Friday, April 18, 2014

The Periodic Table in IPMB

The periodic table of the elements summarizes so much of science, and chemistry in particular. Of course, the periodic table is crucial in biology and medicine. How many of the over one hundred elements do Russ Hobbie and I mention in the 4th edition of Intermediate Physics for Medicine and Biology? Surveying all the elements is too big of a job for one blog entry, so let me consider just the first twenty elements: hydrogen through calcium. How many of these appear in IPMB?
1. Hydrogen. Hydrogen appears many places in IPMB, including Chapter 14 (Atoms and Light) that describes the hydrogen energy levels and emission spectrum.

2. Helium. Liquid helium is mentioned when describing SQUID magnetometers in Chapter 8 (Biomagnetism), and the alpha particle (a helium nucleus) plays a major role in Chapter 17 (Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Medicine).

3. Lithium. Chapter 7 (The Exterior Potential and the Electrocardiogram) mentions lithium-iodide battery that powers most pacemakers, and Chapter 16 (Medical Use of X-rays) mentions lithium-drifted germanium x-ray detectors.

4. Beryllium. I can’t find beryllium anywhere in IPMB.

5. Boron. Boron neutron capture therapy is reviewed in Chapter 16 (Medical Use of X Rays).

6. Carbon. A feedback loop relating the carbon dioxide concentration in the alveoli to the breathing rate is analyzed in Chapter 10 (Feedback and Control).

7. Nitrogen. When working problems about the atmosphere, readers are instructed to consider the atmosphere to be pure nitrogen (rather than only 80% nitrogen) in Chapter 3 (Systems of Many Particles).

8. Oxygen. Oxygen is often mentioned when discussing hemoglobin, such as in Chapter 18 (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) when describing functional MRI.

9. Fluorine. The isotope Fluorine-18, a positron emitter, is used in positron emission tomography (Chapter 17, Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Medicine).

10. Neon. Not present.

11. Sodium. Sodium and sodium channels are essential for firing action potentials in nerves (Chapter 6, Impulses in Nerve and Muscle Cells).

12. Magnesium. Russ and I don’t mention magnesium by name. However, Problem 16 in Chapter 9 (Electricity and Magnetism at the Cellular Level) provides a citation for the mechanism of anomalous rectification in a potassium channel. The mechanism is block by magnesium ions.

13. Aluminum. Chapter 16 (Medical Use of X Rays) tells how sheets of aluminum are used to filter x-ray beams; removing the low-energy photons while passing the high-energy ones.

14. Silicon. Silicon X ray detectors are considered in Chapter 16 (Medical Use of X Rays).

15. Phosphorus. The section on Distances and Sizes that starts Chapter 1 (Mechanics) considers the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is crucial for metabolism.

16. Sulfur. The isotope technitium-99m is often combined with colloidal sulfur for use in nuclear medicine imaging (Chapter 17, Nuclear Physics and Nuclear Medicine).

17. Chlorine. Ion channels are described in Chapter 9 (Electricity and Magnetism at the Cellular Level), including chloride ion channels.

18. Argon. In Problem 32 of Chapter 16 (Medical Use of X rays), we ask the reader to calculate the stopping power of electrons in argon.

19. Potassium. The selectivity and voltage dependence of ion channels have been studied using the Shaker potassium ion channel (Chapter 9, Electricity and Magnetism at the Cellular Level).

20. Calcium. After discussing diffusion in Chapter 4 (Transport in an Infinite Medium), in Problem 23 we ask the reader to analyze calcium diffusion when a calcium buffer is present.

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