Compared to CT scans or X-rays, an MRI does not use ionizing radiation that may cause DNA or cancer. This does not mean that the procedure is without risks.
As reported by Daily Mail, legendary celebrity martial artist, producer and actor Chuck Norris has alleged that his wife Gena was poisoned by the gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) that are used to improve the clarity of MRIs.
He has filed a lawsuit on behalf of his wife and the defendants include industry heavy weights GBMCA manufacturers ACIST Medical Systems inc., Bracco S.p.A., and McKesson Corporation.
Gena Norris, a model who has been married to Chuck Norris for 19 years, has suffered bouts of pain, burning, weakness, cognitive issues and constant fatigue since undergoing three MRI scans in a single week five years ago.
According to the suit, the gadoliniumused for her tests resulted in Gadolinium Deposition Disease. This condition has left her near death and resulted in $2 million in medical expenses, including stem cell therapies that have triggered underlying central nervous system issues.
Gena Norris is arguing that litigation is her only recourse and “these companies continue to say that there is no link between gadolinium and adverse events, even though the evidence is overwhelming that this heavy metal stays in the body for years, rather than hours.”
Gadolinium is a paramagnetic metal ion that moves differently within a magnetic field. When used during an MRI, it may make certain tissues, abnormalities, or diseases more clearly visible. However, because the gadolinium ion is known to be toxic, it is chemically bonded with non-metal ions when used during MRIs to allow it to be eliminated from your body before it is released in your tissues.
Earlier studies have suggested that your body may retain gadolinium. One study linked it to Nephrogenic Systemic Fibrosis, or NSF. NSF causes skin thickening that can prevent bending and extending your joints. It can also develop in your diaphragm, thigh muscles, lung vessels and lower abdomen. Along with causing decreased mobility of joints, NSF can be fatal.
Because of this connection, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested that the manufacturers of all five gadolinium-based contrast agents (Magnevist, MultiHance, Omniscan, OptiMARK and ProHance) add a boxed warning and a new warnings section to their labels to describe the risk of developing NSF.
The salient issue is to avoid using MRI scans with contrast unless ABSOLUTELY necessary. Many times, physicians will order these tests just to be complete and cover their butts from a legal perspective. If that is your case, then simply refuse to have the test done with contrast. If necessary, consult with other physicians that can provide you with a different perspective.
It is also worth noting that the fees for diagnostic procedures can vary greatly, depending on where they are performed. Hospitals are the most expensive option by a wide margin. The fact that hospitals are among the most dangerous places in the world is all the more reason to shop around for a smaller facility that offers a more reasonable price.