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Letters to the Editor  |   October 2010
New Insights Regarding Possible Association Between Prenatal Ultrasound and Autism
Author Affiliations
  • Christopher D. Olson, DO
    Shamokin Dam, Pennsylvania
Article Information
Imaging / Obstetrics and Gynecology / Pediatrics / Psychiatry
Letters to the Editor   |   October 2010
New Insights Regarding Possible Association Between Prenatal Ultrasound and Autism
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2010, Vol. 110, 578-608. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2010.110.10.578
The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, October 2010, Vol. 110, 578-608. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2010.110.10.578
To the Editor:  
I recently received a response to my letter to the editor on the possible increased risk of autism from prenatal ultrasonography,1 published in the February 2009 JAOA—The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The letter came from Erik L. Ridley, a senior editor with AuntMinnie.com,2 a community Web site about medical imaging. I believe that Mr Ridley pointed to some important related information. He referred to an article by Grether et al3 that was published online in September 2009 by the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. (The article was published in print form in February 2010.) Following is the abstract from that article3: 

We evaluated antenatal ultrasound (U/S) exposure as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorders (ASD), comparing affected singleton children and control children born 1995-1999 and enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente health care system. Among children with ASD (n=362) and controls (n=393), 13% had no antenatal exposure to U/S examinations; casecontrol differences in number of exposures during the entire gestation or by trimester were small and not statistically significant. In analyses adjusted for covariates, cases were generally similar to controls with regard to the number of U/S scans throughout gestation and during each trimester. This study indicates that antenatal U/S is unlikely to increase the risk of ASD, although studies examining ASD subgroups remain to be conducted.

 
The information reported by Grether et al3 is very reassuring to me. I am sure that it will also be reassuring to others who have wondered if there might be an association between autism and prenatal ultrasonography. I am happy to convey this information to the readers of the JAOA. 
Olson CD. Does prenatal ultrasound increase risk of autism [letter]? J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2009;109(2):71-72. http://www.jaoa.org/cgi/reprint/109/2/71. Accessed September 28, 2010.
AuntMinnie.com—radiology and imaging news, information, education, and services. AuntMinnie.com Web site. http://www.auntminnie.com. Accessed September 28, 2010.
Grether JK, Li SX, Yoshida CK, Croen LA. Antenatal ultrasound and risk of autism spectrum disorders [published online ahead of print September 1, 2009]. J Autism Dev Disord.. (2010). ;40(2):238-245.