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Positronium in medicine and biology

In positron emission tomography, as much as 40% of positron annihilation occurs through the production of positronium atoms inside the patient’s body. The decay of these positronium atoms is sensitive to metabolism and could provide information about disease progression. New research is needed to take full advantage of what positronium decays reveal.

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Fig. 1: Possible decays of positronium atoms trapped in the intramolecular voids in haemoglobin.


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We thank Agnieszka Kaminska and Ewelina Kubicz for help with the figure. This research is supported by the Foundation for Polish Science through the TEAM/2017-4/39 programme, the National Science Centre of Poland through grant no. 2016/21/B/ ST2/01222 and the Polish Ministry for Science and Higher Education through grant no. 7150/E-338/SPUB/2017/1.

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Correspondence to Paweł Moskal, Bożena Jasińska, Ewa Ł. Stępień or Steven D. Bass.

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Moskal, P., Jasińska, B., Stępień, E.Ł. et al. Positronium in medicine and biology. Nat Rev Phys 1, 527–529 (2019).

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