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Tomography X-ray machine with couch, Berlin, Germany, 1933-1939

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X-ray machines are used by radiographers to acquire an image of the body’s skeletal structure. X-rays can also be used to detect disease or abnormalities in soft tissue such as the chest. A tomography machine creates X-ray images of sections or slices of the body, known as tomograms. This was a new technique in the 1930s. It diagnosed diseases such as pulmonary tuberculosis more effectively. The use of tomography in England was pioneered by Dr J B McDougall at Preston Hall Hospital in Kent. This example was presented to the Wellcome collections by the hospital in 1964.

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Glossary: x-ray machine

An X-ray machine is a device used by radiographers to acquire an x-ray image. They are used in various fields, notably medicine and security.

Glossary: x-rays

A wave of electromagnetic radiation that has high energy and short wavelength. It is able to pass through many materials, except those of high density such as metals or bones. Discovered in 1895 by William Roentgen.

Glossary: tomography

Type of radiography which uses a rotating detector and source of radiation to gain an image of a cross-section of the body. Device is called a tomograph and the end result is called a tomogram.