Ultrasounds and Autism: Radio Interview with Manuel Casanova, MD on Fearless Medicine

fearless parenting banner

Ultrasounds — Safe and Sound? On 12/18/13 Dr. Kelly Business of BabyBrogan interviewed Manuel Casanova, MD about his definitive research on Ultrasound and fetal brain changes. Jennifer Margulis, PhD, the author of Business of Baby, where Casanova’s research is explained in detail, also participated in the interview.

You can listen to the interview using the player below or by visiting the Fearless Parent Radio archives.



Once per month Louise Kuo Habakus, my co-host on Fearless Parent Radio, and I hand over the reigns to Holistic Psychiatrist Kelly Brogan, MD for her radio program Fearless Medicine. Louise and I introduce the program, listen as Kelly interviews her guest, and then come back to the show at the close to talk a little bit about what we’ve just listened to.

While listening to Dr. Casanova last week I was struck deeply by the definitive outcome of his research on primates at Yale, which studied the safety of Ultrasound technology on the formation of the fetal brain in utero. Ultrasound changes the fetal brain. What’s more? The type of ultrasound and the timing impact the kind of brain changes that happen.

When I was around 8 weeks pregnant with Nick I had a Transvaginal Ultrasound. As you will hear on this program these are perhaps some of the most damaging Ultrasounds and to be avoided if at all possible. That early ultrasound may have been a significant factor in Nick’s subsequent autism. At the close of the program I share my grief about this.

We posted the archived program link on our radio blog late in the day after the program aired with a space for comments from listeners. As is often the case, the comments that have lingered most in my mind are the ones from listeners (or readers) who disagree with our viewpoint, using the logic ‘I don’t care how compelling your science is, my child had x procedure and is fine so therefore x procedure is safe.’

I’m left feeling after I read comments like this a combination of a) aren’t you lucky but also b) is your child really o.k.? No issues at all? No ADHD, no food sensitivities, no sensory issues, no oppositional behavior or chronic medical problem they take medication for regularly? So often people don’t think about those issues as having stemmed from a toxic event. In part, because chronic illness, developmental and behavioral issues have become so prevalent in our culture, people consider them the new normal.

My view after listening closely to Dr. Casanova’s work, is that the enormous increase in use of Ultrasound during pregnancy has contributed to the crisis we are seeing in children’s health.

I now view Ultrasound as another intervention I chose out of fear, when my child was in fact healthy, and by doing so I made my child sick. The over use of fear based medical interventions is one of the themes in our current parenting culture that pushed Louise and I to go forward with Fearless Parent Radio.

We hope you will continue to tune in, in the New Year as we strive to help parents reach back to their best common sense decision making and to say “No Thank You” to the unnecessary and, at times dangerous, fear based parenting choices we are marketed to constantly.

Enjoy this important radio broadcast and cheers to a Thinking and Fearless 2014!

~Mama Macmama-mac
(Alison MacNeil)

For more blogs by Mama Mac click here

Pin It
This entry was posted in Blogs by Thinking Moms' Revolution, Mama Mac TMR and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ultrasounds and Autism: Radio Interview with Manuel Casanova, MD on Fearless Medicine

  1. Anne Porter says:

    Love you, thinking moms. Thank you for being our voice, and the voice of our children. However, I have to disagree with this post. I work as an ultrasound tech for the past 10 years, performing pediatric specialty ultrasounds, including fetal echocardiograms. I personally do not believe in utero ultrasound exposure caused my son’s high functioning autism and sensory processing issues. We, female ultrasound techs of all specialties, when pregnant, have a tendency to take a quick 2 minutes look at our babies more often then needed, just to make sure our babies are “ok’ “. So do the female doctors we work for, our attending physicians. Some of us do it once a week, some do it twice a week, some once a month. We all do it, no exceptions. In ten years, none of my co-workers’ children developed autism. My son is the only one I know of. And I know many, I mean many ultrasound techs from different hospitals, including a tech with twins. As a nature of my work, I do multiple follow-up fetal echocardiograms on high-risk patients, some of them done on a weekly basis, many of them are twins. And these babies, once born, do not develop autism. I know they don’t because these children are being followed up in our department for other, congenital conditions. Although we are trained to tell concerned pregnant patients that there are no known biological effects of a high-frequency sound waves (diagnostic ultrasound is high-frequency sound waves) on a fetus (I hate telling this to patients), we try to minimize scan time to the minimum, as diagnostic ultrasound does cause heating of soft tissues. For that reason, I agree with the previous comment that ultrasound exposure to the baby should be avoided, if possible, especially those entertaining 3D/4D baby imaging sessions, which are nothing more but a money-making business. What I do know, however, is that vaccinating during pregnancy certainly, without a doubt, has a negative impact on a baby’s heart. Genetics, toxins, vaccines-yes, no doubt; fetal ultrasound exposure as another autism-causing factor- I don’t think so.

  2. Taximom5 says:

    I think it’s very easy for the mother of a child with relatively minor issues (ADHD, food sensitivity, asthma, etc) to feel completely separated from the parents of children with severe issues.

    My child is recovered enough so that most people have no clue that our lives were once consumed by autism–and part of me feels like I don’t really “belong” in forums with parents of profoundly damaged children, even though the early part of my journey was nearly identical to theirs.

    If *I* feel that way, imagine how distanced most parents of children not on the spectrum feel when they see our forums and hear us talk.

    And don’t forget denial. I don’t know about the rest of you, but my husband and I had MAJOR denial issues when our child was spinning, flapping, ignoring other children, and reading words related to his obsession at age 2.

    Where I DIDN’T have denial was when the pediatrician said that massive diarrhea was simply “toddler tummy” and therefore somehow normal, and not related to dairy or gluten. And I acted quickly on that one, even before bringing it to the pediatrician’s attention.

    But I think the only food issue most parents react quickly to is peanut allergy, because it’s so immediately life-threatening. They’re bombarded with media propaganda that gfcf diets are unsafe, unhelpful, and something only crazy ignorant anti-science hippies would ever consider.

    We can’t discount the incredibly strong effect of media propaganda on otherwise intelligent parents.

    Remember, we were all there, too, believing it all and getting our kids vaccinated, even AFTER the first adverse reactions.

  3. Jessica Denning says:

    Thanks for posting this. I worked in ultrasound technology and the energy is 20 million hertz. That is energy into the baby. Sound travels, as you know much better through denser water than it does through air. Sound is a pressure wave, and there are more particles to bump together in amniotic fluid than there are in air. So it may sound louder to a baby’s ears than it does to us. I personally would avoid this, and even more so the high definition photos that are framed and paraded about, unless there is a compelling medical reason. We really don’t know as the tests have not been done on human babies.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *