Ultrasound Unsound? (Collection of info)
Here is a link to an interesting article entitled Ultrasound -
weighing the propaganda against the facts. It was written by the
author of Ultrasound Unsound?
I have seen other studies identifying negative side effects of
ultrasounds. One in particular found that as little as 1 ultrasound
could delay a child's speech by as much as 9 months. This study was
done in Canada, not the US. Other findings have suggested that the
increase in left-handedness among children who were scanned before
birth is linked to the ultrasound, which would show that the scan
does alter the brain in some way.
In the US, keep in mind that medical equipment does not undergo the
type of testing that a drug must go through to get on the market.
The scans used today are more invasive than the earlier ones, so it
will take a few more decades to really know the outcome. The recent
generations of children who have been scanned are in fact the guinea
pigs that will decide the safety of ultrasounds -- which have done
nothing to lower childbirth death rates, but have sent the C-section
rate dangerously high in the US.
The article above points out that the doppler, used to detect heart
tones on every prenatal visit unless you have a midwife (who uses a
fetalscope), may cause even more damage than the ultrasound.
This is straight from the journal "Epidemiology" (Dec 2001), and
suggests that ultrasound is associated with mild brain damage.
My boss, Dr. Mark Ellisman, is a world-renowned research scientist at UCSD
who specializes in imaging technologies for the study of brain structure
at the cellular level; he has personally found evidence of something
called "cavitation", which is the "rapid formation and collapse of vapor
pockets" in fluid within tissue. When my wife and I became pregnant
he warned me to keep the ultrasound as short as possible. He knows what
he's talking about.
Here's a relevant quote:
"Free radical production in amniotic fluid and blood plasma by medical
ultrasound, probably following gaseous cavitation, has been detected
by Crum et al (1987). This provides a likely mechanism for the
origin of the DNA damage. Because of these confirmations and a report
by Ellisman et al (1987) that diagnostic levels of ultrasound may disrupt
myelination in neonatal rats, the need for regulation, guidance, and
properly controlled clinical studies is clear."
Here's another useful link:
So please don't consider this a benign procedure or an opportunity
to get some pretty pictures. and *please* don't get an extra
3D ultrasound, which is a very long scan, to get the 3D picture
of your baby. There is a real risk, and it's just not worth it.
Do a Google search on "+ultrasound +cavitation" or "+ultrasound +Ellisman"
and convince yourself.
Just my .02
 Weighing the Risks: What You Should Know about Ultrasound By Sarah Buckley
Shadow of a doubt
by Rob Edwards
ULTRASOUND SCANS can stop cells from dividing and make them commit suicide.
research team in Ireland say this is the first evidence that routine scans,
which have let doctors peek at fetuses and internal organs for the past 40
years, affect the normal cell cycle.
A team led by Patrick Brennan of University College Dublin gave 12 mice an
8-megahertz scan lasting for 15 minutes. Hospital scans, which reflect
inaudible sound waves off soft tissue to produce images on a monitor, use
frequencies of between 3 and 10 megahertz and can last for up to an hour
The researchers detected two significant changes in the cells of the small
intestine in scanned mice compared to the mice that hadn't been scanned.
and a half hours after exposure, there was a 22 per cent reduction in the
rate of cell division, while the rate of programmed cell death or
had approximately doubled.
Brennan believes there will be similar effects in humans. "It has been
assumed for a long time that ultrasound has no effect on cells," he says.
now have grounds to question that assumption."
Brennan stresses, however, that the implications for human health are
uncertain. "There are changes happening, but we couldn't say whether they
harmful or harmless," he explains. The intestine is a very adaptable organ
that can compensate for alterations in the cell cycle, says Brennan.
It is possible that the sound waves damage the DNA in cells, delaying cell
division and repair. Brennan suggests that ultrasound might be switching on
the p53 gene which controls cell deaths. This gene, dubbed "the guardian of
the genome", produces a protein that helps cells recognise DNA damage and
then either self-destruct or stop dividing.
Studies in the early 1990s by researchers at the University of Rochester in
New York and the Batelle Pacific Northwest Laboratories in Richland,
Washington, showed that tissue heating due to ultrasound can cause bleeding
in mouse intestines. Ultrasonographers now tune the power of scans to reduce
But Brennan's work is the first evidence that scans create changes in cells.
"Our results are preliminary and need further investigation," he says. The
team presented their results at the Radiology 1999 conference in Birmingham
last month and are now preparing them for submission to a peer-reviewed
Alex Elliott, a researcher in clinical physics at the University of Glasgow,
thinks that Brennan's results are important and should be followed with
further studies. "If the conditions of his experiments really compare to the
clinical use of ultrasound," he says, "we may have to review the current
>From New Scientist, 12 June 1999
Here are some excerpts about ultrasound from "What Doctors Don't Tell You"
by Lynne McTaggart. "No well controlled study has yet proved that
routine scanning of prenatal patients will improve the outcome of
pregnancy" - official statement from American College of Obstetrics &
Gynecology in 1984
Some studies show that, with ultrasound, you are more likely to lose your
baby. A study from Queen Charlotte's and Chelsea Hospital in London found
that women having doppler ultrasound were more likely to lose their babies
than those who received only standard neonatal care (17 deaths to 7).
A Norwegian study of 2,000 babies found that those subjected to routine
ultrasound scanning were 30% more likely to be left-handed than those sho
weren't scanned. An Australian study demonstraates that frequent scans
increased the proportion of growth-restricted babies by a third, resulting
in a higher number of small babies. Exposure to ultrasound also caused
delayed speech, according to Canadian researcher Professor James Campbell.
The International Childbirth Education Association has maintained that
ultrasound is most likely to affect development (behavioral &
neurological), blood cells, the immune system, & a child's genetic makeup.
Besides the safety issue, there are considerable questions about accuracy.
There is a significant chance that your scan will indicate a problem when
there isn't one, or fail to pick up aa problem actually there. One study
found a "high rate" of false positives, 17% of the pregnant women scanned
were shown to have small-for-dates babies, when only 6% actually did - an
error rate of nearly one out of three. Another study from Harvard showed
that among 3,100 scans, 18 babies were erroneously labeled abnormal, and 17
fetuses with problems were missed.
this is from another list...
<<<According to Anne Frye, midwife and author of "Understanding Lab Work in
the Childbearing Year" (4th Ed.)p. 405
Doppler Devices: Many women do not realize that doppler fetoscopes are
ultrasound devices. (apparently, neither do many care providers. Time
after time, women are assured by doctors and even some nurse midwives
that a doppler is not an ultrasound device.) . . . .
Not well publicized for obvious reasons, doppler devices expose the fetus
to more powerful ultrasound than real time (imaging) ultrasound exams.
One minute of doppler exposure is equal to 35 minutes of real time
ultrasound. This is an important point for women to consider when
deciding between an ultrasound exam and listening with a doppler to
determine viability in early pregnancy. . . . .
If you have a doppler, put it aside and make a concerted effort to learn
to listen yourself! Save your doppler for those rare occasions when you
cannot hear the heart rate late into pushing or to further investigate
suspected fetal death. " copyright l990, Anne Frye, B.H. Holistic
Personally, after 23 years of attending births, I would not permit a
doppler in my house if I were pregnant. You always know that something
is ultrasound because there will be "jelly" involved. If you want a
cheap listening device for the baby's heart just save the core from a
roll of toilet paper. Put one end on the lower belly and the other on
hubby's ear. If you want to know your baby is doing well, count the
fetal movements in a day. Starting at 9 a.m. count each time the baby
kicks. There should be l0 distinct movements by 3 p.m.
I think it's sad that some people will do anything to make a buck of the
huge pregnant market in North America. Please feel free to forward this
post on to any other lists.
Gloria Lemay, Vancouver BC
Wise Woman Way of Birth Courses
This made me wonder what ultrasound does to developing babies if it
can have such a drastic effect on a testicle.
Prenatal Testing and Informed Consent: Base Your Choices on the Evidence
By Peggy O'Mara
Issue 120, September/October 2003