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While we work with x-rays every day, we don’t often think of them beyond their use in our medical imaging equipment. But as it turns out, x-rays have a very interesting history and aren’t just used in diagnostic imaging. Let’s take a look at some interesting facts about x-rays that might just brighten your day a little.

X-Rays Can See Old Paintings

While the initial use of x-rays was to look inside the body of living organisms, the technology can also be used for a number of other purposes. One well-known example is that it is used to look at old paintings in order to see if the canvas was used beforehand. Sometimes an artist didn’t like his previous work and painted over it. Other times the artist couldn’t afford a new canvas and simply painted over the original painting. For an excellent (and interactive) article on the subject, click here.

Sometimes We Don’t Create the X-rays

Though humans didn’t learn to produce x-rays until 1895, they have always been a part of nature. There is a normal background radiation that occurs on earth as it picks up x-rays flying through space, though most x-rays are absorbed by our atmosphere. X-rays are constantly being produced by celestial objects such as supernovae, pulsars, and the accretion disks of black holes. These waves allow scientists to learn more about the universe and make images of the cosmos.

DNA, The Double Helix, Genetics...X-rays Played A Part

While we most often think of x-rays being used to see human tissues and bones, the technology played a big part in unlocking much smaller secrets of the body: that of DNA. A variation called x-ray diffraction helped unlock those secrets and spawned an entire industry devoted to helping people by learning about their DNA. You can learn more about the process here.

X-rays Were the First Form of Medical Imaging

The use of x-rays has been used as a form of diagnostic imaging for a very long time, over a hundred years in fact. Wilhelm Roentgen discovered their power in 1895 and continued working with them for decades.

Interestingly, x-rays are still in use today. DEXA scans, CT scans, and bone density scans all use x-rays. Like all technology, x-rays have gotten much better over the years. The amount of energy they use is a fraction of what it used to be, and images (especially those of digital x-rays) are exponentially better. You’ll also get the results back a lot faster, and images can be shared among many doctors more easily.

Do You Need Medical Imaging?

You might not need to see below the layers of an old painting or construct an image of the Crab Nebula, but you can certainly make the most of x-rays when you need medical imagi in the Fair Lawn area. We can help you and your doctor make the right decisions for your health with our x-ray-using diagnostic imaging equipment, as well as non-ionizing scans such as MRIs and ultrasounds. Contact us today!

 

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