There’s that jolt of anxiety when your doctor tells you that you need to go for an MRI scan. The next thing you know, you’re being rolled into a machine that looks and feels like a coffin, and sometimes you’re stuck inside it for almost an hour… or more.
Believe it or not, this experience can actually get worse… An enhanced MRI scan is when a contrasting agent is injected into your bloodstream to produce clearer images.
The contrasting agent used may contain a powerful dose of gadolinium, which is a poisonous metal that stays inside your body for longer than your doctor will tell you…
Toxic waste dump
For years, mainstream doctors and radiologists have claimed that MRI contrasting agents are harmless dyes and that our bodies naturally pass in a day or two.
However, when it comes to gadolinium, which is widely used in contrasting agents for enhanced MRI scans, that simply is not true.
Gadolinium is a highly toxic substance that’s used to manufacture computer components and you’ll even find it in certain types of nuclear reactors. In fact, gadolinium is so deadly that years ago scientists had to find a way to use it inside our bodies without immediately poisoning us.
So they bound it to another molecule and figured our kidneys would remove the gadolinium before the bond broke and it became toxic again.
That plan looked good on paper – but not so much in real life.
Three recent studies have shown disturbing results about the dangerous levels of gadolinium that are pooling in the bones and even the brains of patients who had enhanced MRI scans. And unless you take charge at your next MRI, you could be setting yourself up for a lifetime of organ damage. Maybe even cancer.
The first alarm bells were sounded nine years ago. One of these contrasting agents, Omniscan, was linked to a horrific condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF).
NSF is a potentially deadly disease that causes a hardening and thickening of your skin, joints, and internal organs, including your heart and lungs. Patients with kidney problems were getting NSF in droves because they couldn’t clear the gadolinium fast enough… and Omniscan even received a black box warning for people with kidney disease.
Now, top radiologists from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Ohio State, in the US, recently analysed three more studies and found convincing evidence that gadolinium was accumulating in the bodies, including the brain tissue, of healthy patients with perfect kidneys.
And the more enhanced MRIs you have, the greater the danger.
One of the researchers, Dr. Emanuel Kanal from the University of Pittsburgh, said he’s convinced that every single patient who gets an enhanced MRI with gadolinium has the potential to retain this toxic substance longer in their bodies than they should. And that’s incredibly dangerous, because what we know so far about the long-term risks of gadolinium exposure is frightening.
A study six years ago found that a contrasting agent containing gadolinium promoted cancer cell growth. Another study found gadolinium deposits in seven brain tumour biopsies.
Sharon, a gadolinium victim who started a support group for people who have been poisoned by the substance, said: “I am hopeful that sometime soon key members of the medical industry will recognise that gadolinium retention poses a risk for all exposed patients.” She added that all patients affected by gadolinium toxicity deserve to be properly diagnosed and given appropriate medical treatment.”
If you’re worried that you’ve been exposed to this toxic metal – or that you’re about to be – here are some things that Dr. Kanal and other experts recommend you should do:
- If you’ve had recent enhanced MRIs, call your radiologist and find out which contrasting agents were used. If Omniscan and Magnevist (the two most common containing gadolinium) were given to you, schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor, especially if you haven’t been feeling well.
- Before agreeing to an enhanced MRI – or any other kind for that matter – ask whether it’s really necessary and what your doctor is hoping to learn.
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“Left in the brain: Potentially toxic residue from MRI drugs” Jeff Gerth, June 11, 2015, ProPublica, propublica.org