“Keepsake” ultrasounds banned by Gov. of Connecticut

Just when I’ve completely despaired of the human race, a little ray of hope shines through.  This morning I received this news post.  I would like to fly to Connecticut right now and hug Gov. M. Jodi Rell for throwing the frivolous ultrasounders out of the (womb) temple.  Hallelujah!   I’ll be sending this item to my own Provincial Health Minister and the College of Physicians and Surgeons and urging them to do the same. 

 If you’re passionate about protecting babies, please do the same in your own province or state.  I loved this line “Rell says she understands that desire, but doesn’t want to risk the health of the mother and child.”  Nice to have this woman as our partner.

4 thoughts on ““Keepsake” ultrasounds banned by Gov. of Connecticut

  1. There are studies that say there are ‘risks’ to U/S, but I guess they don’t wanna go there. I hope they pass this one, and others get on the bandwagon too. This technology has not been tested so who knows if it’s safe? Think of all the ‘things’ they thought were ‘safe’ or ‘good’, like X-rays, Thaladomide, DES, having your tonsils taken out, circumcision, etc etc.

    This technology has shown low level brain damage in mice, and another study showed that 30 percent of babies that were subjected to U/S or doppler turned out left handed (vs 10 percent of the total population, and 10 percent of the control group of babies without U/S). There is also a risk of delayed speech as well. Maybe that is why my son isn’t speaking much at all, because I had 1 doppler and 2 U/S. I cringe when I see people opting for 3D U/S!

  2. I was wondering if you have the studies. If you are referring to the sweedish follow up studies to the three randomized trials it showed some border-line statistical significance of left-handedness AND only in MALES. The authors did a follow up after that and found no difference. But … they found the rate of left-handedness increasing with REPEAT exposures.
    If I am wrong, please let me know. I’d like to get some more ammunition against the routine mis-use of U/S. 🙂

  3. And the number Mary Lynn provides seems a bit odd. I’d like to see that study, really.
    The original Sweedish study reported that in the exposed group 23% of boys were non-right handed, where in the control group it was 17%.
    There were some norweigan as well as sweedish ones done in early 80’s and early 90’s.

    Salvesen KA, Vatten U, Eik-Nes SH, Hugdahl K, Bakketeig
    LS. BMJ 1993;307:159-63.

  4. Ultrasound scans linked to brain damage in babies
    By Robert Matthews, Science Correspondent
    Last Updated: 12:15am GMT 09/12/2001

    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.

    The implications of the study are to be raised at an international meeting of scientists being held this week in Edinburgh. There have been calls for urgent further research.

    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,” they say. “If this association reflects brain injury, this means as many as one in 50 male foetuses pre-natally exposed to ultrasound are affected.”

    Prof Juni Palmgren, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, a member of the team, told The Sunday Telegraph: “I would urge people not to refuse to have ultrasound scanning, as the risk of brain damage is only a possibility – but this is an interesting finding and needs to be taken seriously.”

    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, criticised 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.”

    Related articles
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    1 February 2001 [Connected]: A photo for the album before baby is born
    10 June 1999: Ultrasound scans ‘may harm’ unborn babies
    5 November 1998 [Connected]: Improved scan reveals the faces of the unborn External links
    Epidemiology [registration required]
    Safety of ultrasound – British Medical Ultrasound Society
    Safety references [links] – Obstetric Ultrasound
    News – National Childbirth Trust

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