Some MRI contrast agents might be dangerous

What’s in YOUR MRI contrast agent?

This just in from BrainBlogger – as it turns out, my hunch about gadolinium-based contrast agents not being all that great for you, is not far wrong.

Thank you, science, for backing me up. Bold emphasis is mine below.

Some MRI contrast agents might be dangerous

With millions of patients getting MRI scans every year, the technique rapidly becomes one of the most commonly used diagnostic tools in the developed countries. However, new data published this month cast the shadow on the safety of the contrast agents used for the data acquisition – so-called linear-type gadolinium-based contrast agents.

It appears that repeated use of these agents in the MRI scans lead to accumulation of toxic heavy metal gadolinium in the patients’ brains. The safety concerns may have serious implication on the whole MRI industry and likely to result in substituting linear-type agents with safer and more stable macrocyclic gadolinium-based agents. The use of the latter does not lead to accumulation of gadolinium in the brain.

Ref: Robert, P., Lehericy, S., Grand, S., Violas, X., Fretellier, N., Idée, J., Ballet, S., & Corot, C. (2015). T1-Weighted Hypersignal in the Deep Cerebellar Nuclei After Repeated Administrations of Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents in Healthy Rats Investigative Radiology, 50 (8), 473-480 DOI: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000181

Bottom line is, pick your poison. Heavy metal contrast agents aren’t particularly good for you, to begin with, but some may be lesser evils than others.

Check with your doctor/neurologist before you have your next MRI.