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Ultrasound Scans Linked to Baby Brain Damage: Dr. Christine Anderson, Pediatric-Chiropractor, Never Liked Ultrasound Technology
From:
Christine Anderson - a Doctor of Chiropractic Christine Anderson - a Doctor of Chiropractic
Hollywood , CA
Friday, July 29, 2011

 
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Dr. Christine Anderson, Los Angeles based Pediatric-Chiropractor, has never been sold on the safety using Ultrasounds for checking on the fetuses of pregnant women, and for the last decade her fears have been confirmed with a series of studies pointing to possible brain damage to the babies from this technology. The mother of three and someone who has treated thousands of pregnant women and their young offspring, Dr. Anderson also has a degree in homeopathic medicine and practices what she preaches in her every day life.

Below is a short article by Dr. Anderson laying out her thoughts and experiences with Ultrasounds in her personal and professional life. Below that are a series of articles, blog posting and research results about this important topic to families around the world.



During my three pregnancies, I declined all ultrasound and also the common prenatal screening tests. My husband and I felt confident in this decision as we made an informed decision based on the fact that there had been no studies proving that my babies would have a better chance of survival if we used ultrasound and that there had been no long term studies proving beyond any doubt that ultrasounds would not cause any damage later in life.

There have been many instances in my practice where pregnant women decided to induce labor when they were told their babies were getting too large, based on the measurements made during an ultrasound. Often, inducing labor led to epidurals and cesarean sections because the babies weren't ready to come out; and when they finally were born, they were oftentimes small or even underweight. Sometimes decisions to abort a fetus are made due to erroneous information derived from an ultrasound. I trusted in my body's innate wisdom that if the pregnancy was moving forward, then everything was going OK in my baby's development.

I was very vigilant, during all my pregnancies, to make sure that I did everything within my power to ensure I had the best pregnancies, births, and babies. This means that I made sure to eat super nutritious foods in order to build healthy babies. Women of childbearing age should be eating sources of folic acid or taking it in supplement form to get 800 micrograms per day. Leafy greens and asparagus are great sources of folic acid.

If you are trying to conceive, take a prenatal vitamin, which should have enough folic acid or a separate supplement. Folic acid is especially important in the first few weeks of pregnancy, even before you know you are pregnant, as it is needed for the development of the primitive spinal cord. A deficiency may lead to a condition called spina bifida where the cord tube doesn't close completely.

Protein is important as it creates the building blocks for our cells and enzymes needed for the body's metabolic processes. There is varying opinion on how much protein is needed. Being a vegan, I obtained my protein from a variety of foods as there is some protein in almost every food. I ate a lot of vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, some soy (not processed), hemp, spirulina, and grains such as quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and millet. Another reason to eat more plant sources of protein versus animal sources is that animal products, such as meat, chicken, fish, and dairy are harder on the kidneys to metabolize. I believe one of the reasons I never had any swelling or varicose veins is that I consumed plant proteins. By the way, I also had great blood iron levels, anemia was never an issue.

Another reason I had such great pregnancies is that I exercised. I was an avid exerciser before I became pregnant and I didn't stop during pregnancy, except for the first trimester of my third. I stopped during that time as I felt fatigued and nauseous after even doing mild exercise; I missed it, though, so I would exercise in my mind, going through yoga asanas, kickboxing moves, and walking while I lay down resting!

However, once I entered my second trimester I was back to exercising, just at a more moderate level. Because I know how yoga helped to prepare me for my three natural, unmedicated labors and deliveries, I developed Dr. Christine Anderson's Dynamic Prenatal Yoga DVD to help you! Go to www.kidchiropractic.com to learn more about exercise and pregnancy, view some great yoga poses, and view highlights of the yoga DVD.

Avoiding toxins is always important, but especially so in pregnancy. Recently obstetricians have been telling pregnant women they can have a little alcohol! To me, this seems ludicrous as we don't know what the limit is to cause fetal alcohol syndrome. It makes common sense to avoid alcohol when your baby is developing and you can't see what is going on. Don't smoke and don't hang around those that do. Drink filtered water. Only consume organic or pesticide free foods, especially if you consume animal products!

Finally, I was also conscious of keeping my stress level low when pregnant. Stress can be physical, emotional, or toxic – and chiropractic care helped on all levels. The changes our bodies undergo during pregnancy put added stress on most of our systems and I kept working at a physical job right up until I delivered my babies. We know that our emotions create chemical changes in our bodies that can affect our developing babies; chiropractic helped to keep those feel good chemicals flowing freely.

And because chiropractic frees up any interference to the nervous system, which controls all the functions in the body, my organs could optimally process any toxins I encountered. The best part of getting regular chiropractic care is that I had reduced labor times – my first was 5 hours, my second was 30 minutes and the last was a little over 2 hours of hard labor! For more information about chiropractic and pregnancy, go to www.kidchiropractic.com and www.losangeles-chiropractor.com.

Below is a series of info and articles about Ultrasound testing and Pregnancy.

From the website Lauren Feder, M.D., who is also a homeopath.

What is Ultrasound?

Ultrasound is a screening device used to view the fetus during pregnancy. Also known as a sonogram, it has been used for many purposes including underwater navigation for submarines since World War I. Physical therapists have relied on ultrasound since the 1940s for its heating effects which can reduce inflammation, increase local blood flow and breakdown scar tissue. Since the 1960s, ultrasound has replaced X-rays as the primary method of fetal imaging in pregnancy. We now know X-rays are considered dangerous to the fetus and are rarely used during pregnancy. Initially ultrasound was a screening device to look for high risk conditions.

However now it has become routine regardless if a woman has any risks.

Ultrasound is an ultra high frequency sound wave which generates an image to view the fetus in utero. The sound waves are above the range of human hearing. From a transducer or a probe placed deep within the vagina (in early pregnancy) or on the surface of the abdomen (second and third trimesters), sound waves are emitted at millions of cycles per second. A pattern of echo waves creates a picture from a variety of surfaces from fluid and soft tissues to a boney skeleton. Modern ultrasound energy intensities are higher than compared to earlier decades. In obstetrics the following ultrasounds and energy exposures are used:

•Standard scan. The standard scan is used on the abdomen after early pregnancy. Provides a brief pulse ultrasound of lower exposure.

•Trans Vaginal ultrasound. Used in early pregnancy. High exposure levels due to close proximity of probe to early developing fetus. .Uncomfortable procedure been called "diagnostic rape" by some women. .

•Doppler ultrasound. Used by many obstetricians and midwives provides relatively low exposure level.

•Fetal monitors: used in late pregnancy and during labor to monitor baby and heart level. High level of exposure.

•3-D Ultrasound. To generate 3-D images of the developing fetus.

•4-D or Dynamic 3-D Ultrasound: Uses specially designed scanners to look at the face and movements of the baby.

•Fetal Echocardiography: Uses ultrasound waves to assess the baby's heart in suspected congenital heart defects.

Reasons to consider ultrasound:

•Confirm early pregnancy using a vaginal ultrasound

•Detect multiple births

•Calculate due date through measurements of fetus' skull, femur, or crown-rump length (done in second trimester)

•Inspect fetal organs for growth and development

•Check gender

•Verify fetal position and breech presentation

•Inspect the placenta and placement.

•Many expectant parents are excited to see the ultrasound including the 4D sonogram technology that makes it possible to clearly see a baby close up.

Risks of ultrasound

•"The long term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. It is recommended that ultrasound only be used if medically indicated." (American Pregnancy Association)

•40% pf abnormalities are missed or go undetected according to a recent study in Brisbane.

•Causes anxiety and stress for parents who are given abnormal results or false positive findings.

•Ultrasound heats the tissue and researchers suspect that the waves cause small local gas pockets which vibrate and collapse called cavitation. The gas can reach up to temperatures of thousands of degrees (Celsium) leading to production of potentially toxic chemical reactions.

•Studies done on mice have shown intestinal bleeding caused by changes in the cells. Scientists conclude that there would be similar effects in humans.

•Ultrasound has been linked to the following abnormalities:

-Left handedness in children who are supposed to be right-handed. Although there is nothing inherently wrong with being left handed, the change is attributed to a subtle damage to the brain. Males are more affected than female fetuses, probably because the male brain develops later.

-Early labor, premature birth, miscarriage, low birth weight, poorer health at birth, and perinatal death.

-Increased learning disabilities, epilepsy, delayed speech development, dyslexia

Considerations:

Ultrasound is used routinely and considered harmless by the medical profession, and for this reason risks are not discussed. In fact, it is presumed that use of ultrasound and the information it provides is considered valuable and desired by every woman. As with many of the tests and procedures during pregnancy, consider the risks, benefits and implications of the test. Ultrasound is an elective test, it is not mandatory. According to Beverley Beech, the chairman of the Association for Improvements in Maternity Services, "I am not sure at all that the benefits of ultrasound scans outweigh the downsides. We should be advising women to think very, very carefully before they have scans at all."

If you are having an ultrasound consider the following:

•Use ultrasound sparingly, avoid unnecessary scans.

•Minimize use of ultrasound before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The most sensitive time for development of brain defects is between 10 and 17 weeks of gestation.

•Work with an experienced ultrasonography technician at a reputable site.

•Use a scan machine that provides the least exposure in the shortest amount of time.

WHAT ARE THE LIMITATIONS OF OBSTETRIC ULTRASOUND IMAGING?

Obstetric ultrasound cannot identify all fetal abnormalities. Consequently, when there are clinical or laboratory suspicions for a possible abnormality, a pregnant woman may have to undergo nonradiologic testing such as amniocentesis (the evaluation of fluid taken from the sac surrounding the baby) or chorionic villus sampling (evaluation of placental tissue) to determine the health of the baby, or she may be referred by her primary care provider to a perinatologist (an obstetrician specializing in high-risk pregnancies)."

Article entitled The Dangers of Prenatal Ultrasound:



Ultrasound, sonograms, and dopplers use high frequency sound waves to produce an image of the baby on a viewing screen or amplify the baby's heartbeat so it can be heard more easily. NO STUDIES have been done which prove the safety of these devices, and the American Medical Association recommends AGAINST unnecessary exposure.

"Unnecessary Exposure" includes the use of ultrasound to:

1. Confirm the sex of the baby.

2. Assess gestational age (how many weeks old the baby is).

3. Assess fetal size and growth.

4. Confirm multiple pregnancy.

5. Determine fetal presentation (the position of the baby in the womb).

Many health care professionals still use ultrasound for these purposes anyway, even though the American Medical Association has not approved its use for these purposes. With the exception of confirming the sex of the baby, all these pieces of information can be obtained with hands-on skills. A fetoscope or stethoscope can detect the baby's heartbeat without the dangers of ultrasound.

According to the World Health Organization and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, "It is not clear at this time whether ultrasound fetal monitoring is beneficial to the mother or fetus in terms of pregnancy outcome...If there is no generally acknowledged benefit to the monitoring, there is no reason to expose patients to increased cost and risk. The question of benefit has not yet been resolved...and the potential for delayed effects has been virtually ignored."

In other words, Ultrasound technology carries potential risks that have not yet been evaluated, yet many doctors are telling women that there is no risk.

Having an ultrasound is NOT essential to a healthy pregnancy. However, most doctors are trained to use expensive technology and NOT trained to use hands-on skills.

Before you allow an ultrasound to be done on you, do some research, thoroughly question your healthcare provider about safety as well as the value of the information that would be received. Don't be afraid to refuse the test if you are not comfortable with the information you have discovered. It is your constitutional right to refuse any tests you do not want.

To give you some means of comparison, I offer this analogy. Have you seen a woman with an extremely high voice break a glass by singing an extremely high pitched note? That is an example of what just ONE relatively slow sound wave can do. Ultrasound technology is based upon ultra high-frequency sound waves, which bombard the child in the womb at an extremely high rate of speed. If one slow sound wave from a woman's voice can break a glass, what can super high frequency sound waves do to your child? Ultrasound waves in laboratory experiments have been known to damage chromosomes, produce internal cellular heat which damages cells, retard the normal development of cells, and many other phenomenon.

Article, Research That Has Been Done On Ultrasound Technology:



"Prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves impacts neuronal migration in mice," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2006 103: 12903-12910.



There is evidence that the exposure of pregnant mice and nonhuman primates to ultrasound waves may affect the behavior of their exposed offspring. Additionally, studies have shown that the frequent exposure of the human fetus to ultrasound waves is associated with a decrease in newborn body weight, an increase in the frequency of left-handedness, and delayed speech.

Because ultrasound energy is a high-frequency mechanical vibration, researchers hypothesized that it might influence the migration of neurons in a developing fetus. Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations. Any interference or disruption in the process could result in abnormal brain function.

In the study, researchers injected more than 335 fetal mice at embryonic day 16 with special markers to track neuronal development. Exposure to ultrasound waves for 30 minutes or longer caused a small but statistically significant number of neurons to remain scattered within inappropriate cortical layers and in the adjacent white matter. The magnitude of dispersion of labeled neurons was highly variable but increased with duration of exposure to ultrasound waves.

Newnham, J.P., Evans, S.F., Michael, C.A., Stanley, F.J., & Landau, L. I. (1993). Effects of Frequent Ultrasound During Pregnancy: A Randomized Controlled Trial. The Lancet, 342(Oct.9), 887-891.

A study of over 1400 women in Perth, Western Australia compared pregnant mothers who had ultrasound only once during gestation with mothers who had five monthly ultrasounds from 18 weeks to 38 weeks. They found significantly higher intrauterine growth restriction in the intensive ultrasound group. These mothers gave birth to lower weight babies.

The researchers concluded that prenatal ultrasound imaging and Doppler flow exams should be restricted to clinically necessary situations. This recommendation comes at a time when ultrasound during prenatal visits has become increasingly popular and serves as a kind of entertainment feature of office check-up visits.

Campbell, J.D., Elford, R.W. & Brant, R.F. (1993). Case-Controlled Study of Prenatal Ultrasound Exposure in Children with Delayed Speech. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 149(10), 1435-1440.

Delayed speech is not a pathological or organic syndrome but developmentally defined symptom complex. Clinicians have noted an increased incidence of delayed speech in pediatric patients.

This is a matched-case control study of 72 children 2 to 8 years old presenting with delayed speech of unknown cause. The children were measured for articulation, language comprehension, language production, meta-linguisticskills, and verbal memory. When checked for ultrasound exposure, the speech-delayed children were about twice as likely to have been exposed to ultrasound than the matched controls.

The authors believe that delayed speech is a sensitive measure reflecting sub-optimal conditions for development. If ultrasound can cause developmental delays, the authors are concerned about the routine use of ultrasound and they warn against it.



Devi, P.U., Suresh, R., & Hande, M.P. (1995). Effect of fetal exposure to ultrasound on the behavior of the adult mouse. Radiat Res (QMP), 141(3), 314-7.

Pregnant Swiss albino mice were exposed to diagnostic ultrasound. There were significant alterations in behavior in all three exposed groups as revealed by the decreased locomotor and exploratory activity and the increase in the number of trials needed for learning. These results indicate that ultrasound exposure during the early fetal period can impair brain function in the adult mouse.

Hande, M.P., & Devi, P.U. (1995). Teratogenic effects of repeated exposures to X-rays and/or ultrasound in mice. Neurotoxicol Teratol (NAT), 17(2), 179-88.

Pregnant Swiss mice were exposed to ultrasound, x-rays, and combinations of the two. Effects on prenatal development, postnatal growth and adult behavior were studied. U + U group showed an increase in percent growth retarded fetuses. The postnatal mortality was significantly higher only in the U + U group. In the X + U group, the exploratory activity was affected at 6 months of age. There was a significant change in the locomotor activity with a reduction in the total activity as 3 and 6 months of age in the U + U group. Latency in learning capacity was also noticed in this group. The results indicate that repeated exposures to ultrasound or its combination with X-rays could be detrimental to the embryonic development and can impair adult brain function when administered at certain stages of organogenesis. (organ development)

There are many other studies that have been done, but no one seems to be paying attention to them.

Don't allow yourself to be the next guinea pig.

All the studies above address the issue of physical safety of ultrasound procedures. Ultrasound also has some very serious emotional and psychosocial side effects.

When an ultrasound is done, and the results are questionable, it can be an emotional rollarcoaster. Ultrasound technicians are wrong as often as they are right, and when a family is told that their unborn baby has some kind of defect, they will spend the rest of the pregnancy worrying, crying, and in some cases, may abort the baby because they are assured it has an abnormality.

Click Here to read an article called "Mother Rails Against Ultrasound" which chronicles one family's terrible experience with the inaccuracy of this test. In 1993, the results of the largest study ever done on ultrasound were published. It was called the RADIUS study. The original results were reported in these publications if you would like to get a copy of the study and read it for yourself.

Ewigman, B., Crane, J.P., Frigoletto, F.D., et al. Impact of prenatal ultrasound screening on perinatal outcome. N Engl J Med 1993 Sept 16;329:821-7.

LeFevre, M., Bain, R., Ewigman, B., et al. A randomized trial of prenatal ultrasound screening: Impact on maternal management and outcome. Am J Obstet Gynecol 1993 Sept 15;169:483-9.

Basically, the study, the largest of its kind to date, states that routine ultrasound does not benefit mothers or babies in terms of pregnancy outcome. It did not reduce the number of infant or maternal deaths, and it did not lead to better care for the newborn. The only thing it did was expose the families to increased cost and risk.

American Pregnancy Association

http://www.americanpregnancy.org/prenataltesting/ultrasound.html

There are not a recommended number of ultrasounds that should be performed during routine prenatal care. Because ultrasound should only be used when medically indicated, many healthy pregnancies will not require ultrasound.

It should be kept in mind that prenatal ultrasound cannot diagnose all malformations and problems of an unborn baby (reported figures range from 40 to 98 percent), so one should never interpret a normal scan report as a guarantee that the baby will be completely normal. Some abnormalities are very difficult to find or to be absolutely certain about.

• Some conditions, like for example hydrocephalus, may not have been obvious at the time of the earlier scan. The position of the baby in the uterus has a great deal to do with how well one sees certain organs such as the heart, face and spine. Sometimes a repeat examination has to be scheduled the following day, in the hopes the baby has moved.

• Images tend also to be strikingly clear in skinny patients with lots of amniotic fluid, and frustratingly fuzzy in obese women, particularly if there is not much amniotic fluid as in cases of growth restriction. As in almost every endeavor, there is also a wide difference in the skill, training, talent, and interest of the sonographer or sonologists. The improvements in equipment has also lead to the earlier detection of abnormal structures in the fetus bringing along with it "false positives" and "difficult-to-be-sure-what-will-happen" diagnosis that could generate huge amount of undue anxiety in patients.

Is Ultrasound Scanning During Pregnancy Worth the Risks?

Posted By Dr. Ben Kim on Dec 20, 2004

• Healthy Pregnancy

While ultrasound scanning doesn't pose the same dangers to human and fetal health as ionizing radiation, it is a mistake to think that ultrasound is entirely safe for a baby growing in your womb.

Ultrasound scanning works by sending sound waves into your tissues. As these sound waves bounce off of your tissues, a picture is created.

These sound waves are capable of producing the following physiological effects:

• Increase in blood flow and temperature in local tissues

• Production of gas bubbles that can put pressure on local tissues

• Mechanical effects like movement of the fluid that surrounds your cells, which can also put pressure on local tissues

The conventional view on ultrasound scanning during pregnancy is that the intensity and duration of sound waves that are used for scanning are not enough to produce these physiological effects at a level that is harmful to a fetus.

I believe that this conventional view is influenced by the number of dollars that are being made by this industry.

Before you allow ultrasound scanning to be performed during pregnancy, please consider the following points:

1. Ultrasound scanning of pregnant women has been shown to significantly increase the likelihood of miscarriage, preterm labour, and even infant mortality.

2. Pregnant physiotherapists who provided ultrasound treatments for more than 20 hours per week were found to have an increased risk for spontaneous abortions.

3. One of the reasons used to support ultrasound scanning for pregnant women is that it can help to diagnose a condition called placental praevia. This is a condition where the placenta is implanted in the lower part of a woman's uterus, which can cause bleeding in the third trimester and increase her chance of being encouraged to have a caesarean section. A study of 4000 women found that of 250 women who were scanned and diagnosed with placental praevia, only 4 actually had placental praevia upon delivery. Who knows how many unnecessary caesareans have been done and how much needless anxiety women have experienced due to incorrect diagnoses of placental praevia wiith ultrasound?

4. Using ultrasound scanning to detect serious problems before birth does not necessarily save lives or reduce illness. There is evidence to suggest that using ultrasound to attempt to detect problems while a baby is in the womb can do more harm than good.

5. There is evidence to support that children who have been exposed to ultrasound while in their mothers' bellies have a greater chance of suffering from dyslexia and other speech and learning problems than children who have not been exposed to ultrasound.



Ultimately, the two main reasons why I believe that it is best to avoid ultrasound scanning during pregnancy are:

1. No matter what intensity and duration of ultrasound waves are used, there is always a possibility of these waves creating unnecessary thermal and physical pressure to a growing baby. Why take this risk?

2. There is always a possibility of practitioner error and/or a defective machine that can result in a higher than intended dose of ultrasonic waves to your baby.

For more information on why you should think twice before having ultrasound scanning done while pregnant, please read: Ultrasound? Unsound, by Beverley Beech. Copies are available from AIMS.



Chiropractic Care for Pregnancy

"Pregnancy Today" magazine describes themselves as "the journal for parents to be". On June 13, 2004 they ran a story written by Patti Larson a mother and author, about her experiences while being pregnant and the help she received with Chiropractic care. She began the story by explaining the emotions she and her husband experienced when she found out for sure she was pregnant.

As a woman in her mid-30s having her first baby, she described her concerns and questions by asking, "When will morning sickness start? How long will I be able to work? Will I make it through delivery with little pain and swearing?" She also noted that her diet and sleep habits were good, but although she had great intentions, her exercise regime was less than desirable.

She did however, mention the one thing she saw as a big factor in helping her. "What ultimately saved me from suffering undue tiredness, aches and stress from my ballooning body shape and shifting hormones was chiropractic care." She continued, "I already made regular visits to my chiropractor prior to pregnancy, so it seemed natural to continue. My chiropractor recommended I continue with weekly visits, adding that I should come in more often if I felt I needed it."

Dr. Jeff Ptak, her chiropractor in Santa Monica, Calif., explained why chiropractic care made such a positive difference, during her pregnancy. "Chiropractic care addresses the functioning nervous system," he said. "When the nervous system is not unduly stressed from environmental factors physical, emotional or chemical stress the body will work according to its unique genetic plan. A stressful birth will stress all parties involved and remain until the nervous system stress is cleared. Chiropractic, by allowing the body to handle stress, helps expecting mothers, new mothers and their newborn children handle life with greater ease."

Leslie Stewart, a certified nurse-midwife also agrees. "Chiropractic care can actually help with labor. Some women who run past their due date have used treatment to help start labor, rather than having a hospital induce them." (Note: this happens to be the midwife who attended the birth of my second child)

The article author, Patti Larson, noted that she not only continued care through her pregnancy, but also after the birth of her daughter Madeline. She concluded the article by saying, "Madeline received regular adjustments her second week after entering the world. She never had colic, ear infections, colds or any symptoms of sickness throughout her first 12 months of life when children are often most susceptible. Some people cringe when I tell them she sees a chiropractor, yet everyone agrees that she is one of the most alert, active babies they have ever seen. Some say I'm lucky, but I tell them it's really very simple just stay well adjusted!"

 
Brad Butler
Promotion In Motion
Hollywood, CA
323-461-3921