Radioactive Iodine I-131 (also called Radioiodine I-131) therapy is a treatment for an overactive thyroid, a condition called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism can be caused by Graves' disease, in which the entire thyroid gland is overactive, or by nodules within the gland which are locally overactive in producing too much thyroid hormone.
Nuclear medicine is a branch of medical imaging that uses small amounts of radioactive material to diagnose or treat a variety of diseases, including many types of cancers, heart disease and certain other abnormalities within the body.
The thyroid is a gland in the neck that produces two hormones that regulate all aspects of the body's metabolism, the chemical process of converting food into energy. When a thyroid gland is overactive, it produces too much of these hormones, accelerating the metabolism.
Radioactive iodine (I-131), an isotope of iodine that emits radiation, is used for medical purposes. When a small dose of I-131 is swallowed, it is absorbed into the bloodstream in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and concentrated from the blood by the thyroid gland, where it begins destroying the gland's cells.
Radioactive iodine I-131 may also be used to treat thyroid cancer.
From RadiologyInfo.org, June 8, 2010
I owe my life and health to the 9 milicuries of I-131 (radioactive iodine isotope) that I took in pill form in May of 1978. The pill came in a thick metal box inside another think metal box and the radiologist used tweezers to remove it from the box and place it on my tongue, and then he gave me a drink of water, told me to swallow and to go home and lie down for a while.
Three months earlier, I had been hospitalized with a heart rate of 124 bpm, and I had lost 25 pounds in less than two weeks. The propathiauracil I had taken in the meantime, not a curative, had not worked.
Now I learn from the Toronto Star, (Joanna Smith, June 8, 2010) that the supply of radioactive isotopes is threatened because the Canadian government:
1)pulled the plug on the National Research Universal Reactor in 2008 because of cost overruns and technical difficulties and
2) has failed to honour a commitment to ensure a steady supply of medical isotopes by replacing the reactor at Chalk River, Ont. with two new reactors. The government has said it has no long-term plans to produce medical isotopes for the world market
The Society of Nuclear Medicine's Past President, Dr.Robert Atcher said at the society's conference in Utah this week, "We took that promise at face value, stopped development in the U.S. and waited....Unfortunately, our friends to the north failed to deliver on that promise and cancelled the project two years ago, which has put the whole molecular imaging community in the U.S. in a terrible bind. So let's call it like it is and say that Canada assured us that there would be a long-term solution and Canada needs to deliver on those assurances."
A heavy water leak was discovered at the reactor in May 2009, leading to the closure.
There is so subtle way to say this:
Memo to Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis:
Build the damn reactors as your government said you would!