For many seniors, a hip or knee replacement is a life-changer that gives them their mobility back.
For an untold number of others, however, it can take away everything they hold dear.
In other words, it can be the beginning of the end.
Yesterday, I told you about the Wild West known as the device industry… and how the FDA will allow practically anything on the market, as long as the manufacturer can point to a similar device that’s already being sold.
But what’s outrageous, terrifying, and tragic is that this still holds true even if that prior device has been found to be dangerous and recalled!
As bad as that situation is, there’s one particular aspect of the medical device industry that belongs in a horrifying category all of its own: the spare parts that are used to replace our knees, hips, and shoulders.
Because it turns out that anyone who submits to joint-replacement surgery is at risk for developing a condition called arthroplasty cobalt encephalopathy, or ACE, but they may not know it — because the symptoms mimic those of Parkinson’s and even dementia!
And if there was any question whether ACE could happen to absolutely anyone, Dr. Stephen Tower’s story should convince you otherwise.
Dr. Tower is an orthopedic surgeon who knows these replacement parts inside and out – after all, his profession involves inserting them into patients!
So, when he himself needed a new hip back in 2006, he knew exactly what he wanted — a metal-on-metal hip replacement made by device manufacturer DePuy.
At first, everything was going well, Dr. Tower was back to the extreme biking he loved, so he considered the operation a success.
But then, over a year after his surgery, he started having “a slew of health issues.” He developed a tremor and ringing in his ears. That, however, was only the beginning, because he was soon driven to the brink of insanity.
While attending a medical conference, he became so unhinged that he totally “trashed” his hotel room while suffering, as his wife recalled, a “full-on breakdown.”
And the reason was something he never suspected: cobalt poisoning.
Cobalt is found naturally in the earth’s crust – but like many other common toxic compounds, too much of it can spell disaster.
Testing of his blood and urine revealed 100 times the expected amount of cobalt in his body… and as it was revealed in the documentary The Bleeding Edge, the toxic metal was coming right from the DuPuy hip. The friction of the parts rubbing together (as they are intended to do) can release microscopic particles of cobalt into the body.
While it might seem far-fetched that an orthopedic implant could cause problems with the brain (even Dr. Tower found that hard to believe at first), we now know that it most definitely can.
And although that DuPuy hip, which Tower subsequently had removed, has since been recalled due to “system failure,” there are currently said to be a million Americans at risk from ACE and other health problems because of joint replacements.
Think about that for a moment… a million people, many of whom could have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or dementia and led to believe their life was over, when, in fact, they could be “cured” in a matter of months by having the cobalt removed from their bodies.
Unbelievably, despite what we now know about how cobalt can affect the brain, it’s still being inserted into patients – not only for hip replacements but also shoulder and knee implants!
Obviously, this horror story isn’t going away. So, the first thing you need to do if you’re having replacement surgery is find out if any of the components contain cobalt.
Don’t accept answers like “We don’t know,” “It doesn’t matter,” or especially “It’s FDA approved” as a reply. Your future depends on knowing exactly what’s being put into your body.
And if the answer is “yes,” you should then insist that a safer, proven alternative be used instead. Dr. Tower, for example, replaced his toxic hip with one that has a plastic socket and ceramic head.
There are also stainless steel options available.
Next, if you or a loved one should suffer from any neurological symptoms or exhibit unusual behavior after previously having had a joint replaced, get tested for cobalt in your urine ASAP.
As well, a PET brain scan can provide a thorough measure of brain metabolism, and it’s what Dr. Tower uses to diagnose his patients with cobalt “parts” who are having symptoms of ACE.
Of course, having a second surgery done to replace that toxic hip, knee, or shoulder isn’t something that everyone wants to go through! And for some patients with ongoing health problems, it may be out of the question entirely.
In that case, some doctors are using chelation therapy (“FDA-approved” only for lead poisoning), an IV infusion of an chelating agent that binds to heavy metals and enables you to pass them out in your urine.
As Dr. Tower tells his patients, “Get rid of the cobalt, and the problem goes away.”
Please share this very important eAlert with friends and relatives. You may just give someone who has lost all hope a chance to get their life back!
“The Bleeding Edge: behind the terrifying new Netflix documentary” Amanda Holpuch, July 25, 2018, The Guardian, theguardian.com