Key Point: “New” Australian study based on low-intensity ultrasound of 1989 shows no connection to autism.

NOTE: The abstract of this study fails to mention that the data is from pregnancies more than 20 years ago when the intensity of ultrasound was 1/8 th what has been allowed since 1992. The study is irrelevant as proof of safety but is being quoted as such. The rise in autism began in the 1990s.

Are Prenatal Ultrasound Scans Associated with the Autism Phenotype? Follow-up of a Randomised Controlled Trial

Yonit K. Stoch, Cori J. Williams, Joanna Granich, Anna M. Hunt, Lou I. Landau, John P. Newnham, Andrew J. O. Whitehouse

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, March 2012
DOI: 10.1007/s10803-012-1526-8


An existing randomised controlled trial was used to investigate whether multiple ultrasound scans may be associated with the autism phenotype. From 2,834 single pregnancies, 1,415 were selected at random to receive ultrasound imaging and continuous wave Doppler flow studies at five points throughout pregnancy (Intensive) and 1,419 to receive a single imaging scan at 18 weeks (Regular), with further scans only as indicated on clinical grounds. There was no significant difference in the rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder between the Regular (9/1,125, 0.8 %) and Intensive (7/1,167, 0.6 %) groups, nor a difference between groups in the level of autistic-like traits in early adulthood. There is no clear link between the frequency and timing of prenatal ultrasound scans and the autism phenotype.

Exerpt from the paper reveals data irrelevant today:

“However, technological advancements over the past two decades have led to considerable improvements in ultrasonographic capabilities, with corresponding increases in acoustic output (Barnett and Maulik 2001). The current study was not designed to investigate the use of these instruments, and there is a clear need for research into this area. “