[Editor's Note: As is usual with orthodox medicine, we only read about the dangers of these "safe" procedures years after they have been in use and have damaged an untold number of trusting patients. There are three articles here (courtesy of Chris Gupta<email@example.com>) that all testify to the concern over the use of ultrasound prebirth scanning. It's always unwise to assume that any form of energy that the human body has not been accilimated to for a million years or so is SAFE, just because some Establishment blowhard in a white lab coat with a string of academic initials after his name SAYS it's safe. Trust Nature and your inner voice FIRST & FOREMOST in these matters. The vague intuitive feeling you get when confronted with this sort of decision is your Higher Self trying to communicate with you. Listen to your Inner voice and heed that inner council. ..
By Robert Matthews
December 9, 2001
Journal Epidemiology December 2001 12:618
Evidence suggesting that ultrasound scans on pregnant women cause brain damage in their unborn babies has been uncovered by scientists. In the most comprehensive study yet on the effect of the scanning, doctors have found that men born to mothers who underwent scanning were more likely to show signs of subtle brain damage.
During the 1990s, a number of studies hinted that ultrasound scanning affected unborn babies. Research has suggested that subtle brain damage can cause people who ought genetically to be right-handed to become left-handed. In addition, these people face a higher risk of conditions ranging from learning difficulties to epilepsy.
Now a team of Swedish scientists has confirmed the earlier reports on the effects of ultrasound with the most compelling evidence yet that unborn babies are affected by the scanning. They compared almost 7,000 men whose mothers underwent scanning in the 1970s with 170,000 men whose mothers did not, looking for differences in the rates of left- and right-handedness. The team found that men whose mothers had scans were significantly more likely to be left-handed than normal, pointing to a higher rate of brain damage while in the womb. Crucially, the biggest difference was found among those born after 1975, when doctors introduced a second scan later in pregnancy. Such men were 32 per cent more likely to be left-handed than those in the control group.
Reporting their findings in the journal Epidemiology, the researchers warned that scans in late pregnancy were now routine in many countries. The present results suggest a 30 per cent increase in risk of left-handedness among boys pre-natally exposed to ultrasound. If this association reflects brain injury, this means as many as one in 50 male fetuses pre-natally exposed to ultrasound are affected. Other doctors and scientists caution that until further studies are carried out, scanning should still be regarded as safe by mothers-to-be. If confirmed, however, the findings would mean that ultrasound scans are causing slight brain damage in thousands of babies in Britain each year.
Ultrasound scans, which were introduced in the 1960s, have long been regarded as a safe means of checking on the health of unborn children. The scanners use high-frequency sound waves to give X-ray-like images of the inside of the womb, but without using radiation, which carries a risk of causing cancer. Between the 1960s and today, the number of pregnant women having scans in western Europe has increased from a handful to virtually all of them.
Normally, left-handedness is genetic: the likelihood of two left-handed parents having a left-handed child is 35 per cent, while for two right-handed parents, it is only nine per cent. It is when the incidence of left-handedness
begins to rise above these normal rates that scientists become concerned that brain damage of some kind could be a factor. Other surveys have shown that premature babies are five times more likely than normal to be left-handed. According to the Swedish researchers, the human brain undergoes critical development until relatively late in pregnancy, making it vulnerable to damage. In addition, the male brain is especially at risk, as it continues to develop later than the female brain.
The growing evidence that ultrasound affects unborn babies may cast new light on the puzzling rise in left-handedness over recent years. In Britain, the rate has more than doubled, from five per cent in the 1920s
to 11 per cent today. Researchers have estimated that only 20 per cent of this rise can be put down to the suppression of left-handedness among the older generation.
Dr Francis Duck of the British Medical Ultrasound Society will chair a discussion of the results at the international meeting of ultrasound experts being held this week in Edinburgh. "When the first study suggesting a link came out, it was possible to ignore it, but now this is the third," he said. "What it demonstrates is the need to investigate the link further, and to look at possible mechanisms." Dr Duck cautioned, however, that ultrasound scanning has saved the lives of countless babies: "This research must be seen in context, and it should not deter anyone from having an antenatal scan."
Beverley Beech, the chairman of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, criticized doctors for insisting for years that ultrasound was totally safe. "I am not sure at all that the benefits of ultrasound scans outweigh the downsides," said Ms Beech. "We should be advising women to think very, very carefully before they have scans at all."
Original eb posting at: http://www.news.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2001%2F12%2F09%2Fnscan09.xml
Reposted at: http://www.mercola.com/2001/dec/19/ultrasound.htm
DR. MERCOLA'S COMMENT:
This is certainly not new information, as I reported on this over two years ago, but the evidence seems quite compelling now to avoid ultrasounds during pregnancy unless they are absolutely necessary. Currently in the UK, women typically have one or two ultrasonic scans during pregnancy, although more can be recommended to track a particular condition in the fetus. I never did OB in my practice, but I suspect that the recommendation is similar in the U.S. It sure seems that the time for routine ultrasound examinations has come and gone. How ultrasound could affect the brain is still a mystery though. Some researchers suspect that a process called cavitation - where small bubbles in the body fluids vibrate in the ultrasonic waves - could influence brain development. In the early stage of pregnancy, neurons migrate from the center of the brain and this could be disturbed by ultrasound, perhaps through cavitation.
Ultrasound Scans May Harm Unborn Babies
By Robert Uhlig, Technology Correspondent
New research has raised doubts over the safety of ultrasound scans used to view fetuses in the womb. Scientists have called for further research to determine whether safety limits should be reviewed for the tests, which are also used to check internal organs in children and adults. Since the early 1990s, when American researchers showed that ultrasound tissue heating can cause bleeding in mouse intestines, ultrasonographers tune the power of scans to reduce heating. The latest discovery, by scientists at University College Dublin, is the first to find that scans create changes in cells. Patrick Brennan, who led the research, said: "It has been assumed for a long time that ultrasound has no effect on cells. We now have grounds to question that assumption."
The researchers gave 12 mice an eight megahertz scan lasting for 15 minutes. Hospital scans can last for up to an hour, using frequencies of between three and 10 megahertz. According to today's New Scientist, two significant changes in the cells of the small intestine were detected in scanned mice compared with unscanned mice. Four and a half hours after exposure, the rate of cell division had reduced by 22 per cent and the rate of programmed cell death had approximately doubled. Mr Brennan believes there will be similar effects in humans.
New Scientist ISSUE 1476 Thursday 10 June 1999
A Warning From Dr. John Christopher on Potential Danger of Ultrasound Scanning
By Dr. John Christopher
From Dr.J. R. Christopher's book: Every Woman's Herbal.
Forward courtesy of Hermes Trismegistus <firstname.lastname@example.org>
More subtle, but potentially more dangerous, is the routine application of ultrasound in normal pregnancies. Although most medical practitioners assure us that ultrasound presents no dangers, this procedure, which is used to study the body's internal organs with non-ionizing waves, has been the subject of research indicating some
considerable risks. Although supposedly said to work with sound waves, they are not in the audible range, so their high frequency is not natural to the body. Dr. Mendelsohn wrote, "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).
After ferreting out the truth about ultrasound over the years, Dr. Mendelsohn received copies of documents researching the procedure, which anyone may receive by writing WHO Publications Center, 49 Sheridan Ave.,
Albany, NY 12210, asking for "Environmental Health Criteria 22: Ultrasound." Experiments cited in these documents indicated reduced fetal weight and reduced fetal organ weight in animals who received ultrasound. Researchers are noticing a small but definite reduction in newborn birth rate among human infants exposed to ultrasound. The immune systems of laboratory animals exposed to the procedure are said to be affected. It also affects the blood platelets which allow the blood to clot. This could lead to problems with circulation because of
traveling blood clots. Changes in the structure and composition of cells, including genetic material, has been suspected. In experiments with animals, these changes have resulted in defective embryos with a variety of problems. Researchers postulate that problems incurred by ultrasound could take as long as 20 years to surface, including the possibility of cancer and, most commonly suspected, leukemia. The mother might also experience congenital malformations.
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