In some cases radiation can be used to treat diseased organs, or tumours.
Five Nobel Laureates have been closely involved with the use of radioactive tracers in medicine.
Some paleontologists study the ecology of the past; others work on the evolution of fossil taxa.
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In developed countries (a quarter of the world population) about one person in 50 uses diagnostic nuclear medicine each year, and the frequency of therapy with radioisotopes is about one-tenth of this.
Nuclear medicine uses radiation to provide information about the functioning of a person's specific organs, or to treat disease.
In most cases, the information is used by physicians to make a quick diagnosis of the patient's illness.
The thyroid, bones, heart, liver, and many other organs can be easily imaged, and disorders in their function revealed.