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Gadolinium Deposition Disease Specialists in Scottsdale, Arizona

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In a Google search for “Gadolinium toxicity support groups”, on 06-30-21 1, 170,000 results were brought up. One might think that there is some issue with gadolinium toxicity in a sufficient number of people to generate so much traffic, and so many support groups, despite the nay-sayers who are convinced that the issue is not a real physical issue, but rather a construct built by unstable hysterical people whose symptoms are due to “depression” or “anxiety”. The disease caused by gadolinium toxicity was first recognized in 1997 and formally described in 2000 as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis by SE Cowper and reported as a case series in 2016[i] before being formally described in The Lancet in 2000[1].

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Richard Semelka, MD and colleagues further described the illness in a paper published in the journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in 2016. [ii] They recruited participants from two online Gadolinium toxicity groups and accepted only those who had systemic symptoms after an MRI, with no evidence of kidney disease, and evidence of gadolinium still found in their bodies 30 days beyond the MRI which the patient identified as the initial date of their symptoms. Forty-two patients were included in this study. Symptoms were most commonly pain, central pain (pain signals originating in the brain, treated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors, headache, and bone pain. Of the patients included in this study, forty-one out of forty-two participants still had measurable gadolinium in their bodies 30 days after the signal MRI. A few patients developed symptoms after a single MRI, but most patients had multiple exposures. For most of the participants, the pain lasted less than three months, but for about half the participants, the pain persisted beyond three months. Over half the participants described a “stocking/glove” description of pain or numbness, with “pins and needles” being high on the description of pain list. Bone pain was described in about 20% of cases. Brain fog was another common symptoms – cloudy mentation or “brain fog” associated with headache, inability to concentrate or focus attention in 70% of subjects (29 of 42) impairing their ability to function as compared to their previous life experience.

Despite the experience of many patients – for example, patients with multiple sclerosis, who have multiple MRI examinations to track the course of their disease, most of whom do not develop symptoms of toxicity or pain or brain fog. A certain subset of patients clearly are affected adversely by the experience, and do not deserve to be dismissed out of hand.

Skepticism is not a bad quality for physicians to have, but if there is to be trust in the patient/physician relationship, that trust needs to operate in both directions. Where can these patients find help, if we as their physicians do not believe them?

Dr. Semellka’s definition of gadolinium deposition disease includes the following necessary criteria:

  • Normal renal function prior to MRI with subsequent development of symptoms (at least three of the following) occurring after administration of gadolinium dye for an MRI including:
    • Peripheral pain (arms, legs), bone pain headache and brain fog, skin thickening and discoloration, measurable gadolinium in blood or urine more than 30 days after administration of gadolinium dye.

Gadolinium measurements may be made through conventional laboratories (the Mayo Clinic Laboratory, for example, or LabCorp of America, or Quest Laboratory or through labs which specialize in such measurements, such as Doctor’s Data International or Genova Diagnostics, preferably in a timed collection (24-hour urine collection is preferred) so as to track success of treatment.[iii]

Treatment may be best accomplished through chelation therapy using DTPA which complexes reversibly with gadolinium, and is excreted through the urine – hence the utility of urinary measurements of gadolinium, to track how much is being excreted. 

For additional support, GadTTrac is a support group offering financial support as well. Click HERE for more information!

[i] Semelka, R.C., Commander, C.W., Jay, M., Burke, L.M. and Ramalho, M., 2016. Presumed gadolinium toxicity in subjects with normal renal function: a report of 4 cases. Investigative radiology, 51(10), pp.661-665.

[ii] Semelka, R.C., Ramalho, J., Vakharia, A., AlObaidy, M., Burke, L.M., Jay, M. and Ramalho, M., 2016. Gadolinium deposition disease: initial description of a disease that has been around for a while. Magnetic resonance imaging, 34(10), pp.1383-1390.


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