We want to trust. We want, almost need, to believe that medical and pharmaceutical interventions have been vetted. When our doctors tell us not to worry, we want to take their word for it.
Unfortunately, history has shown us that every recalled drug, every banned intervention, from Vioxx to shoe-store foot x-rays bore government-approved claims for safety and efficacy before they were pulled from the market.
Ultrasound may be no different.
Even the name seems gentle, doesn’t it? Ultrasound. It evokes the spa-like experience of the dark, quiet room, the painless glide of the wand over the skin.
When it comes to pregnancy, this intervention has slipped stealthily into the experience of nearly every pregnant woman alive today.
Who doesn’t want to see their baby? Who wouldn’t want to pass the test? Why bother engaging some woo-woo quest for spiritual communion with your unborn child when you can just sit back and watch the evidence on the TV screen?
This is how insufficiently studied medical interventions grab hold of our consciousness:
- They over-promise on outcomes that appeal in theory (you can learn about the health of your baby with a harmless device!)
- They play on fears (if you don’t look, you may not learn about problems)
- Their intensity/frequency/general application is ramped up without evidence to support increases
- They become so routine that controlled human studies are deemed unnecessary
This is the outline of operations behind so many exposures facing our children today, many of which are synergizing to account for the >50% incidence of chronic disease and the 34th ranking for infant mortality world wide. …
The Slippery Slope
Our grandmothers were x-rayed in their pregnancies. Sounds like a bad idea, right? Well, x-rays were advocated as safe for decades before the tide turned, and now the American College of Obstetrics (ACOG), states:
“Ultrasonography involves the use of sound waves and is not a form of ionizing radiation. There have been no reports of documented adverse fetal effects for diagnostic ultrasound procedures, including duplex Doppler imaging…There are no contraindications to ultrasound procedures during pregnancy, and this modality has largely replaced X-ray as the primary method of fetal imaging during pregnancy.”
Grandfathered into FDA clearance, ultrasound studies largely ceased in the 1980s despite the fact that the FDA raised limits 8 fold in 1992 and current machines employ significantly stronger signals and are not standardized by any regulations. In the past several decades, ultrasound technology has evolved in terms of peak exposure and intensity (from 46 to 720 mW/cm2), and newer versions remain largely unstudied, frequently defective, and without federal requirements for operator training. …
Animal data has been dismissed as having limited application to human pregnancies, including a recent study demonstrating behavioral abnormalities in mice exposed to 30 minutes of ultrasound in utero, and older data showing prenatal exposure to ultrasound impacts neuronal migration in mice. At least since 2008 it has been known that ultrasound wavelengths as low as 28 W/cm2 are capable of causing temperature increases at various depths in the brain of living fetal guinea pigs during in utero exposure between 1.2-4.9 degrees C. Clearly, a plausible mechanism for ultrasound-induced brain changes including changes to neuronal migration implicated in autism have been proposed.
“Unknown to Western scientists, the hazards of ultrasound have been confirmed in China since the late 1980s, where thousands of women, volunteering for abortion, thousands of maternal-fetal pairs, were exposed to carefully controlled diagnostic ultrasound and the abortive matter then analyzed via laboratory techniques.” …