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J Nucl Med. 2003 Aug;44(8):1362-5.

The birth of nuclear medicine instrumentation: Blumgart and Yens, 1925.

Author information

  • Division of Nuclear Medicine, University Medical Center, 1501 N. Campbell Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85724-5068, USA. dpatton@radiology.arizona.edu


In 1925, Hermann Blumgart performed the first diagnostic procedure using radioactive indicators on humans; this first is well recognized. Less well recognized is the fact that Blumgart and his coworker Otto C. Yens, then a medical student, developed the first instrumentation used in a diagnostic procedure involving radioactive indicators. The instrumentation, a modified Wilson cloud chamber, turned out to be the detector most suitable for their purpose. Blumgart also showed remarkable foresight in outlining the requirements both for a satisfactory indicator (tracer) and for a satisfactory detector--requirements that still hold true today. The Blumgart-Yens modified cloud chamber was the birth of nuclear medicine instrumentation.

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