Chuck Norris Says MRI Dye Harmed Wife's Brain, But Study Finds No Link

From Drugs.com - November 29, 2017

Chuck Norris Says MRI Dye Harmed Wife's Brain, But Study Finds No Link

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 29, 2017 -- Despite recent claims from actor Chuck Norris that a dye commonly used during MRI scans seriously sickened his wife, a new study finds no evidence to support such a link.

The substance in question is gadolinium. It's a metal found in contrast agents that are injected into the body during an MRI scan, to enhance the quality of the images.

Earlier this month, Norris filed a lawsuit alleging that his wife fell ill after being exposed to gadolinium during MRI scans.

The suit says that Gena Norris was left weak, tired and suffering bouts of pain and burning sensations.

Doctors have been using gadolinium-based agents for 30 years -- totaling more than 300 million doses, said Dr. Vikas Gulani, an associate professor of radiology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

But, Gulani explained, researchers have only recently discovered that trace amounts of the metal can be left behind in the brain.

In September, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel called for a warning to be added to the agents' labels. The warning specifies that trace amounts of gadolinium may be retained in various organs, including the skin, bone and brain.

The big question remains, though: What, if any, are the harms?

The new findings, from a study of nearly 4,300 older adults, offer some reassurance. Researchers found no evidence that gadolinium exposure was related to faster mental decline over several years.

"The key issue is, if (this) substance deposits in trace amounts in the brain, are there any harms?" said Gulani, who was not involved in the new study.

He said this study is one of the first to address that question in a "meaningful way."

"This gives us a critical piece of information," Gulani said.

The report was based on 4,261 older adults who were part of a study looking at the natural course of "cognitive impairment" -- milder problems with memory and thinking skills -- and full-blown dementia.

At the outset, the participants had an average age of 72 and had no signs of impairment. About one-quarter had ever received a gadolinium-based agent during an MRI -- typically within the past two to nine years.

Overall, there was no clear link between gadolinium exposure and older adults' risk of cognitive decline over the next few years.


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