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Medical Scan Contrasts

Last Updated: 11/27/18



  1. Introduction
  2. Risks of Gd
  3. Possible Replacement Option for Gd
  4. Closing Notes
  5. No Contrast Options
  6. Sources

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Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Contrast media (contrast agents or dye) are chemical substances used in medical X-ray, MRI, CT, angiography, and occasionally ultrasound imaging. While MRI contrast of Gadolinium (Gd) was thought safer than CT contrast for many years and still maybe safer, new developments in 2016 are proving Gd is not as safe as initially believed; particularly after repeated use of Gd.

While MRI contrast Gadolinium (Gd) was thought safer than CT contrast and still may be safer, new developments in 2016 are proving Gd is not as safe as initially believed; particularly after repeated use of Gd. This is an issue for individuals who require one or more medical scan yearly including people with Neurofibromatosis (NF); NF1, NF2 and Schwannomatosis (SWN/NF3).

1. Introduction

Gadolinium (GD), MRI contrast agents, are a group of contrast compounds used to improve the visibility of internal body structures for Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The most commonly used compounds for contrast enhancement include a selection of different Gadolinium compounds.

During an MRI/MRA test to enhance what the scans show an injection of a Gadolinium-based agent is necessary. There are known possible side effects of these agents that could range from mild discomfort during and for a few hours after the injection.

2. Risks of Gd

Repeated injections over time can result in kidney problems including possible Renal Failure (Kidney Failure).

Gadolinium has been found to be retained in bone, skin and organs skin, but it also crosses the blood brain barrier (BBB) where it accumulates in highly sensitive brain tissue. Gadolinium is also toxic to the liver, brain, white blood cells, and damages DNA.

3. Possible Replacement Option for Gd

In 2016, researchers confirmed a new contrast agent of Iron Oxide Nanoparticles/Magnetic Iron Oxide Nanoparticles (MIONs) and recently emerged extremely small MIONs (ES-MIONs) could potentially replace the Gadolinium-based agents for MRI/MRA contrasts. Recently related information on trials with Iron Oxide Nanoparticles in animals including; rabbits, dogs, and macaque monkeys have so far proven it is as safer than Gadolinium.

ES-MIONs has also shown significant advantages to show things in scans not possible with Gd, including, distinguish differences from; air, hemorrhage (Strokes), calcification, metal deposition, and blood clots, some of which required CT Scans with ionizing radiation, a scan type that alone could result in tumor growth.

Nanoparticle options are currentlly in research and not yet available.

4. No Contrast Options

MRI's can also be done with no contrast, however, scans without contrast lack clarity. Methods of reviewing MRI's in additional ways is also in development, but due to detailed method of reviewing scans is complex and may be unrealistic.

5. Closing Notes

Many with Neurofibromatosis (NF) require a minimum of one (1) but up to five (5) MRI tests yearly and are at high risk of side effects of damage from Gd contrasts inability to completely leave the body over time. Hope with ES-MION is it will pass the body completely shortly after a scan is done unlike Gd. Individuals in need of an MRI to monitor tumor changes should talk to their doctor about options as MRI delays necessary tumor treatments. More research is needed.

6. Sources

  1. Science Daily. "New MRI contrast agent tested on big animals." (August 2017)
    Source: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/07/170731114502.htm

  2. Yang Lu, Yun-Jun Xuer al. Nature Biomedical Engineering. "Iron oxide nanoclusters for T 1 magnetic resonance imaging of non-human primates." (2017)
    Source: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-017-0116-7 | DOI: DOI: 10.1038/s41551-017-0116-7

  3. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease. National Institute of Health. "Your Kidneys and How They Work" Source: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/yourkidneys

  4. Healthy Living. SF Gate. "The Best Foods to Increase Kidney Function."
    Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/foods-increase-kidney-function-6538.html

  5. Healthy Living. SF Gate. "A List of Low-Oxalate Foods."
    Source: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/list-lowoxalate-foods-5398.html

  6. American Cancer Society. "Anemia in People With Cancer." (2016)
    Source: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/anemia/anemia-in-people-with-cancer

  7. WebMD. "Creatinine and Creatinine Clearance Blood Tests."
    Source: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/creatinine-and-creatinine-clearance-blood-tests

  8. WebMd. "Tests Kidney Function."
    Source: http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/tests-kidney-function

  9. Science Daily. "A new contrast agent for MRI" (February 14, 2017) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170214162741.htm

  10. Zheyu Shen, Aiguo Wu, and Xiaoyuan Chen ACS Publications. Molecular Pharmacutics. "Iron Oxide Nanoparticle Based Contrast Agents for Magnetic Resonance Imaging" (2017)
    Source: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00839 | DOI: 10.1021/acs.molpharmaceut.6b00839

  11. Reginster P, Martin B, Denolin V. Neurooncol Open Access. "Comparative Study of Pseudo-Continuous Arterial Spin Labeling and Dynamic Susceptibility Contrast Imaging at 3.0 Tesla in Brain Tumors." (2017), 2: 1.
    Source: http://j-neurooncology.imedpub.com/comparative-study-of-pseudocontinuous-arterial-spin-labeling-and-dynamic-susceptibility-contrast-imaging-at-30-tesla-in-brain-tumo.pdf | DOI: DOI: 10.21767/2572-0376.100018

  12. https://medinsight.org/mri-contrast-gadolinium/
  13. CBS News. "Chuck Norris Says MRI Chemical Poisoned his Wife." (2017)
  14. https://www.aerzteblatt.de/nachrichten/73573/EMA-erwaegt-Verbot-von-vier-MRT-Kontrastmitteln
  15. "Artificial intelligence helps reduce gadolinium dose in MR imaging." https://physicsworld.com/a/artificial-intelligence-helps-reduce-gadolinium-dose-in-mr-imaging/