“Shaken baby syndrome” in child abuse cases is a challenge for pediatrician and forensic experts, often a diagnosis of exclusion, with overwhelming moral and legal implications. Diagnosis is based on: subdural bleeding, rupture of retinal vessels, traumatic diffuse axonal injury with diffuse brain encephalopathy in the absence of external traumatic injuries and anamnesis data of an accidentally head injury.
Microscopic findings in diffuse axonal injuries were initially considered as a specific traumatic effect due to unrestricted movement and accelerated rotation of the head. Immunohistochemistry of beta amyloid protein precursor is gold standard method for identifying pathological diffuse axonal lesions, which is however non-specific in brain trauma.
In the diagnosis of this syndrome pediatricians and forensic examiners must take into account the particularities of each case, avoiding scientific speculation, to intuit controversies and always be familiar with the differential diagnosis.
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Duncea, Roxana M.; Apostol, Irina; Calota, Relu G.; and Belis, Vladimir
"Forensic and clinical diagnosis in "shaken baby syndrome", between child abuse and iatrogenic abuse,"
Journal of Mind and Medical Sciences: Vol. 4
, Article 4.
Available at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/jmms/vol4/iss1/4