Skip to main content
Accessibility  |  Contact  |  Privacy  |  Terms of Service

Some Hip Implants May be Toxic to the Brain

  • Published: 2017-06-06 (Revised/Updated 2017-12-24) : Author: Health Watch USA : Contact:
  • Synopsis: Recent research reveals brain injury from highly toxic metal cobalt alloy leeched from failing artificial joints causing brain toxicity can be detected and measured.

Main Document

"Cobalt may be the 'new mercury' that needs to be dealt with - Robert Bridges, MD."

Areas of the brain that control memory, vision, personality and movement can be damaged by the highly toxic metal cobalt used to make the artificial joints. Recent research has found using advanced brain imaging and computer analysis, the areas and amount of brain injury from cobalt alloy leeched from a failing artificial joint causing brain toxicity can be detected and measured.

All artificial joints made with cobalt alloy may wear down and corrode leaking highly toxic cobalt into the bloodstream which can eventually injure the brain. This toxicity was unanticipated and despite cobalt being a major component of artificial joints, its long-term safety has not been extensively studied. In comparison, other heavy metals such as mercury, lead and manganese have abundant scientific research detailing their known toxicity. Dr. Stephen Tower, a Health Watch USA Board Member, has discussed this problem in a recent commentary ( along with several recent reports that are now calling attention to the long-term dangers of cobalt containing implants and their all too common toxicity.

Unfortunately, removal of these implants involves a major surgical procedure and there is not a reliable laboratory test to predict brain toxicity. However, utilizing PET brain scans brain diseases can be detected years before they become clinically evident. These scans provide a straightforward and repeatable test to detect and measure early injury to critical areas of the brain and can be used to monitor treatment.

Stephen Tower, MD and Robert Bridges, MD have researched cobalt toxicity and what parts of the brain it affects. Their findings will be presented at this year's international meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging in Denver.

Video Clip: Complications of Wear or Corrosion of Chrome-Cobalt Hip Implants

In this video clip StephenTower, MD, discusses cobalt poisoning found with hip-implants due to corrosion and wear. This complication has been observed even in implants with a plastic socket. Patients have been found to be at risk for encephalopathy and have changes on PET scans. The diagnosis of this complication along with its impact on the patient and society are discussed.

With millions of Americans having implanted cobalt alloy artificial joints, early detection of brain injury from silently wearing down or corroding artificial joints may prevent lasting brain damage.

As aptly summarized by Robert Bridges, MD, "Cobalt may be the 'new mercury' that needs to be dealt with. With better and safer ceramics, metal alloys and plastics, cobalt's use in artificial joints needs to be reconsidered."

Similar Topics

1 : FDA, FTC Warn Companies for Selling Illegal, Unapproved Opioid Cessation Products Using Deceptive Claims : HHS.
2 : Yemen Cholera Outbreak Is The World's Worst : World Health Organization.
3 : Some Hip Implants May be Toxic to the Brain : Health Watch USA.
4 : Thermal Paper Cash Register Receipts Account for High BPA Levels in Humans : University of Missouri.
5 : First Candida Auris Cases Reported in United States : Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
From our Warnings - Alerts & Advisories section - Full List (42 Items)

Submit disability news, coming events, as well as assistive technology product news and reviews.

Loan Information for low income singles, families, seniors and disabled. Includes home, vehicle and personal loans.

Famous People with Disabilities - Well known people with disabilities and conditions who contributed to society.

List of awareness ribbon colors and their meaning. Also see our calendar of awareness dates.

Blood Pressure Chart - What should your blood pressure be, and information on blood group types/compatibility.

1 : Yearly Business Plan Scholarship for Students with Disabilities
2 : Registration now open for Turnstone Endeavor Games - April 20-22, 2018
3 : PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics: Day Eight Highlights
4 : PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics: Day Seven Highlights
5 : PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics: Day Six Highlights


Disclaimer: This site does not employ and is not overseen by medical professionals. Content on Disabled World is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. See our Terms of Service for more information.

Reporting Errors: Disabled World is an independent website, your assistance in reporting outdated or inaccurate information is appreciated. If you find an error please let us know.