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Ultrasound Machines Seen As A Threat In India

April 6, 2011
Written by: , Filed in: Medical Ethics, Obstetric Ultrasound
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Health officials are trying to ban 3-D ultrasound machines from the state of Haryana, India. Mobile ultrasound machines are already banned (ineffectually)  in much of the state.

What’s the problem? Ultrasound scans reveal the sex of fetuses. In India, many parents prefer boys. So ultrasound machines ultimately lead to the elective abortions of many female fetuses.

According to The Times of India, the civil surgeon of the Jhajjar district and the health minister of Harayana (which includes Jhajjar) both support the 3-D ultrasound ban. Bharat Singh, the civil surgeon, said using the machines just to check the health of the fetus, without telling parents the sex, was not an option because it doesn’t take any training to interpret the images:

As far as 3-D ultrasound machines are concerned, here you need not give any indication. Rather, parents can see the sex of the baby themselves. I have disallowed the registration of such machines in our district.

Early 2011 India census results, released last Thursday, showed the sex ratio of children (birth through age 6) in Haryana to be 830 females for every 1,000 males. In the Jhajjar district, it was 774 females.

In all of India, according to The Economic Times, the child sex ratio was 914 females per 1,000 males, the lowest since India achieved independence in 1947. Census Commissioner C. Chandramauli called the ratio a “matter of grave concern.”

In less depressing but equally odd imaging news, a Canadian researcher has developed a “CT scanner for the Earth” that might be able to show mining companies precisely where to dig for valuable ores.

Douglas Bryman, PhD, chair of the physics and astronomy department at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, is working on muon geotomography. It relies on a natural radiation source: cosmic ray muons, which are created in the upper atmosphere and penetrate deep into the earth. Buried sensors detect the particles, just as an X-ray machine’s image receptor detects X-rays.

“The underground muon sensor system is able to detect and differentiate regions of high density, from which 3-D images can be created of potentially valuable ore,” Dr. Bryman said. He was quoted in a news release from Advanced Applied Physics Solutions, a Canadian governmental organization charged with exploring the commercial potential of new technologies.

Related seminar: Ob/Gyn and Abdominal Sonography


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