No Association Between Gadolinium Contrast and Parkinson’s

July 20, 2016

MRI with gadolinium contrast is not associated with increased rates of Parkinson’s disease.

There is no association between gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) used for MRI scans and Parkinson’s disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers from Canada performed a retrospective study to determine if there was an association between gadolinium exposure and parkinsonism. The study included 246,557 patients with no history of parkinsonism, who had undergone at least one MRI between April 2003 and March 2013. Median age was 73. Patients who had undergone neurosurgery or whose scans were of the brain and spinal cord were not included in the study.

99,739 of the 246,557 (40%) received at least one MRI with gadolinium

2,244 (3%) received at last four exams with GBCAs[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"50333","attributes":{"alt":"MRI contrast","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_880283631319","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"6134","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"height: 105px; width: 170px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"©sfam photo/Shutterstock.com","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

The results showed that incident parkinsonism developed in the same number of patients in both groups: 1.16% of unexposed patients and 1.17% of those exposed to gadolinium. There was no significant association between gadolinium exposure and parkinsonism.

"This result does not support the hypothesis that gadolinium deposits in the globus pallidi lead to neuronal damage manifesting as parkinsonism,” the authors wrote. “However, reports of other nonspecific symptoms (pain, cognitive changes) after gadolinium exposure require further study.”