New Research Links Artificial Hip Replacement With Cobalt Brain Toxicity

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New findings presented at the 2017 Health Watch USA(sm) Patient Safety Conference demonstrated objective changes in brain functioning on PET scans in patients with elevated blood cobalt levels that are associated with Chromium Cobalt Hip Implants. Over 3 million are at risk because most hip replacements done in the United States over the last twenty years use modular chrome-cobalt parts.

Picture showing a removed hip implant (explant) with corrosion of the chromium cobalt  component

Corrosion found in a chromium cobalt hip implant

Greater than three million patients have implants who may be at risk for developing cobalt poisoning and brain toxicity

Two medical presentations at this year's Health Watch USA(sm) Patient Safety Conference held in Lexington, Kentucky discussed research linking commonly used artificial hip joint replacements with long term brain injury. Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanning and computer analysis, Alaskan physicians Stephen Tower and Robert Bridges have been evaluating patients presenting with cognitive decline related to their artificial hips. A chronic toxic encephalopathy can occur when mechanical failure or corrosion allows cobalt-chromium alloy used in the artificial joints to leak out of the joint. This specific form of brain injury, called Arthroplasty Cobalt Encepholopathy (ACE), can present as new onset memory loss, vision and hearing problems. Parkinsonism, nerve damage and diminished mentation. The incidence of ACE was shown to be more commonly encountered than present medical literature claims. Concern was raised that this potentially reversible form of brain injury may be misdiagnosed as age related or a permanent progressive dementia, delaying or preventing adequate treatment. Depending on severity of findings, replacement of the artificial hip with one not made of cobalt or the use of chelation may be necessary.

View Dr Tower's Presentation on Metal Poisoning and Brain Toxicity in Patients With Hip Implants    View Dr. Bridge's Presentation on Brain Toxicity From Cobalt in Artificial Hip Implants As Seen on PET Scan

Health Watch USA (HW USA) is a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to the improvement of patient safety through healthcare transparency and the improvement of quality metrics. For more information go to

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Kevin Kavanagh
Health Watch USA
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