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Here's 5 facts you probably didn't know about radiography

Published Nov 8, 2020

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CAPE TOWN- World Radiography Day marks the anniversary of the discovery of X-rays on 8 November 1895. This annual event recognizes the achievements in medical imaging and Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen’s discovery of X-rays.

Here are 5 interesting facts about radiography and x-ray imaging:

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1. The first-ever x-ray was an accident:

German scientist, Wilhelm Roentgen, was studying the path of electricity in 1895 when he noticed that the image was sticking to a paper and contained details not contained in an ordinary photograph. After making a few adjustments, he took the first x-ray of a human hand. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics for 1901.

2. X-rays went through a period of novelty.

Before doctors and scientists knew that x-rays were dangerous for those exposed to them, they were used as novelty at carnivals and circuses like modern photo booths. Shoe stores even used X-rays to ensure a better fit of shoe using the shape and size of the bones.

3. They can be used in many ways.

X-rays have been used in the art world to examine paintings, discover rough sketches and even other paintings beneath a visible surface. They reveal the truth about priceless artifacts without damaging them, such as ancient Egyptian mummies or fossils.

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4. X-rays have advanced several medical treatments.

Radiotherapy has been used to treat some forms of cancer. X-rays have also revolutionized tuberculosis treatments. Chest X-rays allowed physicians to detect shadows on the lungs earlier, making tuberculosis treatments more effective due to early diagnosis.

5. One of the greatest inventors was afraid of X-rays.

Thomas Edison declared he was afraid of x-rays and discontinued working with them after attempting to create an X-ray light bulb. He cancelled the project after his team members developed cancer and died due to radiation exposure.

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