The Shaken Baby Syndrome Myth
renamed "Abusive Head Trauma" or "Non-Accidental Injury"



* SBS began as an unproven theory and medical opinions, now discredited by biomechanical engineering studies
* No DIFFERENTIAL DIAGNOSIS done to eliminate other causes, abuse assumed without evidence
* Shaken Baby diagnostic symptoms not caused by shaking
* Child protective agencies snatch children, destroy families based on medical accusations without proof of wrong-doing
*Poor or deceptive police investigations, falsified reports, perjured testimony threaten legal rights, due process
* Prosecutors seek "victory", over justice; defense attorneys guilty of ineffective counsel, ignorance, lack of effort
* Care-takers threatened, manipulated, in order to force plea bargains, false confessions
* A fractured criminal justice system--a big piece for the rich, a small piece for the poor, and none for alleged SBS cases.



Related websites/ important people and projects ShakenBabySyndrome/Vaccines/YurkoProject
"Shaken Baby Syndrome or Vaccine Induced Encephalitis-- Are Parents Being Falsely Accused?" by Dr Harold Buttram, with Christina England (WEBSITE)
Evidence Based Medicine and Social Investigation:
EBMSI conferences, resources and information Articles and Reports
VacTruth: Jeffry Aufderheide; The SBS conection and other dangerous or deadly side effects of vaccination true, suppressed history of the smallpox vaccine fraud and other books:
Patrick Jordan
Sue Luttner, must-read articles and information on Shaken Baby Syndrome: her resources link
The Amanda Truth Project: Amanda's mother speaks out at symposium
Tonya Sadowsky

SBS-retinal hemorrhages caused by falls

Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons Volume 9 Number 3 Fall 2004
Ronald Uscinski, M.D.

TheThreshold of Injury
The Shaken Baby Syndrome

Dr. Uscinski described an experiment set up by A.K. Ommaya who "devised an experiment to measure more precisely the amount of rotational acceleration necessary to reach the threshold of injury. A contoured fiberglass chair was built, mounted on wheels, and placed on tracks with a piston behind it. Rhesus monkeys were strapped into the chair with their heads free to rotate. The piston then impacted the chair, simulating a rear-end motor vehicle collision."

"Measuring the arc of the head rotating and accelerating around the neck, Ommaya was able to demonstrate that a rotational acceleration of 40,000 radians/sec was sufficient to cause concussion in the animal subjects. Ommaya was able to produce intracranial injury in 19 of the animals, with 11 of them also demonstrating neck injury. Then, using the scaling parameters, he estimated that less rotational acceleration would be required to produce concussion in the larger human brain, perhaps on the order of 6,000 to 7,000 radians/sec."

"It is significant to note that whereas this experiment showed, qualitatively, that rotation alone could indeed produce intracranial injury, it was not shown quantitatively that human beings could generate the required rotational acceleration by manual shaking."

"Nonetheless, this critical omission was not addressed until 19 years later. At that time it was shown quantitatively that impact was required to generate adequate force."

"In the intervening years, and even up to the present, numerous references are made to infants sustaining inflicted brain injury by manual shaking. Yet no laboratory proof of this possibility has ever been put forth. In fact, the available experimental evidence, beginning as far back as 1943, addressed directly in 1987 and reproduced in 2003, seems to indicate the contrary."

The following articles and studies provide examples of cases where babies are "assumed" to have been shaken by no more evidence that the presence of the symptoms. Supposedly, the clearer the symptoms, the more sure the diagnosis of SBS. As detailed below, accidental falls were the only observed cause of these symptoms.

1: Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd. 1997 Dec;211(6):354-8.
[Retinal hemorrhage in the infant as an indication of shaken baby trauma]

Schmidt US, Mittelviefhaus K, Hansen LL.
Universitäts-Augenklinik Freiburg.

BACKGROUND: The shaken baby syndrome is a form of child abuse in young children. Typical are intracranial and intraocular bleedings. As external injuries are often missing, the shaken baby syndrome may easily be overlooked. Intraocular bleeding is a major diagnostic sign and can prove the diagnosis, if child abuse is suspected by the paediatrician. Thus critical family situations can be uncovered and long term help can be initiated. PATIENTS: Between 1991 and 1997 seven babies (age two to nine months) with intraocular bleedings were examined. Diagnosis, differential diagnosis and prognosis of the shaken baby syndrome are presented with these children. RESULTS: In two of the seven children a non-accidental trauma and shaken baby syndrome was obvious. In three cases the diagnosis of a shaken baby syndrome was most probable. In one child intraocular bleeding was possibly caused by a fall three months earlier. One child had retinal bleedings after resuscitation. In two cases a vitrectomy was performed. The follow up was two months to six years. In two children intraocular bleeding resolved completely, three children developed mild to severe amblyopia and two children became blind. Vitrectomy could not prevent loss of sight.

CONCLUSIONS: Sudden cerebral symptoms or intraocular bleedings in otherwise healthy young children are suspicious for child abuse. A shaken baby syndrome has to be considered. Thus funduscopic examination in mydriasis is obligatory. The prognosis depends on the severeness of ocular hemorrhages and cerebral lesions.

No proof has been offered that any of the children were shaken other than the symptoms themselves.

Singapore Med J. 1995 Aug;36(4):391-2
Ocular manifestations in shaken baby syndrome.
Wong JS, Wong PK, Yeoh RL.

Department of Ophthalmology, National University Hospital, Singapore.

In the absence of external physical signs, child abuse is not easy to diagnose. Shaken baby syndrome is a unique form of child abuse where the only consistent external physical signs are its ocular manifestations. We report two cases which illustrate the typical presentation, with hallmarks of this syndrome, namely intraocular and intracranial haemorrhages. The visual prognosis of these infants are usually poor.

Shaking is only assumed by the presence of the symptoms.

Ophthalmologe. 1994 Jun;91(3):380-2
[Eye manifestations of shaken baby syndrome. A case presentation]
[Article in German]

Poepel B, Seiberth V, Knorz MC, Kachel W.

Augenklinik, Klinikum Mannheim, Fakultät für Klinische Medizin, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Mannheim.

Violent shaking is a type of child abuse which may cause intracranial hemorrhages combined with retinal and vitreous bleeding. Fundus bleeding is similar to that in Terson syndrome. However, in the shaken baby syndrome the intraocular hemorrhages may precede both the clinical and radiologic recognition of subdural haematoma. CASE REPORT: We present a 4-months-old baby with convulsions and additional extensive bleeding of the fundus. Neither the ocular findings nor the seizures could be explained by minimal lesions of external trauma. Repeated cranial computed tomography showed increasing intracerebral bleeding with consecutive brain atrophy. Fundus bleeding completely disappeared.

CONCLUSION: When child abuse is suspected, ophthalmological examination is most important to detect fundus bleeding, which, in the absence of birth trauma or any other supportive evidence of external trauma or other diseases, is the leading symptom of the shaken baby syndrome.

Ophthalmologe. 2002 Apr;99(4):295-8.
[Traction retinal detachment, optic atrophy, apallic syndrome after shaking trauma in an infant]
[Article in German]
Grote A.

Augenklinik der Kliniken der Stadt Köln/Merheim, Pädiatrisch-Ophthalmologisches Zentrum, Kinderkrankenhaus der Kliniken der Stadt Köln/Riehl.

INTRODUCTION: Ophthalmological examinations are important in children with suspected shaken baby and/or battered child syndrome. Retinal and epiretinal haemorrhages can indicate non-accidental injuries. We observed a case of extensive retinal hemorrhages, edema of the optic disc followed by development of optic atrophy, neovascularisation and tractional retinal detachment over the course of months. CASE REPORT: A 6-week-old infant with no history of systemic disease or trauma was admitted to the children's hospital because of a disorder of consciousness, respiratory insufficiency, taut fontanel and dilated pupils with sluggish reaction to light. A subdural haematoma was diagnosed. Ophthalmological examination showed no signs of trauma in the anterior segment. Ophthalmoscopy revealed extensive retinal haemorrhages and swollen optic nerve heads. During the next months optic atrophy, subretinal fibrosis at the posterior pole, neovascularisation at the optic disc and non-rhegmatogenous retinal detachment developed. The child is in a persistent vegetative state.

DISCUSSION: Non-accidental injuries can cause direct trauma and indirect traumatic sequelae. Retinal haemorrhages, especially in conjunction with unexplained trauma or changes of consciousness should arouse suspicion of shaken baby syndrome. The ophthalmologist should emphasize this and strongly recommend further investigation if not previously undertaken.

Diagnosis based on symptoms.

Am J Ophthalmol. 2002 Sep;134(3):354-9.

Comment in:
Am J Ophthalmol. 2003 May;135(5):745; author reply 746.
Am J Ophthalmol. 2003 Oct;136(4):773; author reply 773 -4.

Correlation between retinal abnormalities and intracranial abnormalities in the shaken baby syndrome.
Morad Y, Kim YM, Armstrong DC, Huyer D, Mian M, Levin AV.

Department of Ophthalmology, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

PURPOSE: To report correlation between retinal and intracranial abnormalities and to evaluate pathogenesis of retinal hemorrhages in the shaken baby syndrome (SBS). DESIGN: Observational case series. METHODS: Seventy-five children with apparent nonaccidental head trauma consistent with SBS had complete physical examination, complete ophthalmologic examination, neuroimaging by CT or MRI, or both, and skeletal radiographic survey. In this retrospective review, ophthalmoscopic and intracranial abnormalities were correlated. RESULTS: The age of patients ranged from 2 to 48 months (mean - SD, 10.6 +/- 10.4 months). Neuroimaging was abnormal in all 75 cases. Findings included subdural hematoma (70 children, 93%), cerebral edema (33 children, 44%), subarachnoid hemorrhage (12 children, 16%), vascular infarction (nine children, 12%), intraparenchymal blood (six children, 8%), parenchymal contusion (six children, 8%), and epidural hemorrhage (one child, 1%). Sixty-four (64/75, 85%) children had retinal abnormalities, mostly (53/64, 82%) confluent multiple hemorrhages that were subretinal, intraretinal, and preretinal in 47/64 (74%) and bilateral in 52/64 (81%). No association was found between anatomic site (left, right, or bilateral) of intracranial and retinal findings (McNemar test kappa = -0.026-0.106) or between any of the intracranial findings mentioned above and the following retinal findings: normal or abnormal retinal examination, multiple (>10) or few retinal hemorrhages (< or =10), symmetric or asymmetric retinal findings, or retinoschisis (kappa = -0.127-0.104). Signs of possible increased intracranial pressure were not correlated with any retinal abnormality (kappa = -0.03-0.073). There was no correlation between evidence of impact trauma to the head and retinal hemorrhages (kappa = 0.058). Total Cranial Trauma Score and Total Retinal Hemorrhage Score, both indicating the severity of injury, were correlated (P =.032). CONCLUSIONS: Our study supports previous observations that the severity of retinal and intracranial injury is correlated in SBS. We cannot support the suggestions that in most children with SBS retinal bleeding is caused by sustained elevated intracranial, elevated intrathoracic pressure, direct tracking of blood from the intracranial space, or direct impact trauma. The correlation in severity of both eye and head findings may suggest, however, that retinal abnormalities are the result of mechanical shaking forces.

Trans Am Ophthalmol Soc. 1999;97:545-81.
A 12-year ophthalmologic experience with the shaken baby syndrome at a regional children's hospital.

Kivlin JD.

Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, USA.

PURPOSE: To examine the ophthalmologic experience with the shaken baby syndrome (SBS) at one medical center, including clinical findings, autopsy findings, and the visual outcome of survivors. METHODS: One hundred sixteen patients admitted from 1987 to 1998 for subdural hematomas of the brain secondary to abuse were included.

RESULTS: Retinal hemorrhages were detected in 84% of the children, but this important finding had been missed often by nonophthalmologists. Poor visual response, poor pupillary response, and retinal hemorrhage correlated strongly with demise of the child. One child who died had pigmented retinal scars from previous abuse, a condition not previously observed histopathologically. The clinical and autopsy findings varied somewhat, probably because of the differing conditions for examination. No correlation could be made between computerized tomography scans done during life and the subdural hemorrhage of the optic nerve found on autopsy. Half of the surviving patients were known to have good vision. One fourth of the patients had poor vision, largely due to cerebral visual impairment from bilateral injury posterior to the optic chiasm. Severe neurologic impairment correlated highly with loss of vision. CONCLUSION: This series provides information on the frequency of eye findings in SBS patients. No fundus finding is pathognomonic for SBS. When retinal hemorrhages are found in young children, the likelihood that abuse occurred is very high. The difficulty that nonophthalmologists have in detecting retinal hemorrhage may be an important limiting factor in finding these children so they may be protected from further abuse.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2000 Mar;118(3):373-7.
Prognostic indicators for vision and mortality in shaken baby syndrome.
McCabe CF, Donahue SP.

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tenn, USA.

OBJECTIVE: To study ocular and nonocular signs of patients diagnosed as having "shaken baby syndrome" and determine prognostic indicators for vision and mortality. METHODS: Medical records of child abuse cases involving bilateral retinal hemorrhages were reviewed. Particular attention was paid to visual function and pupillary light reaction at the time of admission as well as the location of retinal hemorrhages, neuroimaging findings, ventilatory requirement, and associated skeletal injuries. These findings were correlated with visual prognosis and mortality. RESULTS: Thirty consecutive cases met the criteria for review. At the initial visit, mean age of the children was 9.3 months (range, 1-39 months) and 12 children (40%) had at least fix-and-follow vision. Preretinal and intraretinal hemorrhages (93% [n = 28] and 100% [n = 30]) were more common than vitreous hemorrhage (10% [n = 3]). Subdural hematomas were detected in 21 patients (70%). Twenty children (67%) had seizures and 16 (53%) required ventilatory support; bruises and long bone fractures were seen in 14 (47%) and 4 (13%) children, respectively. Eight patients died. All patients with nonreactive pupils on presentation died, while all patients with a pupillary light reaction lived (P<.001). Six (86%) of 7 patients with midline shift died, whereas 21 (91%) of 23 with no midline shift lived (P<.001). At follow-up, retinal hemorrhages had resolved in nearly all children by 4 months, and 16 children (73%) had at least fix-and-follow vision. Ventilatory requirement was associated with poorer vision (P<.01). CONCLUSIONS: Nonreactive pupils and midline shift of the brain structures correlate highly with mortality. Ventilatory requirement, but not visual acuity on presentation, predicts visual outcome.

Ophthalmology. 2000 Jul;107(7):1246-54.Click here to read Links
Shaken baby syndrome.
Kivlin JD, Simons KB, Lazoritz S, Ruttum MS.

Department of Ophthalmology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

PURPOSE: To examine the comprehensive ophthalmologic experience with the shaken baby syndrome at one medical center, including clinical findings, autopsy findings, and the outcome of survivors. DESIGN: Retrospective, noncomparative case series. PARTICIPANTS: One hundred twenty-three children admitted from January 1987 through December 1998 for subdural hematomas of the brain secondary to abuse were included.

METHODS: Clinical features of eye examinations of the patients during their admission and after discharge and histopathologic observations for patients who died were retrieved from medical records and statistically analyzed. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Visual response and pupillary response on initial examination, fundus findings, final vision, neurologic outcome of survivors, and death. RESULTS: Ninety percent of the patients had ophthalmologic assessments. Retinal hemorrhages were detected in 83% of the examined children. The retinal hemorrhages were bilateral in 85% of affected children and varied in type and location. Nonophthalmologists missed the hemorrhages in 29% of affected patients. Poor visual response, poor pupillary response, and retinal hemorrhage correlated strongly with the demise of the child. One child who died had pigmented retinal scars from previous abuse, a condition not previously observed histopathologically to our knowledge. One fifth of the survivors had poor vision, largely the result of cerebral visual impairment. Severe neurologic impairment correlated highly with loss of vision.

CONCLUSIONS: Shaken baby syndrome causes devastating injury to the brain and thus to vision. Retinal hemorrhages are extremely common, but vision loss is most often the result of brain injury. The patient's visual reaction and pupillary response on presentation showed a high correlation with survival. Good initial visual reaction was highly correlated with good final vision and neurologic outcome. According to the literature, when retinal hemorrhages are found in young children, the likelihood that abuse occurred is very high. Nonophthalmologists' difficulty in detecting retinal hemorrhages may be an important limiting factor in identifying shaken babies so they can be protected from further abuse.

J Pediatr Ophthalmol Strabismus. 1998 Jan-Feb;35(1):22-6.
Electroretinographic findings in infants with the shaken baby syndrome.
Fishman CD, Dasher WB 3rd, Lambert SR.

Emory Eye Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.

PURPOSE: To determine if electroretinography is helpful in the work-up of children with the shaken baby syndrome. METHODS: Six children with retinal hemorrhages and the shaken baby syndrome underwent electroretinography (ERG). The ERGs of these six children were compared with six age-matched controls using the sign-rank test.

RESULTS: Neither the implicit time nor the amplitude of the white scotopic ERG response was significantly different between these patients and age-matched controls. Although the amplitude of the blue scotopic and 30 Hz flicker responses were attenuated (p < 0.05), the implicit times were not significantly different from controls. Three of the patients had serial ERGs recorded. The b-wave implicit time and amplitude improved in two of these patients. The ERG was helpful in distinguishing between a CNS and a retinal cause of visual loss in one child.

CONCLUSIONS: The ERG can be helpful in assessing retinal function in children with the shaken baby syndrome who have persistent visual impairment. In most cases, the ERG is not helpful in the initial assessment of children with the shaken baby syndrome.

Forensic Sci Int. 2005 Jun 30;151(1):71-9.Click here to read Links

Comment in:
Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Dec 20;164(2-3):278-9; author reply 282-3.
Forensic Sci Int. 2006 Dec 20;164(2-3):280-1; author reply 282-3.

Shaken baby syndrome: a biomechanics analysis of injury mechanisms.
Bandak FA.

Department of Neurology, A1036 F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services, University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD 20814, USA.

Traumatic infant shaking has been associated with the shaken baby syndrome (SBS) diagnosis without verification of the operative mechanisms of injury. Intensities for SBS have been expressed only in qualitative, unsubstantiated terms usually referring to acceleration/deceleration rotational injury and relating to falls from great heights onto hard surfaces or from severe motor vehicle crashes. We conducted an injury biomechanics analysis of the reported SBS levels of rotational velocity and acceleration of the head for their injury effects on the infant head-neck. Resulting forces were compared with experimental data on the structural failure limits of the cervical spine in several animal models as well as human neonate cadaver models. We have determined that an infant head subjected to the levels of rotational velocity and acceleration called for in the SBS literature, would experience forces on the infant neck far exceeding the limits for structural failure of the cervical spine. Furthermore, shaking cervical spine injury can occur at much lower levels of head velocity and acceleration than those reported for the SBS. These findings are consistent with the physical laws of injury biomechanics as well as our collective understanding of the fragile infant cervical spine from (1) clinical obstetric experience, (2) automotive medicine and crash safety experience, and (3) common parental experience. The findings are not, however, consistent with the current clinical SBS experience and are in stark contradiction with the reported rarity of cervical spine injury in children diagnosed with SBS. In light of the implications of these findings on child protection and their social and medico-legal significance, a re-evaluation of the current diagnostic criteria for the SBS and its application is suggested.

Neurol Med Chir (Tokyo). 2006 Feb;46(2):57-61
Shaken baby syndrome: an odyssey

Uscinski RH.

Department of Neurosurgery, George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C., USA.

Shaken baby syndrome is evaluated in the context of its historical evolution and its veracity in referring to causal injury mechanisms. A rational assessment of the injury causation and consequent pathological states associated with the syndrome is presented. It is now evident that shaken baby syndrome evolved as a result of a faulty application of scientific reasoning and a lack of appreciation of mechanisms of injury. A brief explanation of the commonly understood usage and interface of scientific methodology and reasoning as applied to clinical medicine is given.

No Shinkei Geka. 2004 Aug;32(8):845-8
[Multiple chronic subdural hematoma in shaken-baby syndrome]
[Article in Japanese]

Haga S, Ishido K, Inada N, Sakata S.

Department of Neurosurgery, Saga Prefectural Hospital Koseikan.

We described a case of shaken-baby syndrome with multiple chronic subdural hematomas. A 10-month-old male baby was admitted to our hospital because of loss of consciousness and convulsions. CT scan revealed an acute subarachnoid hemorrhage extending into the interhemispheric fissure and supracerebellar space. The patient was treated conservatively, and discharged from the hospitaL Two months after ictus, a baby was admitted to our hospital with general fatigue. CT scan demonstrated multiple chronic subdural hematomas. Burr hole irrigation and drainage brought about complete disappearance of these lesions. Retrospectively, it was found that these multiple subdural hematomas were due to shaken-baby syndrome. Shaken-baby syndrome is a form of child abuse that can cause significant head injury, and subdural hematoma is the most common manifestation. It is well known that the outcome of shaken-baby syndrome is generally not good. It is important to suspect shaken-baby syndrome when a chronic subdural hematoma is seen in a baby.

Int J Legal Med. 2007 May;121(3):223-8. Epub 2006 Nov 8.
Finite element analysis of impact and shaking inflicted to a child.
Roth S, Raul JS, Ludes B, Willinger R.

Institut de Mécanique des Fluides et des Solides, UMR 7507 ULP CNRS, Strasbourg, France.

This study compares a vigorous shaking and an inflicted impact, defined as the terminal portion of a vigorous shaking, using a finite element model of a 6-month-old child head. Whereas the calculated values in terms of shearing stress and brain pressure remain different and corroborate the previous studies based on angular and linear velocity and acceleration, the calculated relative brain and skull motions that can be considered at the origin of a subdural haematoma show similar results for the two simulated events. Finite element methods appear as an emerging tool in the study of the biomechanics of head injuries in children.

J Neurotrauma. 2001 Jan;18(1):21-30.
Comparison of brain responses between frontal and lateral impacts by finite element modeling.
Zhang L, Yang KH, King AI.

Bioengineering Center, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.

This study was conducted to investigate differences in brain response due to frontal and lateral impacts based on a partially validated three-dimensional finite element model with all essential anatomical features of a human head. Identical impact and boundary conditions were used for both the frontal and lateral impact simulations. Intracranial pressure and localized shear stress distributions predicted from these impacts were analyzed. The model predicted higher positive pressures accompanied by a relatively large localized skull deformation at the impact site from a lateral impact when compared to a frontal impact. Lateral impact also induced higher localized shear stress in the core regions of the brain. Preliminary results of the simulation suggest that skull deformation and internal partitions may be responsible for the directional sensitivity of the head in terms of intracranial pressure and shear stress response. In previous experimental studies using subhuman primates, it was found that a lateral impact was more injurious than a frontal impact. In this study, shear stress in the brain predicted by the model was much higher in a lateral impact in comparison with a frontal impact of the same severity. If shear deformation is considered as an injury indicator for diffuse brain injuries, a higher shear stress due to a lateral impact indicate that the head would tend to have a decreased tolerance to shear deformation in lateral impact. More research is needed to further quantify the effect of the skull deformation and dural partitions on brain injury due to impacts from a variety of directions and at different locations.

Dianne Jacobs Thompson  Est. 2007
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