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A brief look at X-rays

Though most of us are familiar with the term X-ray, it is not as widely used in other parts of the world -- rather, it is called Roentgen. Roentgen is an eponym for the type of radiation that was discovered by the physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roöntgen in 1895. In 1901, just six years later, this novel discovery made him the first Nobel Prize recipient in Physics and it was not long before its utility in medicine was appreciated.

The emergence of X-ray applications was a significant milestone in medicine. Among other things, it represented the beginning of a new discipline -- radiology.

While radiologists today have much greater imaging techniques at their disposal through alternative technologies, X-ray imaging remains a common and resourceful means for clinical investigation. Its continuous merit in the clinical setting is quite astonishing when taking into consideration the age of this technology.

It is important to note however, that the emergence of radiology not only opened the door to the imaging techniques that today create miraculously vivid pictures, but radiology has also found a place in oncology, in the treatment of cancer through localized high radiation exposure.

Today radiologists make use of a number of other imaging techniques, including Fluoroscopy, CT (CAT scan), Ultrasonography, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and PET scanning. All of which have their own place in medicine, and continue to develop into better and more effective avenues in which to detect pathology. 

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