By October 11, 2013 25 Comments Read More →

Ultrasound Causes Brain Damage in Fetuses: Study

Flickr - ultrasound - Hamed SaberHeidi Stevenson, Gaia-Health
Waking Times

Ultrasound has become routine during pregnancy over the last 3 decades. It is assumed to be safe, though safety was never investigated. Research is now finally being done, and the results are dismal, demonstrating clear and permanent brain damage, as shown in this study. Nearly all babies have been damaged to varying degrees, resulting in abnormal neurology becoming the norm.

That delightful ultrasound look at a fetus months before birth is a huge thrill—but that’s the only benefit. That thrill comes at a risk, one that it’s hard to imagine any parent would be willing to take if the facts were presented. Ultrasound causes brain damage and can even kill the fetus. This is not a supposition. It’s been clearly documented, and exactly what it does to the developing brain is understood.

Dr. Jennifer Margulis points out in her brilliant new book, The Business of Baby:

Manuel Casanova M.D., a neurologist who holds an endowed chair at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, contends that Rakic’s mice research helps confirm a disturbing hypothesis that he and his colleagues have been testing for the last three years: that ultrasound exposure is an environmental factor directly contributing to the exponential rise in autism.[1]

The Study

Dr. Pasko Rakic is the lead researcher for the study documenting that ultrasound damages mouse brains.[2] It shows that the process of brain development is disturbed in mice. Though it’s easy to suggest that this is “only” a study on mice, so doesn’t prove anything about humans, that’s not true. The method of development in mouse brains is exactly the same in all mammals. Therefore, if ultrasound has an adverse effect on mouse brains, then it must also have the same effect on human brains.

The Brain’s Cellular Organization

Brain cells are not arranged in a random manner. The brain’s gray matter controls muscles, sensory perception, emotion, and memory. Gray matter cells form columns, which can function as a unit. The cells are also arranged in rows that are parallel to the surface of the brain. You can think of the brain’s cells as being arranged in a grid, like a graph. Each cell forms part of both a column and a row, though the row is actually curved to match the surface of the brain.

If developing cells do not end up where they should, behavioral problems and epilepsy can arise from the misarrangement. It’s obvious that anything capable of causing such misarrangement can produce disabilities. Therefore, Dr. Rakic’s study is particularly disturbing.

Brain Cell Migration

A fetus’s neurons are formed in the area just above the cerebellum, sometimes called the “primitive brain”, and they progress toward the outer surface of the brain. During the process, they are moved outward, parallel to the brain’s surface. The study report goes into some detail about how this process happens, but for our purposes, there’s no need to address it.

How and when this process occurs is well understood, though the means by which cells move radially, away from the column in which they start, is not well understood. What is known, though, is that the process is very sensitive and can be affected by many biological, physical, and chemical agents. The authors state:

For example, repeated exposure of the rodent and primate fetal brain to environmental
agents, such as alcohol (9), drugs (22), neurotrophic viruses (23), and ionizing irradiation (24, 25), causes misplacement of neurons and behavioral deficits.

The numbers in parentheses identify study references documenting things that can result in displacement of neurons and the results.

The study provides a graphic representation of how this migration functions and malfunctions under ultrasound. The ovals represent neurons. They’re produced at the bottom, where single neurons are shown. The red ones have been labeled on day 16 of gestation. The top row (A-D) shows normal migration. The bottom row (E-H) shows abnormal migration of red (BrdU-labeled) neurons that were formed on day 16 of gestation, when ultrasound was applied.

The left-hand images (A & E) show day 16 of gestation (E16). The next ones (B & F) show day 17 of gestation (E17). The last images (D & H) show the final placement of neurons at birth (P1).

Notice that all the red neurons on the top row move upward in a consistent manner and form a single row (A-D). However, neurons that have received ultrasound often move at slower rates (F). The next batch of neurons catches up with many of them (G). The result of the the neurons receiving ultrasound, shown in red, are often displaced, with some not even reaching the cortex of the brain on the day of birth (H).

Sound Waves Equivalent to Human Fetus Exposure

Ultrasound-StudyPregnant mice were given doses of ultrasound for times ranging from 5 to 420 minutes. As shown in the image to the right, the pregnant mice were placed in glass tubes with cutouts to deliver ultrasound to their fetuses. An acoustic gel was applied to the posterior half of the mouse and a water bag was placed on the side opposite the ultrasound device to minimize any sound wave reflection or standing waves that could affect the ultrasound application.

An ultrasound device that had been used on humans. Extensive testing was done to avoid interference and assure that the exposure of fetuses to the ultrasound was minimal. The results of these tests are provided by the authors on the publisher’s site.

The label on the graphic reading “tsp” stands for tissue standoff pad. The head of the ultrasound device was placed a distance from the mouse’s skin to assure that the fetuses received sound waves equivalent to those that a human fetus receives.


146 mice were treated with ultrasound and 141 controls were run through a exactly the same process, but without actually receiving ultrasound. Another 30 mice were also included as “normal” controls, but we’ll ignore them because they don’t affect the primary results.

On the 16th day of their pregnancies, the mice were injected with BrdU, which stained only the newly produced cells. The mice were treated with ultrasound on days 17-19, the 3 days following BrdU injection.  All samples were processed by technicians blinded to their control-ultrasound status.

On day 10 after birth, the young mice were killed and brain slices were taken for analysis. These were stained and processed, then viewed under microscropes, photographed, and analyzed. Grids, which the researchers called bins, were drawn on top of images to aid in the analyses.

Neuron-Movement-in-FetusesThe results of a 60 minute exposure is shown in this graphic. The control is on the left, labeled A, C, D, and E. The results of the mouse that had received ultrasound is on the right, labeled B, F, G, and H. The top two images show the locations of the slices.

Neurons stained green with BrdU, which means they were newly formed on the 16th day after conception, and the others are stained red. The six images below A and B are photos of the slices.

Images C and F show only the red stained neurons, which pre-existed the green-stained BrdU neurons.

The middle images, D and G, show the same information as C and F, but with the green BrdU-stained neurons added in. It’s easy to see that the control neurons are more clustered at the top of the cortex than those of the ultrasound-treated neurons in green.

Look at images E and H. Here, the difference between controls and ultrasound-treated neurons is even more obvious. Only the neurons that had been stained green with BrdU are shown. Notice that nearly all the control neurons made their way to level 3 or 4 of the 10 bins. Far fewer of the ultrasound-treated neurons reached levels 3 and 4. A large number reached only levels 5 and 6. Worse, though, a significant proportion hardly moved upward at all, remaining stuck at levels 1 and 2.

Finally, notice the arrow heads in H. One is in bin 7 and two are in bin 10. Bin 7 is located below the cortex. It’s in a deeper white matter area. These neurons did not even reach the cortex. Worse, though, are all these ultrasound-treated neurons still sitting in the bottom layer, a particularly worrisome situation. The study states that these neurons:

… formed a distinct band near the lateral cerebral ventricle that resemble periventricular ectopias. When these ectopic BrdU cells occurred, it was easy to distinguish the exposed brains from the control brains, even upon visual inspection of the immunostained sections.

Ectopias are abnormal positions of body parts or organs, especially at birth. These ectopias were so severe that they can be seen without a microscope—an indication of severe brain damage.

Quantitative Analysis

The example above is a single sample from the study, but there were 287 mice in it. The numbers for each of the exposure times were:

  • 420 minutes: 7 controls, 7 received ultrasound
  • 210 minutes: 14 controls, 14 received ultrasound
  • 60 minutes: 32 controls, 29 received ultrasound
  • 30 minutes: 35 controls, 35 received ultrasound
  • 15 minutes: 33 controls, 39 received ultrasound
  • 5 minutes: 20 controls, 22 received ultrasound

Quantitative-ResultsThe image to the left graphs the results. USW stands for ultrasound wave and SHAM is for controls.

The graphs display the percent of neurons that remained in the bottom five bins, numbers 6-10, which means that they traveled less distance toward the brain’s surface.

Unfortunately, the 210 minute results are anomalous and the researchers offer no explanation. However, close examination shows some support for it. The percentage of 60-minute control mouse neurons that remained in bins 6-10 is less than for 30 minutes. It may be that something happens in the 30-210 minute exposure range that results in a variance.

The dispersion of neurons is similar for controls and ultrasound-exposed mice at 5 and 15 minutes, though there was a slightly higher dispersal amount in the ultrasound-exposed mice. At 30 minutes, though, the distinction starts to become significant:

  • More than 30 minutes’ exposure: 4% more neurons in bottom 5 bins (5% & 9%)
  • More than 60 minutes’ exposure: 6% more neurons in bottom 5 bins (5% & 11%)
  • More than 210 minutes’ exposure: 4% more neurons in bottom 5 bins (5% & 9%)
  • More than 420 minute’s exposure: 6% more neurons in bottom 5 bins (9% & 13%)
  • Average of all results: 3% more neurons in bottom 5 bins (5% & 8%)

Clearly, longer ultrasound exposure results in more neurons getting left behind.

As the authors wrote:

At durations of 420 min, it is possible that the stress of this long exposure leads to increased cell dispersion above the normal control condition. However, it is difficult to
completely assess durations of 420 min and above because some pups from USW-exposed mothers were either resorbed or cannibalized at birth (Table 1). In fact, no pups survived to P10 [10 days after birth] in pregnant mice exposed to 600 min of USW, although the sham control mouse gave birth to a full litter that survived until P10.

Put simply, they were saying that when mouse pups were exposed to 420 minutes of ultrasound, some of them did not survive. They were either absorbed before birth or born dead or nonviable, and therefore cannibalized by their mothers. They also subjected some mouse fetuses to 600 minutes of ultrasound. None of the fetuses survived that much ultrasound exposure. All died by the 10th day after birth. However, none of the fetuses of the control group died.

Partial Conclusion

This study shows that ultrasound waves directed at a fetus interfere with brain development by causing displacement of neurons. Such displacement is known to result in behavioral problems and are either known or suspected of causing other neurological problems.

Dr. Rakic and his team have produced a powerful study that clearly demonstrates brain damage produced by ultrasound. This prenatal test has become so routine that some doctors do screenings at every visit. Though individual procedures don’t take 3½ to 7 hours (210-420 minutes), it’s easy to see that a baby could easily be exposed to an aggregate of that much. Such results need to be taken seriously.

There’s even more to know about ultrasound during pregnancy—such as the fact that it doesn’t even produce any benefits. This, and more about prenatal ultrasound are discussed in the next article, Ultrasound Causes Brain Damage in Fetuses: Implications.

About the Author

Heidi Stevenson is Allopathy’s Gadfly. She’s an iatrogenic survivor whose prior career in computer science, research, and writing was lost as a result. She has turned her skills towards exposing the modern medical scam and the politics surrounding it, along with providing information about the effectiveness of much alternative medicine, without which she would not be here today acting as Allopathy’s Gadfly. Find her work on GaiaHealth.comwhere this article was originally featured.

I highly recommend Dr. Margulis’ book, The Business of Baby, which will soon be reviewed here on Gaia Health –Heidi Stevenson:


  1. The Business of Baby; Dr. Jennifer Margulis; Scribner; page 25-44.
  2. Prenatal exposure to ultrasound waves impacts neuronal migration in miceProceedings of the National Academy of Science; Eugenius S. B. C,. Ang, Jr, Vicko Gluncic, Alvaro Duque, Mark E. Schafer, and Pasko Rakic.

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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  • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE


  • Brian

    My wife is an ultrasound tech and when she was pregnant, she scanned all three of our kids almost weekly and all three are fine and perfectly normal. There is abnormal fetus at a small percent but most of them is because the mother is on drugs, drinking, hereditary abnormal, and non pregnancy care or mother is very unhealthy.

  • Violet

    Why do they do ultrasounds at every visit??? I quit letting then at 25 weeks gestation. I’m 36 weeks now and I can’t stop crying over this. I thought I was doing everything right and best for my baby.

    • vforba

      Your dr should never have you get an u/s every week unless there is a medical condition that it is recommended you watch

    • MZ

      Waking Times is a bit of a rag. Don’t believe everything you read. Listen to your doctor, not a hippy blog with made up “facts.” It hurts me to think you’re crying over this and taking serious medical advice from the interwebs.

      You’re absolutely fine getting ultrasounds. They won’t cause brain damage. My son had ultrasounds at least 10 times during the pregnancy and he came out fine.

      • We’re just sharing information about different scientific research. We are definitely not giving out medical advice, so please make up your own mind with whichever type of doctor or caregiver you choose. Interesting that you categorize us as a ‘hippy blog’.

  • Anonymous

    This paper is probably rubbish. It wasn’t double-blinded, the number of subjects is very small (as small as 1-3 per bin if you measure n by parents, but small even when considering pups), and the experimental apparatus has an obvious effect on the mice.

    Also, the autism connection seems to come from the book author. The PNAS paper does not mention autism.

    It’s an interesting idea and worth looking into, but using this paper to inform clinical practice would be silly.

  • Steve Andrews

    As an medical ultrasound tech, myself, of over 28 years, I would like to know if what was used in this study to cause the damage was 2D ultrasound imaging, or doppler ultrasound imaging. We have always been told to avoid the application of the later, as it generates a small amount of heat, compared to the 2D imaging sonogram ultrasound application, – the article didn’t seem to differentiate the two, or specify which type was used, which should have been made more clear, in such an article as this. Plus, the attenuation factor differences of an adult ultrasound beam of energy being placed millimeters versus centimeters away from the target organ (tiny mouse versus a much larger human), are not discussed. A better study would have been to do this on a similar sized mammal to a human, then the ultrasound beam attenuation differences would have been more honestly comparable.

  • George

    I suspect that NONE of you actual read the study which is freely available and which this article links to. I don’t know why it links to it because 90% of the crap in this article is never mentioned in the study. So all of you are freaking out about nothing. READ THE STUDY.

  • Ginny Davis

    This comes as absolutely no surprise. When I was researching my dissertation on the Changing Roles of Sound in Society in 1992, I posed the question that ultra sound was potentially damaging to a foetus. When I had my own son in 1993 (who only had 1 scan ) I observed that he moved around and seemed distressed by the procedure. Over the next few years I spoke to many other mothers about their experience of scans and foetal behaviour, and many of them reported that there seemed to be a lot of movement from their babies whilst being scanned. For me it was a gut response that it was not a beneficial procedure and I refused any more scans or indeed hospital intervention.

    20 years down the line I am a teacher of 16+ students, and over the years of teaching I have seen worsening behaviours in these teenagers, many of them diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD. Autistic Spectrum Disorders and increasing socially unacceptable behaviour. I wonder if the increase in the UK of routine pregnancy scans may have had an damaging influence on the neurological development of these young people?

    • mothman777

      When the baby is scanned, the neural and other tissue is flash-heated to 107 degrees, sufficient to danmage brain and other neural tissue.

      • George

        Based on what? Your powers of clairvoyance? Wanna cite a study that backs that up? Nah. Didn’t think so.

  • hoi

    to be fair, it is misleading to say that there is “no benefit besides the thrill” to see an ultra sound image. They are also very useful in detecting birth abnormalities which could potentially save the mother and infants life.

  • mothman777

    Another way they handicap 95% of American children for life is by prematurely cutting the umbilical cord straight after birth, before all the blood for the baby has finished transferring through the cord from the placenta, resulting in 95% of babies being deprived of 30% of their blood at birth.

    You can understand that 30% missing blood, that cannot be replaced in time to stop brain damage, is a medical catastrophe for these 95% of all babies. That is just another instance of handicap that they introduce, accidentally on purpose of course to manufacture a lower class of being, the ‘goyim’ or even ‘golem’.

    Medical science is now so extremely sophisticated, so they definately know exactly how much harm they are causing, and exactly how to do it wihout being detected, so that they can get away with it.

    A new level of ‘normal’ is thus long extablished that is not officially recognized as handicapped to some degree, and so the new brain-damaged ‘normal’ is the standard that every baby is judged by, and everyone looks only at marginally brain-damaged babies as being perfectly healthy, so you have a son who has an IQ of 99, just right to become a police officer that you can be ‘proud of’, when instead, he could have been a wonderful researcher with an IQ of 145 in some truly beneficial field.

    Long term brain-damage is what results from depriving the brain of oxygen and other nutrients, and they know it.

    And even that is not enough, as they feel that they still have to cripple everyone some more with aspartame, and with fluoride in your food (what is in the toothpaste is absolutely negligible compared with fluoride content in food and drink in America). They even put aluminium in water to make it ‘sparkle’, but of course they know that such aluminium steadily produces dementia, as they know full well from the dementia of kidney dialysis patients before they stopped using tap water for kidney dialysis, as the dementia and death rates were absolutely horrendous in full public view before they did this.

    Everyone else still gets aluminium in their tap water though, completely unnecessarily, when laws could be passed instead that all houses should have filtration at the point of entry of water from the municipal supply into each house, that is free of aluminium.

    And then of course, there is the extremely sinister program of vaccinating all women who think they might be going to get pregnant, then vaccinating all women who are pregnant, and then vaccinating all babies dozens of times after they are born, further destroying masses of brain tissue.

    Very few people know that in the first year of life, instead of the brain cell numbers in babies actually growing, that there is a large percentage of brain cell die-off, and 7% of brain cells die off ‘normally’ in all teenagers who have been vaccinated. I don’t think that they have bothered to test other age groups for brain cell die off, not publicly anyway.

    We are told that the brain is selectively and quite naturaly ‘culling’ it’s own brain cells to become more specialized, when of course, such an assertion from the medical profession is pure and utter bullshit.

    No, what the medical ‘profession’ is doing is pruning the mental faculties of your children, so that only one group of people, the yahoos, can easily assume power in every generation. It is just like clipping pigs’ teeth, or clipping chickens’ beaks off, or clipping their feathers so they they do not fly very far. What is the use of a soul being incarnate in a bodily vehicle when the engine, the brain, is being purposely destroyed in most of them, quite intentionally, to remove all competition from their own people, the yahoos, rendering their victims a mass of dumbed-down slaves, spiritually crippled, denied their birthright.

    • George

      Buddy, do you have even ONE scientific study to back up your bullshit?

      • MZ

        Amen to that.

  • abinico warez

    The medical industry causes so much death and injury that it is the only profession to have a special word describing this sorry state; look up the word ‘iatrogenic’ – if engineers had the same track record as doctors, buildings would be falling down, bridges collapsing, planes falling out of the sky – it is just amazing at the amount of incompetence the medical industry gets away with.

    • Joe M

      Once knew 2 brothers. One was an Architect (whom I worked for), the other a Cardiac Surgeon.
      They were discussing how much alike their professions were as both left them feeling really good at the end of the day.
      I asked them if they knew the big difference, and when they both shook their heads I pointed at the Surgeon and said “Iy YOU make a mistake, it gets buried and soon forgotten. If he makes one, it is there for all to remember for a very long time.”
      They shut up about how “great” they were.

  • Aude Sapere

    I took my cat to the vet to get spayed in July. She had produced a litter of 3 kittens each year for 4 years. The vet did an ultrasound and said she was pregnant and couldn’t be spayed at that time. She never had the kittens. They must have died and been resorbed, or miscarried and “cannibalized”. Now I understand why. She hasn’t gotten pregnant again since then.

    • David N. Andrews MEd, CPSE


  • Please call babies babies and not the ugly “fetuses.” PLEASE!

    • Dan S.

      “Fetuses” is the correct word for the developing offspring of mammals prior to birth. Please don’t inject your political biases into this discussion.

    • they are babies from the moment of coenception

      • Anonymous

        No, they are not. A fetus has to survive long enough through the development cycle to be born as a baby.

        • Elizabeth

          It’s interesting how even pro-abortionists refer to a woman who wants to complete her pregnancy as being ‘with child’ or ‘carrying a baby’ right from the beginning. Anonymous is very wrong! A human may be a zygote, embryo, fetus, infant, toddler, child, adult, or senior citizen. All are still wonderfully created in the image of Almighty God – and are equally valuable in His sight!

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