Bad Vibrations?

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I remember reading over the summer an article which mentioned that Tom Cruise bought his own ultrasound machine so that he could follow the progress of his unborn child and create collections of early baby pictures. As I read about what he was doing it brought to mind some of the research that has shown possible adverse effects from ultrasound such as delayed speech.

More recently I came across an article in Science News which showed that prolonged and frequent use of fetal ultrasound in mice might lead to abnormal brain development.

Neurons are created in discrete places within the brain as it develops, and they then travel to the brain’s outer layers. To determine whether ultrasound affects neural migration, the researchers injected the animals with a chemical that marks newborn neurons and then applied ultrasound to the bellies over the next 3 days. What they found was in animals whose mothers had had ultrasound sessions that added up to 30 minutes or more, had a significant number of neurons destined for the brain’s outer layers of gray matter that become improperly embedded in inner layers of white matter.

The article then went on to say, “When cells are in the wrong place, they might affect function of the cerebral cortex, which in people controls such higher brain functions as language and movement.” The FDA has set basic guidelines which suggest using ultrasound as little as possible. Baby pictures are not a justifiable use for this technology.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD