The FDA has just dropped an urgent health issue like it’s a concrete ball.
I’m talking about the use of extremely toxic and commonly used dyes, which are injected into a vein to enhance the image of an MRI scan.
The problem is that many of these dyes contain a substance called gadolinium. These gadolinium-based contrast dyes have caused untold numbers of patients to be struck down with a horrific, disabling condition. It’s a disease that turns their skin thick and hard like wood, making it nearly impossible to even move.
Plus that, gadolinium has turned up in brain-tumor biopsies, with some experts believing it can trigger cancer cells to grow faster.
But after two years of hemming and hawing over the problem, the FDA has just declared that having residues of this toxic metal in your brain, bones and skin is A-OK.
This is why it’s more urgent than ever that you know the whole story before you or a loved one (especially a child) is subjected to having this poison put inside your body.
If there ever was a situation where the FDA could have really done something to benefit patients, this was it. But true to form, it acted on the side of industry — in this case, giving a wink and a nod to General Electric Healthcare, which owns Omniscan, the most commonly used gadolinium-based MRI dye.
Last month I told you about the very real risks involved in being injected with a gadolinium contrasting agent before undergoing an MRI, and how European regulators are recommending that the ones most frequently used (such as Omniscan) be banned altogether!
Of course, in the U.S., doctors and radiologists will tell you how harmless it is, how your kidneys will excrete the substance, and how it’s really needed so they can accurately read that scan.
But that’s just not true!
As HSI panel member Dr. Allan Spreen says, gadolinium dyes are “highly toxic” and used for the “convenience” of radiologists.
And the most incredible part of the FDA’s review is the casual admission that gadolinium is indeed turning up in “brain and other body tissues.”
But here’s the thing — the entire theory that this highly toxic substance is “safe” to inject into us was based on the concept that most, if not all of it, is simply eliminated in our urine! Now we’re being told that gadolinium is known to be “retained in organs.”
The only danger, the agency says, has to do with a “rare condition” called nephrongenic system fibrosis (NSF), that horrific skin disease I mentioned that can make your skin and joints feel and look like wood. But that just involves a “small subgroup” of people with “pre-existing kidney failure,” the FDA says.
That, however, is certainly not something we should be gambling on.
If your body is retaining this substance, which the FDA freely admits can be the case, we don’t know what the consequences can be. And anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just grasping at straws.
While it seems the agency has pretty much washed its hand of the matter, saying it will hold a public meeting about it sometime in the future, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some things you can do.
#1: First and foremost, if you, or a family member is scheduled to have an MRI, ask if it will be “enhanced” with a contrasting agent. Dr. Spreen advises that all such dyes be “adamantly refused.”
#2: And before you set foot in an imaging facility to have an MRI done, ask your doctor why he ordered it. In many cases, research has found that MRIs (as well as other diagnostic tests) are highly overused and unnecessary.
I know, it can be extremely difficult to question your doctor in a situation such as this. But I’m absolutely positive that every single one of the patients who have suffered the terrible side effects of these gadolinium-based dyes wishes they could go back in time and not have allowed it to be injected into them.
“FDA identifies no harmful effects to date with brain retention of gadolinium-based contrast agents for MRIs; review to continue” May 22, 2017, FDA Safety Announcement, fda.gov