Breaking: MRI Agent Linked to Brain Abnormalities | Bob's Blitz

Breaking: MRI Agent Linked to Brain Abnormalities

Three years ago we asked, Do Pro Teams Expose Players to Unnecessary MRI Related Risks? Bob wrote at the time:

We're not going to even touch on the extreme dangers of contrast that is sometimes used with MRIs (and whether a player has had contrast is almost never reported to the media anyway). But Google 'MRI Contrast Dangers' for a sample of the severe risks contrast can cause for patients. I personally know someone who had their kidneys destroyed after receiving contrast. They are currently on dialysis.

Fast forward to this past December. The Radiological Society of North America released the following press release, 'Contrast Agent Linked with Brain Abnormalities on MRI.'

For the first time, researchers have confirmed an association between a common magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agent and abnormalities on brain MRI, according to a new study published online in the journal Radiology. The new study raises the possibility that a toxic component of the contrast agent may remain in the body long after administration.

Brain MRI exams are often performed with a gadolinium-based contrast medium (Gd-CM). Gadolinium's paramagnetic properties make it useful for MRI, but the toxicity of the gadolinium ion means it must be chemically bonded with non-metal ions so that it can be carried through the kidneys and out of the body before the ion is released in tissue. Gd-CM is considered safe in patients with normal kidney function.

However, in recent years, clinicians in Japan noticed that patients with a history of multiple administrations of Gd-CM showed areas of high intensity, or hyperintensity, on MRI in two brain regions: the dentate nucleus (DN) and globus pallidus (GP). The precise clinical ramifications of hyperintensity are not known, but hyperintensity in the DN has been associated with multiple sclerosis, while hyperintensity of the GP is linked with hepatic dysfunction and several diseases.

"Hyperintensity in the DN and GP on unenhanced MRI may be a consequence of the number of previous Gd-CM administrations," said lead author Tomonori Kanda, M.D., Ph.D., from Teikyo University School of Medicine in Tokyo and the Hyogo Cancer Center in Akashi, Japan. "Because gadolinium has a high signal intensity in the body, our data may suggest that the toxic gadolinium component remains in the body even in patients with normal renal function."

The doctor summed up as follows:

Dr. Kanda emphasized that there is currently no proof that gadolinium is responsible for hyperintensity on brain MRI. Further research based on autopsy specimens and animal experiments will be needed to clarify the relationship and determine if the patients with MRI hyperintensity in their brains have symptoms.

"Because patients who have multiple contrast material injections tend to have severe diseases, a slight symptom from the gadolinium ion may be obscured," Dr. Kanda said.

And you know who else has multiple contrast material injections, right? Pro athletes.

RSNA Press Release...Contrast Agent Linked with Brain Abnormalities on MRI

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