Is Prenatal Sonography Safe? Ep. 3: Sonographer Education

A survey in 2006 found that only 3.8% of sonographers could correctly explain the safety readout on an ultrasound machine. This is unacceptable.

Watch this video to learn more about shortcomings in sonographer education worldwide. This is important if you plan on having children any time soon.


Prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves: is there a risk?

Prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves: is there a risk?

Written as a retort to the Yale study by Ang, et all in 2006 which detected brain growth abnormalities after ultrasonic exposure…

These fellows discuss some of the dissimilarities between the Ang study using mice and actual prenatal conditions. Although it is true that the Ang study’s results are not perfectly linear, such can be expected from such a study.

Of note:
* Ang noted ultrasound to cause brain growth problems at intensities an order of magnitude or so lower than modern intensities. (meaning modern prenatal ultrasound is stronger, and may have more impact)

* The thermal and mechanical indices are not great guestimations, meaning that US scanners do not accurately report risks.

* Rats are not perfect models for human brains.

I have a comment about some of the response, too. In this paper they discuss later-trimester fetal skulls to be stronger — while it is true that they do become more developed, the fetal skull is pretty soft, still.

In fact, it has similar acoustic indices as water. Adult skulls that are well ossified are much better acoustic absorbers.

I also found it interesting that Republican Joe Pennacchio had attempted to introduce legislation into the investigation of ultrasound and autism.

These are not new concerns.

Sex selective abortions. I bring this up because ultrasound.

Sex selective abortions.  I bring this up because ultrasound.

Ultrasound is cost effective and is not restricted to the most advanced hospitals in the world. Because of this, all cultures have access to it.

In some cultures it is very prominent to push for male offspring rather than female. It is a common practice to abort female fetuses…

I have no right to judge people based on this action because I am so many degrees separated from the circumstances. I’m not a mother, I’m not from these countries, and I’ve never considered aborting my child based on sex.

It does sound rather ghastly to an outsider, though..

Autism researcher Dr. Manuel F. Casanova and ultrasound

Autism researcher Dr. Manuel F. Casanova and ultrasound

This year I was fortunate to meet another scientist studying the side effects of prenatal ultrasounds named Dr. Casanova from the University of Louisville. He is awesome.

Louisville was beautiful (except for that one jerk who definitely did not yield for pedestrians, but every city has that guy) and I really enjoyed my stay.

Onto business, however: Dr. Casanova is also concerned that the proliferation of prenatal sonography could possibly play a part in promoting autism.

Widespread misinformation, poor epidemiology, bad safety regulations, and a terrible lack of valid research makes this possible. Most drugs pass through several phases of trials to screen for side effects before being introduced to the public, however the side effects of ultrasound are more subtle and not enough research was done before making it so widespread.

Subtle the side effects may be, they have long term impacts. Whether it can promote autism or not remains to be proven, however -something- is happening… and it is similar to autism, symptom wise.

Who knows, maybe it could be a good thing in the long run. Still, we should do more research into this to ensure that it is safe.

Follow this fellow’s blog to learn more from his side of things.

Mothers, please take this survey- especially if you HAVE NOT received ultrasounds during pregnancy

Mothers, please take this survey- especially if you HAVE NOT received ultrasounds during pregnancy

Dr. Linda Gilililand is performing a preliminary study into investigating health outcomes after/or no exposure to ultrasound.

If you are a mother (especially those who have not had ultrasounds during pregnancy, …those are really hard to find) please help research by filling out this survey.

Thank you for your help!

Ultrasound enhances bacterial cell growth

Ultrasound enhances bacterial cell growth

In this article, ultrasound has been shown to significantly increase the rate of bacterial cell growth. This proliferation of cells is not just found in bacteria or plants, but also human tissue from exposure to ultrasound. That’s why physical therapists use ultrasound on athletic injuries – it makes them heal back faster in part by increasing cell growth rate.

Coincidentally, one of the symptoms of autism is an increased amount of neuronal proliferation in the prefrontal cortex.

Could there be a link between ultrasound and the rise in autism?  What with the advent of 3D imaging, encouraging parents and practitioners to get longer duration face-shots with intensity optimized for imaging rather than as little exposure as necessary, …

More research is required for us to know for certain…

Please sign this petition to call for more research into the safety of prenatal sonography:

(Un)safety assurances for fetal sonography

(Un)safety assurances for fetal sonography

This article discusses why doctors think that ultrasound is safe to use for fetal imaging.

Key points –

1. In 1992, the intensity of ultrasound was increased dramatically without any subsequent follow up research.  Thus, modern assurances of safety are based on obsolete, inconclusive, and disorganized information.

2. The Output Display Standard are numbers on an ultrasound monitor that practitioners read to guestimate relative risks.  It is not very accurate.

3. How safe a session is depends on the skill of the practitioner.  Sonographers with more training are less likely to hold the ultrasound beam in one place for long, and maybe the really good ones will know important and delicate areas to keep it away from.  In reality, many untrained personnel (nurses or lay-people) perform sonograms so this is not the case always.

Please be careful with the amount of ultrasound you expose your child to.  Less is better, and we don’t know what it does yet.