Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a body scan that provides detailed images particularly good for viewing soft tissue (versus a traditional X-ray that’s better for seeing bone). Sometimes, drugs are injected before you have an MRI to add contrast, making the images sharper. But some of the drugs in those agents might be toxic.
We recently wrote about another risk of certain diagnostic scans including MRIs, when people are not told about the risks of radiation. Now, according to ProPublica.org, it seems as though the brain can be damaged by a heavy metal the contrast drugs contain called gadolinium.
Marcie Jacobs, a woman profiled in the story, had a family history of breast cancer. In 2001, she decided to have an MRI for preventive care. She was injected with a contrast agent, and later began experiencing strange cognitive effects. At first they were fairly minor, like forgetting about work meetings.