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UNC, Duke lead first statewide shaken baby prevention research project in US
Date:1/16/2008

CHAPEL HILL Child abuse prevention experts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Injury Prevention Research Center and School of Medicine and Duke University Medical Center will undertake a $7 million statewide shaken baby prevention project.

The project, the largest and most comprehensive in the country, is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Duke Endowment and is led by a broad coalition of stakeholders from the National Center for Shaken Baby Syndrome, University of British Columbia and state and county agencies, service providers and non-profit organizations.

State Sen. William Purcell and the North Carolina Child Fatality Task Force announced the project Jan. 15, 2008, in the legislative building in Raleigh. It is designed to reach the parents of every baby born each year in North Carolina with the goal of significantly reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries that occur when frustrated caregivers shake crying babies.

In a baseline survey of parents of children younger than 2 years old in North Carolina, we found that more than 2,000 of these children are shaken, to a greater or lesser extent, by a caregiver each year and that serious injuries result for some, said Dr. Desmond Runyan, a professor of social medicine and pediatrics at UNC and principal investigator for the project.

However, only about 40 of these children are admitted to a hospital intensive care unit. Of those, 10 die and the other 27 suffer serious long-term health problems such as mental retardation, blindness, or cerebral palsy as a result, Runyan said. A lot more children are shaken who are not hospitalized but may have mental retardation or learning disabilities later. This shows the need for, and potential benefits of, preventing shaking.

As a pediatrician and a long-standing member of the N.C. Child Fatality Task Force, I know how devastating sh
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Contact: Stephanie Crayton
scrayton@unch.unc.edu
919-966-2860
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Source:Eurekalert

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