May 11, 2006
In this week’s Alchemist I vaingloriously pronounced that oncologists might soon be able to image tumours as quickly and easily as radiologists view broken bones with X-rays.
Sciencebase contributor Dan Lednicer, a retired organic chemist turned pastel chef emailed me to point out that the statement regarding the power of X-rays required qualification:
“One day this last February, I happened to fall on my side in a parking lot. The persistent pain led me to get an X-ray the next day. This showed nothing out of the ordinary. When getting dressed one morning a week later, I found that any weight on my left leg led to excruciating pain. An X-ray in the emergency room at the hospital still showed nothing. It took an MRI (I almost wrote NMR!) to show a clean brake high up on the femur.
I now sport an impressive metal rod with a couple of appurtenances down the middle of that femur. This sails through metal detectors like a breeze, as it is made of titanium.”
So, it seems. X-rays are not the gods of imaging that my flippant remark would suggest. As to why titanium does not show up on airport metal detectors would make an interesting assignment for science class. Feel free to post your thoughts…