We reject option (C).

We are left only with option (B), meaning that there is an industrial application of nuclear radiation that is used to do something to components similar to the medical application of nuclear radiation of showing the positions of particular cells in the body. Comparing this process to processes used in the industry, nuclear radiation can be used to make detailed images of products. These images can reveal defects that are too small to be easily visible to the naked eye.

So, the correct answer is option (B). Nuclear radiation can be used to create detailed images in medicine and in industry that can otherwise not be seen by the naked eye. In medicine, it can be used to show the positions of cells within the human body. And in industry, it can be used to show the location of defects.

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