A Notable Safety Concern with Magnetic Resonance Imaging

A visiting professor with the University Hospital Zurich, Dr. Val Runge has pioneered diagnostic MRI techniques and served as editor-in-chief of Investigative Radiology for more than two decades. Dr. Val Runge stays abreast of new developments in his field, including a study that brought to light a major safety issue with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents. These are commonly used in diagnostic testing worldwide.

Of particular concern is that GBCAs (“linear”-type gadolinium-based contrast agents) affect the brain through buildup of the heavy-metal element gadolinium. Rats regularly injected with gadodiamide over a five week period developed “significant and persistent” MRI abnormalities.

Even after injections ended, signal hyperintensity persisted and the deep brain exhibited high total gadolinium concentrations. The end result of these findings may be a reassessment of the least stable agents’ approval status. As Dr. Runge comments in a June 2015 Science Daily article, this may result in “certain linear GBCAs not being used in the future.”

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