The X-ray is an incredible discovery made over a century ago. Since then, we have developed multiple new ways to use it, both in the medical field and beyond! This short post will take you through six incredible facts about the X-ray, from its origins to its modern-day application. Let’s jump in!
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From imaging broken bones for the first time to detecting tuberculosis in the earliest stages, the X-ray was a phenomenal addition to medicine. Today, companies such as Maven Imaging provide X-ray equipment necessary for various medical contexts.
X-ray has revolutionized medicine and is an essential technology in multiple fields, from dentistry to veterinary care. The latest revolutionary changes happening with X-rays are the integration of VR and AI. Doctors can use wearable devices to examine digital imaging with AI-powered VR headsets for accurate, swift diagnoses.
When Roentgen first discovered the X-ray in 1895, he wasted no time trying out his invention on the nearest person available. In this instance, that was his wife, Anna Bertha Ludwig!
The first image we have from the X-ray is of Ludwig’s skeletal hand, wedding ring and all. She wasn’t pleased with the image produced, declaring, ‘I have seen my death!’.
Although Roentgen was the first to discover X-ray, he didn’t know what he’d found. For this reason, he named it ‘X-Strahlen,’ with strahlen being German for ‘beam’ or ‘ray.’ He added the X, which is often used in mathematics to indicate an unknown quantity.
Although our understanding of the potential harm of X-ray has developed enormously since its initial discovery, when people first started utilizing it, they believed it was entirely harmless. It wasn’t until Thomas Edison’s assistant Clarence Dally died of skin cancer in 1904 that the potential harm became more apparent.
Further developments into the relationship between X-rays and cancer revealed that not only can excessive exposure cause cancer, but it can cure it too. Shortly after Roentgen discovered the X-ray, doctors began using it to burn off cancerous moles. Today, hyperfocused beams are used in radiotherapy to destroy tumor tissue.
Finally, rounding off our list of amazing facts, X-rays aren’t solely for medical applications! They have also found a use in excavating art.
When placing paintings under X-ray, it’s possible to see the guiding lines the original artists once used as a template. The imaging has helped to improve our contemporary understanding of how the masters created some of the most famous paintings.
Since the discovery of the X-ray in the eighteenth century, we have made significant leaps in both how we understand it and how we use it. Now, it’s a staple of diagnosis and treatment, used daily throughout the globe!