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For the Health of Your Baby, Stay Away From Unnecessary Ultrasounds

Seven years ago, I warned you about the cellular damage ultrasound scans can do to your body and unborn infant based on just a 15-minute scan of mice. A new study on the prolonged, frequent use of ultrasounds on pregnant mice damaged the brains of developing mouse fetuses.

Scientists studied the effect ultrasounds have on the typical neural migration of nerve cells that extend to the cerebral cortex at a stage of development in which their pathways may be at their most vulnerable. On the 16th day of embryonic growth, more than 300 mice were injected with special biomarkers, then were exposed to ultrasounds for at least a half-hour.

Ultrasound treatments had the effect of dispersing a significant number of neurons in layers of the brain they didn't belong. Although they were careful not to scare families into avoiding ultrasounds, Yale researchers plan to study the brains of developing primates.

The moral of the study, no surprise, is to avoid all unnecessary ultrasounds and give a great deal of thought about having one at all, should the need ever arise.

USA Today August 7, 2006

ABC News August 8, 2006

EurekAlert August 7, 2006

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