Chemical article structure

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 02 Aug 2021

Articles about chemicals, whether chemical elements or their innumerable compounds, have a unique structure and subheadings. All articles should be placed in the Pathology section.


The introduction should take the following structure:

The introduction paragraph summarizes in 1-3 lines the name of the element, its one or two letter abbreviation, and its main importance to clinicoradiological practice including deficiency, toxicity, and uses in imaging.

For chemical elements, this will include their atomic number, atomic weight, physical appearance, element group in the periodic table and other interesting/important physical properties. 

For chemical compounds, this will include their interesting/important physical properties

This subheading is primarily for chemical elements. It will include the number of known isotopes, their relative proportions on earth and half-lives of the most important isotopes.

  • includes common dietary sources
  • how chemical is handled in and absorbed by the GI tract, lungs, etc.
  • how the chemical is transported in the circulation
  • where/how the chemical is stored in the body

Only a small percentage of the chemical elements in the periodic table (and hence compounds) are essential for normal functioning of the cells in the human body, this covers both bulk and trace elements.

Most chemical elements and their compounds that are required for normal body functioning will have known deficiency states.

Most chemical elements, especially in their pure forms, are known to be toxic and many times this causes specific named conditions (e.g. manganism secondary to manganese toxicity). Many chemical compounds are also toxic.

Many chemical elements and their compounds have important uses in general medical practice including as diagnostic tests and treatments. Of course, all drugs are chemical elements or compounds of some description.

Many elements and their compounds have important uses in imaging. This will include in scanner hardware (e.g. x-ray tubes, scintillation counters, etc.), contrast media and diagnostic/therapeutic radionuclides.

Fewer than ten elements have been known about since antiquity, most were discovered by specific scientists in the past 200 years or so.
Many chemical elements have interesting etymologies behind their names including eponyms and toponyms.

  • a bulleted list of conditions related to the elements
  • a bulleted list of articles related to the topic

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