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Is All Routine Medical Imaging actually safe?

This is somehing i read in the newspaper today morning!! I hope Tom Cruise read this too, although ultrasound is a very safe investigation too much of everything can be harmful...This study should discourage recreational ultrasound use...

Ultrasound affects brain in foetus

"Ultrasound disrupts the brain development of unborn mice, researchers said in a study published on Monday that adds to growing evidence that too many ultrasound scans could also affect human foetuses. Prolonged ultrasound scans of the brains of fetal mice interfered with a process known as neuronal migration in which neurons move from one place to another, the team at Yale University in Connecticut reported. "Proper migration of neurons during development is essential for normal development of the cerebral cortex and its function," Pasko Rakic, chair of the Department of Neurobiology at Yale, said in a statement. "We have observed that a small but significant number of neurons in the mouse embryonic brain do not migrate to their proper positions in the cerebral cortex following prolonged and frequent exposure to ultrasound." Writing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rakic's team said the findings do not necessarily mean that ultrasound of human foetuses is dangerous but they said doctors and pregnant mothers should probably keep the scans to a minimum. But several studies have suggested that ultrasound may affect the developing brain, not necessarily adversely. For instance, a 1993 study published in the Lancet medical journal found that babies given ultrasounds before they were born were more likely to be left-handed. A separate study found a possible decrease in weight in newborns who were scanned, while a third found delayed speech. But another study showed that children who had received ultrasound exams before birth actually did better in language tests when they were older, said Verne Caviness of Massachusetts General Hospital. he said. "Therefore I want to emphasise that our study in mice does not mean that use of ultrasound on human foetuses for appropriate diagnostic and medical purposes should be abandoned. On the contrary: ultrasound has been shown to be very beneficial in the medical context," Rakic added. He said the study suggests that pregnant women should not get multiple ultrasound scans for fun or out of curiosity. "
Now about Chest X-Ray, this is what the Diagnostic Imaging says about CXR in breast cancer
"An analysis of 1600 women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations suggests that exposure to chest x-rays may increase the risk of breast cancer. Exposure before the age of 20 may be linked to particularly heightened risk. The research, conducted by a consortium of European cancer centers, was the first to analyze the impact of low-level x-ray exposure among women at genetically high risk for the disease. The study was published online June 26 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Investigators noted two primary limitations of the study. The first was the potential for recall bias, meaning that women who had developed breast cancer might be more likely to remember receiving an x-ray than women who had not been diagnosed with the disease. The second was lack of data on the specific dose and timing of radiation that was received. "
Is All Routine Medical Imaging actually safe? Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Wednesday, August 09, 2006 Rating: 5


Anonymous said...

Dr. Sumer,
I too read the article about the harmful effect of ultrasound in mice in the local newspaper yesterday. I wanted to post about it after seeing the original article. Though the news paper articles say that it was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Tuesday, I have not been able to find it in the website (

Unknown said...

There is a reason that the babies always draw back during sonograms. Naval divers say that when they've been in the ocean and sonic waves were sent down, it sounded like a jet engine going past their ears. Is this normal for an unborn child's ears? Is it natural? No. Anything unnatural is almost always unnecessary and will have repurcussions. Why hurt your child's ears? Just for the selfishness of doctors or parents who want to know the sex??? Well as long as we get what we want, who cares about the pain it inflicts on our baby, right?

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