This week’s newsletter is unprecedented; in that it is the first time, I can recall when I revisited a newsletter theme for the subsequent week. The reason is quite simple: I uncovered more interesting information on this medical myth. It’s definitely worth a second look!
In fact, I made a mistake in last week’s newsletter. I suggested studies that show brain damage caused by fetus imaging ultrasound would be hard to find in Western literature. Indeed they are; but not absent entirely.
I found a remarkable study, carried out at what I consider the most trusted Western Medical University Institution (The Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden), which showed clearly there were effects.
Controversial evidence suggests that ultrasound scans on unborn babies can not only make them more likely to be left-handed, but may also cause mild brain damage, particularly in boys.
Why is Handed-ness Important?
Because we know that if the left-brain is damaged in any way, the opposite side will take over as compensation. So a rise in left-handedness is proof that damage has been occurring (don’t forget the nerve-pathways crossover: right is left-brain and left is right-brain, so loss of right-handedness is left brain damage!)
And, by the way, we might just prove we are glorious spirit and not brain-based along the way.
The work of the Swedish scientists, which has been published in the journal Epidemiology, backs up earlier research that was conducted in the 1990’s indicating ultrasound scanning affected unborn babies. Previous research had suggested subtle brain damage could increase the risk of conditions ranging from learning difficulties to epilepsy, as well as causing people who ought genetically to be right-handed to become left-handed. This conclusion is based on a theory that, if the right-handed brain is in any way hindered from developing to become the dominant half of the brain, the left-hand brain will take over to compensate – in itself a theory still under investigation.
Notice President Obama is left-handed
The Swedish team from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm compared almost 7,000 men whose mothers underwent scanning in the 1970’s with 172,000 men whose mothers did not, looking for differences in the rates of left and right-handedness. The team found men whose mothers underwent scanning were significantly more likely to be left-handed than normal.
The most significant difference was found among those born after 1975 when doctors introduced a second scan later in pregnancy. These men were 32% more likely to be left-handed.
There are strong indications that, normally, left-handedness is genetic. The likelihood of two left-handed parents having a left-handed child has been put as high as 35%, while for two right-handed parents the likelihood of a left-handed child it is thought to be only 9%.
Reporting their findings, the researcher warned that scans in late pregnancy were routine in many countries. “The present results suggest a 30% increase in left-handedness among boys exposed to ultrasound” they wrote. “If this association reflects brain injury, this means as many as one in 50 male fetuses pre-natally exposed to ultrasound are affected.”
Correlation Is Not Causation
Just remember the old scientific maxim, that correlation does not necessarily mean causation. In other words, things can occur together but one not necessarily causes the other.
According to the Swedish team, the human brain undergoes critical development until relatively late in pregnancy, making it vulnerable to damage. The male brain is especially at risk, as it continues to develop later than the female one (no, you do the jokes, I’m not getting involved!)
Professor Juni Pamgren, a member of the Stockholm team, said…
“I would urge people not to refuse to have ultrasound scanning, as the risk of brain damage is only a possibility – but this is an interesting finding and needs to be taken seriously.”
A possibility? So perhaps he can’t read or doesn’t do math? 32% more likely translates into a VERY significant brain change effect. It should really be a case of do NOT accept ultrasound scans, until they have been proven not to be correlated. That’s the correct science position, even though it cuts across dogma and profits.
According to Dr Francis Duck of the British Medical Ultrasound Society, “When the first study suggesting a link came out, it was possible to ignore it, but now this is the third. What it demonstrates is the need to investigate the link further, and to look at possible mechanisms.”
Dr Duck cautioned, however, that ultrasound scanning has saved the lives of countless babies: “This research must be seen in context, and it should not deter anyone from having an antenatal scan.”
Even though there is irrefutable evidence of potential damage (notice he says this is the 3rd study showing it), then he STILL says don’t worry, go ahead. BIG QUESTION: what is the point of carrying out scientific studies, if we just ignore the evidence it finds? That is just not science!
So, included in these pearls about ultrasound damage is a clear proof that SCIENTISTS DON’T PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR OWN SCIENCE. They do “studies” and then write them off, when findings don’t agree with their rank prejudice!
They Ignore Any Threat To Status
British ObGyn professionals have also tried to quash potential fears, saying the findings should be met with “extreme caution”.
One critic of the research, Gordon Stirrat, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics at Bristol University, notes the study was done in the 1970’s when powerful, unsophisticated ultrasound was used. “Today’s ultrasound is much more sophisticated,” he said. “There’s no comparison.”
No indeed. No proof that it’s safer either; just different. What if modern ultrasound is MORE damaging, Stirrat? (can’t shake off the sound of rat at the end of his name).
And even more significantly, in the 1970’s ultrasound was reserved for pregnancies already suspect. “The males in the study might already have had abnormalities or a tendency to left-handedness before they had the ultrasound,” said Professor Stirrat. “I think we can be confident today’s ultrasound is very safe.”
I think you are deliberately misleading us Professor Sirrat. You make it up as you go along. The Chinese Human Studies I referred to last week run well into the 21st century (1988 to 2011). This shows damage from the latest types of ultrasound.
It Starts In The Womb
What is clear, by the way, is that “handedness” is established in the womb, before the 10th week.
A team led by Peter Hepper of the Fetal Behaviour Research Centre at Queen’s University, Belfast in the UK reached this conclusion after studying ultrasound scans of 1000 fetuses.
In one study, nine out of 10 fetuses at 15 weeks’ gestation preferred to suck their right thumbs. Hepper’s team followed 75 of those fetuses after birth, and found that at 10 to 12 years old all 60 of the right thumb-suckers were right-handed, while 10 of the 15 left thumb-suckers were left-handed and the rest right-handed.
At 10 weeks old, even before they suck their thumbs, fetuses wave their arms about. A second study found that most prefer to wave their right arm, a preference that persisted until 24 weeks, after which the fetus is too cramped to move. Hepper reported the findings at the Forum of European Neuroscience in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier in July.2
Hepper was quick to point out that these observations do not show that the fetus can control its movements at such a young age. Nervous connections to the body from the brain are not thought to start developing until around 20 weeks’ gestation. So the arm just waves itself, Dr. Hepper?
Is this not, in fact, proof that will and intention does not rely on the brain at all? Fetuses that lack a brain cortex, a condition called anencephaly, move their limbs in a similar way. I think it’s time to revise the myth that human beings live in their brains!
Of course “science”, you may know, was claiming that lifelong hand preferences did not develop until a child was three or four years old—but with no evidence of any kind to justify such an assertion.
Stupid and misguided attempts to force a child to adopt right-handedness is against the grain, unnatural, damaging to the child’s coordination and very foolish. It’s just another example of sacrificing human life to ridiculous dogma.
1. Current left handed research. 1999-2015. Anything Left Handed.
2. New Scientist Print Edition, 22 July 2004, Laura Spinney, Lisbon