Gena Norris, wife of actor and martial artist Chuck Norris, claimed to have suffered severe side-effects from gadolinium poisoning in a television interview aired June 11.
Norris described burning sensations, tissue thickening and a foggy mind persisting for years after a series of MRIs. Her doctors were unable to reach an explanation, testing her for everything from cancer to ALS, but her symptoms persisted until she traveled to alternative medicine clinics in China and Reno, Nevada.
There, she “laid in a bed in that clinic for five months on IVs,” slowly recovering.
According to Norris, her treatment in Reno revealed high levels of gadolinium remained in her body years after her last MRI—a possibility acknowledged by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2015. The FDA says there are no adverse health effects from gadolinium deposition, with one exception.
Norris’s symptoms are strikingly similar to a rare condition called nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF), the only known condition relating to gadolinium deposition. NSF is characterized by a thickening of the skin, which can cause a significant limitation of motion—matching what Norris described happening to her left arm.
According to the FDA, NSF usually occurs in patients with pre-existing kidney failure but has been described in patients with normal kidney function, prompting further investigation of the effects of gadolinium retention.
“I didn’t have bad kidneys. I had normal renal function. So it shouldn’t have affected me,” said Norris.
The Dallas-area toxicologist who treated Norris reported treating “four or five” other patients for similar symptoms, saying gadolinium poisoning is a chronic problem doctors haven’t paid attention to.
Gadolinium contrast has been under fire as of late, most prominently with the ban on certain gadolinium agents handed down by the European Medical Agency (EMA). While the EMA granted requests from industry stakeholders to review the ruling, these investigations raise the specter of harm, even in the face of studies finding no evidence of negative side-effects.
In addition, both Bayer and GE Healthcare said they don’t believe gadolinium is causing “clinical symptoms or adverse events,” according to the segment.