Gadolinium is a soft, shiny, ductile, silver metal that belongs to the group of lanthanides (rare earths) in the periodic table. The metal does not oxidize in dry air, but forms oxides in liquid air. Gadolinium reacts slowly with water and dissolves in acids. Gadolinium is a strong magnetic material at room temperature.
Gadolinium is used in the control rods of nuclear reactors and nuclear power plants. It is also used in the manufacture of microwave appliances and some of its compounds have been used to make phosphorus in color televisions. Metal gadolinium is rarely used as a metal, but its alloys are used in the manufacture of magnetic and electronic components, in the manufacture of optical discs and computer memory.
Some gadolinium compounds are used in medicine intravenously as contrast agents to improve images on MRI. After infusion, gadolinium-containing contrast agents are concentrated in the brain and body tissues, providing greater contrast in the image between normal and abnormal tissues, thereby facilitating the detection of tumors.
Gadolinium in the environment
Gadolinium is one of the most abundant rare earth elements. It is never found as a free element in nature, but it is contained in many rare minerals.
Impact of gadolinium on human health
Gadolinium, like other lanthanides, forms compounds with low to moderate toxicity. Gadolinium salts can irritate the skin and eyes and are suspected to be carcinogenic. Gadolinium toxicity has not been thoroughly investigated.
Gadolinium does not appear to pose an environmental threat to plants and animals.
How can one determine if one has been exposed to gadolinium?
We can measure gadolinium levels in blood and most biological materials.
Determination of metals is done by ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry, Inductively Coupled Argon Plasma Mass Spectrometry), a method that enables the simultaneous detection of many metals. Its sensitivity and accuracy are significantly better than conventional atomic absorption, with the ability to measure metals at concentrations up to 1 in 1015 (1 in 1 quadrillion, ppq)!
Laboratory test results are the most important parameter for the diagnosis and monitoring of all pathological conditions. 70%-80% of diagnostic decisions are based on laboratory tests. Correct interpretation of laboratory results allows a doctor to distinguish "healthy" from "diseased".
Laboratory test results should not be interpreted from the numerical result of a single analysis. Test results should be interpreted in relation to each individual case and family history, clinical findings and the results of other laboratory tests and information. Your personal physician should explain the importance of your test results.
At Diagnostiki Athinon we answer any questions you may have about the test you perform in our laboratory and we contact your doctor to get the best possible medical care.