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'Shaken baby' test method in doubt

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Mar 25, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. scientists said Thursday new research has cast doubt on theory that certain eye injuries are a sign a baby has been shaken violently.

The scientists, at Wake Forest University, said although physicians generally attribute bleeding from the eyes in infants to physical abuse, there is little hard science to support the view that this alone proves abuse.

Other experts said bleeding from the eyes indeed can suggest a baby has been shaken violently -- but the evidence is only compelling if there are also signs of brain damage and bleeding in the brain.

The researchers focused on the case of a healthy 14-month-old child who was brought to hospital with a severe head injury after a television fell on him at home. Despite his father's repeated, detailed, and consistent account of the incident, Child Protective Services removed the child's three-year-old brother from the home because the baby had injuries to the retina of the eye.

Only after a careful investigation by a pediatrician and a forensic pathologist was the child's injury deemed to have been an accident.

The researchers said they have found no valid scientific studies to indicate this particular eye injury could only result from shaken baby syndrome.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.


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