Navigation Links
Abusive Head Trauma in Infants Doubled During Recession: Study

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Recession-related stress may have triggered an alarming increase in non-accidental head injuries among infants, new research suggests.

The number of babies hospitalized for non-accidental head trauma -- a form of child abuse previously known as shaken baby syndrome -- doubled during the recent recession, according to the study by researchers at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland.

"The reasons for why this is happening are beyond the scope of our study, but it may be that more parents are stressed to the breaking point because of economic problems like unemployment and foreclosures," said lead author Mary I. Huang, a fourth-year medical student at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

"In many cases, when people are forced to leave their homes, they may be moving in with relatives who might not have as much of a vested interest in taking care of infants," added Huang, who is scheduled to present the paper Wednesday at the American Association of Neurological Surgeons' meeting in Denver. Research presented at meetings is considered preliminary until it is published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The new findings echo a 2010 study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. That paper evaluated cases of non-accidental head injury among infants and young children from 2004 through 2009 in four urban children's hospitals. The researchers found almost twice as many cases of abusive head trauma per month in the recession period -- starting in December 2007 -- compared with the period prior to the recession.

The idea for the study came to Huang during her third-year rotation on the pediatric neurosurgery service. "Some of the doctors mentioned that we'd been seeing a lot of non-accidental head trauma, and they wondered if it could have anything to do with the recession," Huang said. "I thought this would be a great question to explore using our trauma registry."

Huang and her colleagues reviewed the hospital's database for cases of non-accidental head trauma (NAHT) in children up to 2 years old from December 2001 through June 2010. During that time, 639 infants under the age of 2 were admitted for traumatic injuries, and 93 of the cases were classified as NAHT.

A total of 43 cases of NAHT occurred in the 31 months of the recession period (December 2007 through June 2010), compared with 50 cases during the 72 months of the non-recession period (December 2001 through November 2007), which represented a 101 percent increase.

Significantly more serious injuries were also noted during the recession, resulting in more deaths and cases of severe brain injury, the research team found.

"We really weren't expecting to see such a big increase," Huang noted. "It was pretty startling for all of us."

During the recession, overall traumas decreased by 8.2 percent, and accidental infant head traumas went down 3.5 percent, but the proportion of months in which at least one infant was admitted for NAHT was 58 percent greater than during the non-recession period.

Pediatric care providers need to be aware of the rise in child abuse during economic downturns and screen appropriately, the authors said.

Dr. Robert Block, professor and chair of pediatrics at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, said the study findings weren't surprising.

"We know that times of increased stress may be more dangerous for babies," he said, "and so it makes sense that in a recession, where there are all kinds of very stressful situations, we would see an uptick in these kinds of injuries."

Block, who is president-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics, speculated that cuts to social services programs in recent years may have also been a factor.

"Cutting services that support children and families is a terribly wrong-headed move," said Block, "because the babies who are affected, if they survive, will have lifelong consequences as a result of this violent abuse."

More information

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has more on preventing child abuse.

SOURCES: Mary I. Huang, M.S., fourth-year medical student, Case Western Reserve University Medical School, Cleveland, Ohio; Robert Block, M.D., Professor and Daniel C. Plunket Chair, department of pediatrics, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Tulsa, Okla., and president-elect, American Academy of Pediatrics; April 13, 2011, presentation, American Association of Neurological Surgeons' annual meeting, Denver

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. For Young Women, Controlling Partner Often Abusive, Too
2. Abusive mothers improve parenting after in-home training, emotional support of therapists
3. Better treatment sought for blinding traumatic optic nerve damage
4. Skills training can improve responses to disclosures of trauma
5. Trauma Patients Seem More Likely to Survive on Weekends
6. Steroid May Help Cut Pneumonia Risk After Brain Trauma
7. Trauma patients protected from worse outcomes associated with so-called weekend effect
8. Self-administered light therapy may improve cognitive function after traumatic brain injury
9. Risk of Death May Linger for Trauma Survivors
10. OHSU physician explores method to reduce blood-clot risk in trauma patients
11. U. of Colorado study shows acupressure effective in helping to treat traumatic brain injury
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Abusive Head Trauma in Infants Doubled During Recession: Study
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... certified to offer their patients the many benefits of the revolutionary BIOLASE WaterLase ... sharp cutting and scraping tools traditionally used by a dentist in Gettysburg, ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... their Black Friday sale a week early, offering 40% off select bras and ... intimate apparel industry through both mobile fit technology and the latest fashion, quickly ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... Preparing for the LDT Regulation:, CLIA Won’t Satisfy the FDA, Dec. ... has long asserted that design and manufacture of Laboratory Developed Tests (LDTs) falls under ... the device regulations. , Come up short in an inspection and the FDA can ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... United Benefit Advisors (UBA), the ... Company as its newest Partner Firm. Based in Jefferson City, Missouri, their core ... advisor regardless of whether that client is a business, a family, or an ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LINCOLN, R.I. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... why Amica Insurance is sharing safety tips to help protect your family and vehicle. ... traffic crashes around the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Amica is sharing the following safety ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Trovagene, Inc. ... diagnostics, today announced that Chief Executive Officer Antonius Schuh, ... the 27 th Annual Piper Jaffray Healthcare Conference. ... at the New York Palace Hotel in ... at 1:30 p.m. EST. Mr. Schuh will be available ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015  Today AVACEN Medical announced the issue of ... Thermal Energy Including Blood Viscosity Adjustment ". This patent shields the company,s AVACEN 100 dry heat ... Treatment Method. Photo - ... ... ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 Allergan plc (NYSE: AGN ... Therapeutics, a start-up  biotechnology company focused on the ... and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative ... an exclusive collaboration to support the discovery and ... (ASD) and Obsessive Compulsive disorders (OCD). ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: