Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Is Excessive Prenatal Ultrasonography a Risk Factor for Autism? A Literature Review

Version 1 : Received: 3 June 2019 / Approved: 4 June 2019 / Online: 4 June 2019 (12:56:37 CEST)

How to cite: Moammar, H.; Sulayman, R. Is Excessive Prenatal Ultrasonography a Risk Factor for Autism? A Literature Review. Preprints 2019, 2019060030 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201906.0030.v1). Moammar, H.; Sulayman, R. Is Excessive Prenatal Ultrasonography a Risk Factor for Autism? A Literature Review. Preprints 2019, 2019060030 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201906.0030.v1).

Abstract

For the past several decades, abdominal prenatal ultrasonography has been the most significant technology in obstetrics with a long-established application. However, the frequency, exposure time, thermal and cavitation exposure indices, and increased acoustic output of the ultrasonic waves may be harmful to the embryo/fetus and might increase susceptibility to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The increase in the prevalence of ASD is associated with an affluent ethnicity, high socioeconomic status, and high parental education where prenatal ultrasonography is readily available and affordable. Enhanced biophysical adverse effects may link the analogous increase in prenatal ultrasonography and autism, and prenatal ultrasonography may emerge as a risk factor for autism. Radiography usage provides historical evidence for this fact: the predominant past opinion was that exposure to X-rays during pregnancy caused no significant risk to a fetus. However, the association between X-ray exposure and childhood leukemia was only established 40 years after X-ray use began. This review focuses on excessive PUS usage and ASD development. Public Abstract Advancements in medical technology over the past several decades have made prenatal ultrasound more frequently accessible to expecting mothers during their pregnancy, especially for the affluent. A parallel development in health care is the increase in autism diagnoses (Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD) in children of affluent families. There is a general lack of studies of the impact of prenatal ultrasound on fetuses, especially around varying attributes such as frequency, duration of exposure, and thermal and cavitation indices. There is also a historical precedent set, where exposing fetuses to X-rays was not found to be harmful until it was linked to the development of childhood leukemia decades later. This paper seeks to establish a need to further study these attributes of prenatal ultrasound overuse and their possible impact on a developing fetus, with a special focus on the occurrence of Autism.

Subject Areas

autism; autistic spectrum disorder; children; behavior; ultrasonography; prenatal; pregnancy

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