Is Ultrasound Safe and Sound?

There is plenty of evidence to suggest an array of correlations between ultrasound and harm. However, we are still being scanned for longer and more frequently throughout one gestational period, at home with a Doppler or in store with new 3d imaging machines.

Why be concerned?

Thermal effects are ultrasound waves absorbed and converted into thermal energy. In other words, waves become heat on contact.

The evidence to suggest potential harm was raised by Dr. Mendelsohn in the eighties. He requested to look at research held by WHO (the World Health Organisation) and his comment soon after was this:

Ultrasound produces at least two biological effects, heat and a process called ‘cavitation’ in which bubbles are created that expand and contract in response to sound waves.  The first time I saw this cavitation process in action, a chiropractor turned on the therapeutic ultrasound machine in his office and placed a few drops of water on the part of the machine that was applied to the patient. I wish every reader…could have been with me to watch that water suddenly boil and bubble.” (The People’s Doctor, Vol.7, No. 11, p.  3).

There is also a video link here in which he directly discusses his concerns about leukemia and cancer:

If you look at the links underneath the video you will find further reading which I thought was great of the YouTube sharer to add.

During my investigation into ultrasounds I found research by Eugenius S. B. C. Ang, Jr., Vicko Gluncic, Alvaro Duque, Mark E. Schafer, and Pasko Rakic. This research was up for review in 2005 and publicised in 2006. They found that:

Neurons of the cerebral neocortex in mammals, including humans, are generated during foetal life in the proliferative zones and then migrate to their final destinations by following an inside-to-outside sequence. The present study examined the effect of ultrasound waves (USW) on neuronal position within the embryonic cerebral cortex in mice. We used a single BrdU injection to label neurons generated at embryonic day 16 and destined for the superficial cortical layers. Our analysis of over 335 animals reveals that, when exposed to USW for a total of 30 min or longer during the period of their migration, a small but statistically significant number of neurons fail to acquire their proper position and remain scattered within inappropriate cortical layers and or in the subjacent white matter. The magnitude of dispersion of labelled neurons was variable but systematically increased with duration of exposure to USW. These results call for a further investigation in larger and slower-developing brains of non-human primates and continued scrutiny of unnecessarily long prenatal ultrasound exposure.

To briefly outline the above, mice were exposed to ultrasound throughout their gestational period, the foetus’ suffered neural migration; neurons failed to reach their correct position. This research showed a direct link between ultrasound and brain damage.

In page eighty of the book medico-legal radiology Pasko Rakic is quoted;

We should be using the same care with ultrasound as with x-rays.

The picture above shows a noticeable difference, as you can see the green (BrdU injected) neurons did not get to the superficial layers; there is clumping at the bottom and overall scattering unlike the brains without ultrasound exposure. The team compiling this study noted that without microscopes they could see which mice had been exposed. The difference was easily detectable.

The critique is obvious; we are not mice and have less fragile tissue (Sonography in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 2010) and they were subjected to longer time periods and at that time it was a higher frequency. Since then, however, frequency levels have been raised in strength since this experiment was reviewed (WHO).

Midwifery Today (Issues 50, 51,1999, Issue 80, 2006) has highlighted the researchers who have found correlations with ultrasound and learning difficulties such as autism, dyslexia, epilepsy, left handedness, speech delays, schizophrenia, and particularly higher percentage in boys than girls. Weight abnormalities in organs and birth weights recorded are referred to as growth retardation. Doctors have queried leukaemia and cancer as cavitation consequences. Neural migration and DNA damage have been highlighted in research. Ultrasound practitioners have a higher rate of miscarriage and a correlation with longer working hours was noticeable.

Misdiagnosis shows that interference has consequences. Babies are often born earlier and the survival rate is lower when practitioners were aware of problems. Babies actually have a higher rate of survival when undiagnosed in the womb. A study from Oslo (Skari et al., 1998) of prenatal women concluded that foetuses;

had diaphragmatic hernias, abdominal wall defects, bladder extrophy or meningomyelocele… Three out of the thirteen babies diagnosed antenatally died. There was one death in the twenty-three undiagnosed. All thirteen babies with antenatal diagnosis were delivered by caesarean. Nineteen of the twenty-three undiagnosed babies had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery” (Midwifery Today, 1999)

Misdiagnosis has also led to babies being aborted as parents have been guided to believe there child would be physically disabled and unable to live independently at any point. They have been advised to take the option to terminate the pregnancy, so when they say “there are options,” they mean they will discuss and encourage abortion. Families have aborted babies looking perfectly able-bodied who were wrongly diagnosed; the babies would have been healthy children without intervention (, 2012, Lifesite, 2007). If you research this you will find many individual accounts.

If the practitioners deem the pregnancy to be terminated, consent is not discussed and orders are given as to what will happen next. One mom had been told her baby had no heartbeat and her option was to take a pill to speed up the miscarriage or come back in two weeks if she had not miscarried. The mom decided to get a second opinion and another scan at a different hospital confirmed her baby was alive (Mail Online, 2013). In this case a scan saved her baby, but the first one nearly killed the foetus. If the mom did as she was told, she would be none the wiser, as many may have not been.

Today the buzzword in health and social care is ‘preventative’. If a person needs dietary intervention then great, give him nutritional advice that will help him lose weight, signpost exercise programmes, with some doctors even prescribing gym passes. “Preventative” here, in the correct circumstance, is a great idea. Preventative in the ideology that we treat every person the same and pull out all could be’s and what if’s is causing massive interference in prenatal and post-natal care. Births are bombarded with overly cautious beeping invasive technologies and women are to be strapped to a bed in agony with increased stress whilst practitioners sit around with machines and text books monitoring the stress of the baby. The people around the pregnant woman are barely there; they are in a world of graphs and numbers, with a midwife holding papers and not the mother’s hand. Surely chill the mom and chill the baby? Is everything science and not common sense? The point I am making is that intervention has become invasive, and according to much research, harmful.

We have to ask, are ultrasound scans necessary or harmful? I believe doctors do have a place in our world, that we need certain treatments at times, and that technology can be helpful. For example, a bleeding pregnant women with abdominal pain may be refused a scan, diagnosed as ectopic and be given a pill to terminate, but when a scan is carried out later because the woman has not miscarried, it is clear the baby was in the womb (not the tubes) and the termination drug was wrongly prescribed and has now given baby physical disabilities and an abortion is advised (New England Journal, Med, 2013). I know this looks like madness, not scanning when necessary and scanning when not. This is why women need to be fully informed of unbiased material on the research available so they can carry out their own risk assessment before deciding against or demanding upon an ultrasound. In normal routine scans to assess foetal growth I deem them unnecessary and harmful, but using them to see if I am ectopic, that my baby or myself is at fatal risk, I deem necessary. After I have understood and assessed the risks involved, for now at least, I realize that I do not understand enough and further research of updated material is always required.

As with most incompetence, upon further investigation, it seems that perhaps incompetence is trained, guided and managed perfectly well.

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