|08-24-2009, 06:12 PM||#1|
Squinting at You
Join Date: Feb 2009
How *******tive are Nuclear Medicine docs?
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I'm doing a highly quantitative major (involving a lot of upper math), and I am very interested in the quantitative applications in medicine. Browsing through some info, I fond that Nuclear docs tend to use to most physics and analysis of the specialties. I'm just curious, how quantitative are you? Do you use math regularly? What kind of math? Diff Equations, PDEs, Linear Algebra, ODEs, multivariable calculus and math?
How do Nukes compare to Radiologists in that sense?
|08-26-2009, 06:40 AM||#2|
as a medical student, i probly can't answer this question as well as you'd like, but having rotated through both nuc meds and rads, I can offer you my own perspective.
Radiologists don't use math, and are only quantitative when it comes to measuring the dimensions of their findings on the diagnostic studies they are readings. But, every radiology resident must take and pass a physics course on the physics of radiological imaging. As far as I know, they don't use that knowledge of physics to a large extent as they read their reports, except in the small part of knowing how the images were obtained and knowing how certain findings appear based on densities, for example.
Nucs is more quantitative than rads, but not as much as you are asking. PET/CT has quantifiable values called Standard Uptake Values that can be used to separate oncologic areas of uptake from inflammatory ones. Nuc med physicians don't use diff eq (thank God!) or multivariate calculus. It is not necessary to have an understanding of those courses to practice nuclear medicine. That being said, it might be helpful to have a background in physics and math to better understand the science behind the radiotracers and the detectors and all that is involved in getting the pictures on the screen. I would venture that from a research perspective, it might be helpful to have a knowledge of upper-level mathematics courses. But having been a math major myself, I have yet to use it after doing a month of a nuclear medicine rotation.
Hope that helps.
it's all happening
|08-31-2009, 10:00 PM||#3|
From my exposure it seems like whatever radiologists/nukes/radoncs pick up on their physics boards is promptly forgotten afterwards. No doubt it was worth learning to have an overall understanding of say, how signal is derived, noise and error/artifacts and what not- but the fact of the matter is these are clinicians, not physicists.
Also, since you're working on a sophisticated computer platform- most of the calculations are done for you. For example, could you calculate the SUV of a region-of-interest manually? Sure. But the computer spits a number out for you- all you have to do is contour the tumour (which is where being a doctor comes in). In my experience the technologists have a greater understanding of the physics, and fair enough- if you ask a nucs doctor as to what say, an adaptive threshold calibration curve is and how it's obtained through phantom experiments (e.g. using the NEMA IEC/2001 model), I'm sure they wouldn't have a clue- this is physicists stuff, and only matters in so much as it impacts in how the tumour is contoured ultimately, using that algorithm.
If you really must have maths in medicine- try nephrology. Just word of mouth, but I'm told these guys do a lot of mathematical calculations by hand (e.g. ion gaps)
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