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Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Metal allergies realized after stainless steel replacements used for knee, hip
The Gadsden Times
By Anne Shumaker Times Correspondent
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
Page 1 of 3
ALEXIS --- Patricia Harton had been a strong, energetic woman all her life.
The talented pianist had served many years as church pianist at several churches in the county. She also had presented one-woman recitals for many organizations.
In addition, she was frequently called to play for weddings, funerals and special community events.
In 2006, Harton fell and broke her hip. She had surgery and seemed to make good progress. A short time later, she had a knee replacement. Complications arose. She had to have revisions and repairs on the joints and replacements.
She seemed to regress every day. In fact, she got to the point that she had to have help with simple tasks such as eating and dressing herself. Her muscles became increasingly weak and nerves seemed to lie dormant. She could no longer play her beloved piano.
She consulted several physicians and obtained various differing diagnoses. She was even given a cardiac pacemaker.
One physician even diagnosed her problem as ALS, a neurological disease that usually takes victims’ lives within a couple of years.
Because the problems appeared only after Harton received her joint replacements, daughter Christa Davis was curious and concerned enough to do research into the literature relating to muscle and nerve damage and possible metal allergies.
Davis had some background in medical topics. She had a bachelor’s degree in anatomy and physiology from Jacksonville State University and had worked at both Floyd and Redmond medical centers in Rome, Ga.
She also had been the marketing director at what was then Coosa Valley Technical College, now Georgia Northwestern.
Through the Internet, she found some European and Asian physicians who had done some work on metal allergies. She consulted with those doctors, plus a neurologist at UAB.
After Davis’ months of study and scores of medical tests on Harton, it was determined that Harton did indeed have a severe allergy to the cobalt and nickel in her stainless steel joint replacements.
After Harton’s joints were replaced with titanium, she slowly but steadily began to improve.
Titanium has a much lower rate of allergic reactions than some of the components of stainless steel. Some studies show that as many as 20 percent of people may have cobalt and nickel allergies to a certain degree.
Harton’s muscle strength has now progressed to the point that she was able to play one of her own compositions for a recent gathering of the Young at Heart organization in Centre.
Davis has written a book about her mother’s experiences. As Davis does book signings and presentations, she encourages people facing joint replacement surgery to ask the type of replacements the surgeons plan to use.
If the surgeons say “stainless,”
Davis urges the patient to insist on titanium, and if the surgeon downplays the possible allergy or refuses to use titanium, she recommends finding another surgeon.
Christa has presented her findings to the nursing students at Judson College and at an international medical conference in Dallas.
She has several other pending presentations to medical groups.
Davis has spoken to many groups of senior citizens and other organizations.
Many medical and media personnel are now joining the band in regard to the reality of allergies from metals within the body. Some allergists are now even discussing alloy posts in dental implants.
Davis urges everyone to take charge of his or her own health.
Paperback copies of “Steel Standing” are available at the Cherokee Museum in Centre. The book in e-form may be ordered through Amazon.com.
Davis has a second version of the book now available through Amazon.com. “Steel Standing: Surviving Metal Allergies” has more medical information than the first version of the book. The book is endorsed by a research neurologist and by the developer of testing for metal allergies.
Additional information is available through the “Steel Standing” website: steelstandingbook.com.