Gadolinium Toxicity

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Gadolinium Toxicity – Status and Direction – August 2018

The two of us, Sharon Williams and Hubbs Grimm, have been working together on gadolinium toxicity related issues since 2012 and this website since 2014.  Since it affects us and our many new friends personally, coming to agreement on our “message” has not always been easy but we have done it.

Recently, out of frustration with lack of progress on matters related to gadolinium toxicity from MRI contrast agents, we wanted to do a post that was both reflective of where the medical community has been on this issue and where we believe it ought to go.  While we had similar ideas, we differed in how we wanted to convey the message.  So, we each worked on our own editorial and then we helped each other with the final copy as we have done many times in the past.

Tomorrow we will be posting two editorials about Gadolinium Toxicity.  While our approaches are different, this is not a dispute between us or an attempt to decide which is right and which is wrong.  Instead, it is two people, working together with great respect for each other, expressing their thoughts in an important discussion about something that affects countless other people.  We invite industry representatives to contribute to this discussion.

We hope you will read both editorials and take time to consider the important points we make.

Sharon’s editorial is titled, “Gadolinium Toxicity: If not NSF, then what is it?
Hubbs’ editorial is titled, “Gadolinium Toxicity – Let’s not make the same mistake again

Sharon Williams and Hubbs Grimm
Coauthors of The Lighthouse Project

Important Petition to the FDA, National Institutes of Health and others

A petition drive to Stop the Damage and Find a Cure for Victims of MRI Contrast Toxicity has been started at change.org.  The toxicity comes from the gadolinium that is retained from Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents (GBCAs) administered for contrast-enhanced MRIs.  We hope all of our readers will sign the petition and then tell all their friends who will sign it and then tell all of their friends.  With today’s social media, we have a chance to get the attention of the FDA and other decision makers around the world.

The petition was started by MedInsight Research Institute.  https://medinsight.org/ and specifically by Moshe Rogosnitzky, the co-founder and Executive Director.  He is an established research scientist and medical innovator whose pioneering work has resulted in the development of new treatments for various types of cancer and auto-immune diseases.  We have been in touch with Moshe since late 2015 when he first contacted us about gadolinium toxicity issues.

petition-drive-pictureHis blog post announcing the petition drive “What price will we pay for the FDA’s faith in Gd?”  lays out his case for why various actions regarding the use of Gadolinium-Based Contrast Agents are needed now.  He covers many of the points we have raised and brings new insight as to why the FDA, NIH, WHO, and other organizations worldwide must Stop the Damage and Find a Cure for Victims of MRI Contrast Toxicity, the headline for the petition.

Please take action now and show your support by signing this petition at Change.org.

https://www.change.org/p/healthcare-regulators-stop-the-damage-and-find-a-cure-for-victims-of-mri-contrast-toxicity?utm_source=embedded_petition_view

Study is first to report Gadolinium Toxicity in Patients with Normal Renal Function

Presumed Gadolinium Toxicity in Subjects with Normal Renal Function – A Report of 4 Cases”, is a landmark paper which documents the first presumed cases of gadolinium toxicity.  Richard C. Semelka, MD, Radiologist at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his colleagues are the authors.  This is the first study to describe a series of patients with normal renal function who developed symptomatology lasting beyond the immediate post-injection period after the administration of a gadolinium-based contrast agent (GBCA).

Two subjects were assessed at 2 months and at 3 months after GBCA administration (early stage), and 2 subjects were assessed at 7 years and 8 years after GBCA administration (late stage).  Clinical features were similar between subjects, and included central torso pain (all), peripheral arm and leg pain (all), clouded mentation (2), and distal arm and leg skin thickening and rubbery subcutaneous tissue (one early and both late subjects).  All subjects had evidence of gadolinium retention ranging from one month up to 8 years after disease development.

Regarding clinical findings, the authors note that “these 4 individuals showed features that resemble and are observed in NSF patients”.  “Specifically, the glove-and-sock pattern of pain (seen in all patients) is essentially universally seen in NSF, and central torso pain (seen in 3 patients) is seen with some frequency, but not universally, in NSF patients.  Skin thickening and doughiness of the hands was seen in the 2 subjects with late-stage disease and is also described as a feature that progressively develops with NSF.”  They also noted that “headache and clouded mentation are vague and non-specific clinical symptoms; but they had new onset in 2 subjects”. While numerous recent studies report gadolinium deposition in the brain, no histopathological changes have been documented yet. They point out that a compound may be neurotoxic without being associated with histopathological signs.

These clinical features are comparable to the symptomatology reported by Burke et al, in which the most common self-reported symptoms included bone/joint pain and head/neck symptoms including headache, vision change, and hearing change (77.6% each). (more…)

Gadolinium Deposition Disease – Part of a Family of Disorders

Important News for Patients who have retained gadolinium –
A recently published article by UNC Radiologist Dr. Richard Semelka and his colleagues proposes naming the histopathologically proven presence of gadolinium in brain tissue “gadolinium storage condition”, and it describes a new entity that represents symptomatic deposition of gadolinium in individuals with normal renal function, for which they propose the designation “gadolinium deposition disease”.  The article titled: Gadolinium in Humans: A Family of Disorders, was published in AJR online.

The article is not freely available to the public at this time.   Because of that, I will provide some important information from the article for patients and their doctors below.

Gadolinium Storage Condition –
“Gadolinium storage condition” is the term proposed for gadolinium tissue deposition. The authors said, “Even in patients with normal renal function, in vivo clinical exposure to gadolinium chelates results in gadolinium incorporation into body tissues such as bone matrix or brain tissues.” (See references below.)

It appears that gadolinium accumulation varies depending on the stability of the agent used.  As with NSF, the least stable GBCAs appear to be most likely to result in gadolinium storage condition, and stable agents either do not cause it or cause it at a very low level.  The clinical significance of gadolinium tissue deposition remains incompletely understood.

Gadolinium Deposition Disease –
“Gadolinium deposition disease” is the name proposed for a disease process observed in subjects with normal or near normal renal function who develop persistent symptoms that arise hours to 2 months after the administration of gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs).  In these cases, no preexistent disease or subsequently developed disease of an alternate known process is present to account for the symptoms.

The authors note that some of these patients are likely to have coexistent gadolinium storage condition, as described above, but gadolinium deposition disease is also described after a single administration of GBCA.  The causal relationship has not been fully established, but it is under investigation.

The article references our MRI Gadolinium-Toxicity support group and notes that the group has reported symptoms it considers to be consistent with the known toxic effects of gadolinium.  They also cite the results of our 2014 Symptom Survey which suggests an association between chronic effects and GBCA exposure.

The authors said, in their experience, “Symptoms of gadolinium deposition disease are similar but not identical to those observed in NSF”.   They said that their preliminary investigation has convinced them that this phenomenon is a true disease process. (more…)

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