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Suggestions that ultrasound could damage male fetuses has led to calls for continuous assessment of the technique.

Helen Gavaghan(Gaversx@aol.com)

For as long as medicine has used ultrasound — beginning in the early 1950s — there have been questions about whether the technique, particularly when used on pregnant women, is entirely beneficial or might pose threats to health in some circumstances. The consensus for decades has been that it is safe — the high frequency sound waves have about as much energy as a torch beam — but should be constantly reviewed.

Despite the publication in November of research findings that seemed to suggest that ultrasound scans during pregnancy might cause brain damage in men, that is still the case. Members of the British Medical Ultrasound Society — who coincidentally were holding their annual meeting in Edinburgh (12-14 December 2001) — took the opportunity to discuss the findings that gave rise to the concern, and decided that the findings do not justify changing advice on the use of ultrasound during...

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