Neutrontherapy, future treatment thanks to nuclear fusion

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Lawrence Livermore National Nuclear Fusion Laboratory.

USA has made one of the most important scientific discoveries in its recent history, after successfully achieving a nuclear fusion capable of generating a net gain of energy. This advance of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory It aims to lay the foundations for a new form of production that is cleaner, cheaper and more stable than the sources currently used on the planet. However, it could also trigger an indirect impact on the sanitary system, since this new reaction opens the door to as yet unknown future treatments such as ‘neutrontherapy’.

Nuclear fusion consists of a reaction in which two nuclei of light atoms, generally hydrogen and its isotopes (deuterium and tritium), join to form another heavier, helium. This procedure also results in a release of particles. On the one hand, there is a neutron emission. And on the other, one radiation.

Jaime Segarrathe president of the Energy Commission of the College of Industrial Engineers of Madrid (COIIM), has explained to Medical Writing that, beyond the advances in terms of energy consumption, the emission of these two elements is what may end up facilitating the development of new sanitary applications. “It could be used for medical uses”has pointed out the expert in nuclear energy.

Although it is still a very theoretical supposition, Segarra has pointed out that the neutron emission could end up giving rise to a ‘neutrontherapy’. The engineer has compared this bet with the prontontherapythe technology to be installed in a ten hospitals of the National Health System (SNS) to improve the treatment of child cancerthanks to the design of a bunker that will house the generator and the proton beam.

Nuclear fusion for medical imaging

Another sector that could benefit from the discovery of nuclear fusion is the medical image. The expert from the College of Industrial Engineers of Madrid explained that one of the hypothetical functions of the radiation resulting from the reaction could be to improve tissue analysis. “I am speaking in a very futuristic way, but it is conceivable”, he added.

For the nuclear energy expert, this radiation resulting from the fusion of the nuclei is also on the horizon as a mechanism to facilitate action on ongoing diseases such as the “tumor treatment”. “You could use some of that energy that is lost, because the reaction is more than 30 percent efficient, for other purposes”he has pointed out.

Both the use of neutrons and radiation are for the moment two hypotheses that are raised about the health sector, but that demonstrate the magnitude of the announcement by the United States Government, which has sold its research as a “historic breakthrough” for science. “This day will end in the history books”affirmed the Secretary of Energy of the Casablanca, Jennifer Granholm, after breaking the news.

Although it may contain statements, data or notes from health institutions or professionals, the information contained in Redacción Médica is edited and prepared by journalists. We recommend to the reader that any health-related questions be consulted with a health professional.

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