Researchers use neuroimaging abnormalities to detect timing of abusive head trauma in infants

Published on June 26, 2013 at 2:31 PM · 1 Comment

Researchers at Penn State College of Medicine and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center (Hershey, Pennsylvania) have categorized the appearance and evolution of abnormalities on neuroimages that represent abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants. The researchers' descriptions of these abnormalities are important for narrowing down the timing of AHT, which can aid police in identifying and excluding potential perpetrators. Appearances of a variety of abusive traumatic injuries on cranial CT scans and MRIs at different time points are described and discussed in "Serial neuroimaging in infants with abusive head trauma: timing abusive injuries. Clinical article," by Ray Bradford, M.D., Arabinda K. Choudhary, M.D., M.R.C.P., F.R.C.R, and Mark S. Dias, M.D., published today online, ahead of print, in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics. This study is the largest one on timing of AHT to date, and its findings confirm and extend those of a previous, smaller study conducted by the senior author, Dr. Mark S. Dias. The researchers hope that this article will serve as an important reference for professionals called upon to provide a time frame for abusive head injuries.

Dr. Bradford and colleagues examined the medical records and imaging studies of all infants (younger than 24 months of age) with abusive head trauma (AHT) who were admitted to Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center between January 1997 and December 2007. The researchers identified 105 infants whose patient charts contained specific injury dates and for whom serial CT (computed tomography) scans were available. These infants were selected for the study population; they ranged in age from 0.3 to 23 months (mean age 5.3 months, median age 3.9 months). More precise timing of injury (time of day) was noted in the charts of 43 of these infants, and MRIs (magnetic resonance images) were available in all cases in this subgroup. In none of these cases was serial MRI scanning performed.

Read in | English | Español | Français | Deutsch | Português | Italiano | 日本語 | 한국어 | 简体中文 | 繁體中文 | Nederlands | Русский | Svenska | Polski
Comments
  1. Jeremy praay Jeremy praay United States says:

    While this study is certainly helpful in determining when a particular event occurred, it is not useful in determining what the event was.  Subdural hemorrhaging is known to occur from a multitude of causes, and among them, shaking may be the least likely cause.

    I'm very concerned that this information could be misused by medical professionals and the courts to convict an innocent person of harming, or murdering their own child, when natural processes were at work.  Indeed, this is already what is happening in the so called "shaken baby" cases.  

    I would hope that the authors suggest a great deal of circumspection in these cases before accusing someone of murder.  Ruling out other possibilities does not justify a diagnosis of murder.  If it did, we would be imprisoning parents in cases of SIDS as well.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
Post a new comment
Post