Tuesday, 18 December 2018 11:19

Watch the Stories Unfold

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is honored to share the personal stories of those affected by Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma. Please take a minute to watch these short video clips and learn from a few of the countless victims and their families that have been devastated by this preventable form of abuse.

 

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The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS) would like to congratulate our colleagues in British Columbia on having their research selected by the journal Child Abuse and Neglect as the 2018 article of the year. The article titled, Eight-year outcome of implementation of abusive head trauma prevention, is a hugely important contribution to the field of Shaken Baby Syndrome/Abusive Head Trauma (SBS/AHT) prevention and to the Period of PURPLE Crying program.

Anyone who has worked in the field of prevention can tell you just how challenging it is to move the needle. It is difficult to fully understand all aspects that contribute to something like child abuse. It requires diligence, persistence and a willingness to critically evaluate our efforts in order to make prevention effective. There is a saying that many of you have probably heard that guides those of us working in the field that goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The years of effort and work to evaluate the PURPLE program by our colleagues in British Columbia hardly fits the analogy of an “ounce” of prevention, however, this recognition, I think, illustrates just how important and impactful prevention can be if we remain committed.

I hope that you will join all of us at the National Center in congratulating the researchers, academics, prevention professionals, and donors who made this study possible for this most impressive recognition.

Ryan Steinbeigle
Executive Director
National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Read the Announcement Here

Published in Connect

The implementation of the Period of PURPLE Crying prevention program is linked to a thirty-five percent reduction in hospitalizations with injuries related to shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma (SBS/AHT) according to a new study published in Child Abuse and Neglect.

“We know that the most common reason a child is shaken is because a parent or caregiver becomes frustrated with their baby’s crying,” said Ms. Marilyn Barr, co-author of the study and founding director of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome (NCSBS). “This study shows that the Period of PURPLE Crying is improving how parents and caregivers cope with uncontrollable crying and is helping to prevent life-changing, life-threatening injuries in newborns.”

The Period of PURPLE Crying program approaches SBS/AHT prevention by educating parents about increased crying between 2 weeks of age and 4-5 months of age as part of their infant’s normal development and the dangers of shaking an infant when frustrated with crying. Parents receive the program materials (booklet and DVD or booklet and mobile app) in a maternity delivery setting, usually in hospitals, and take the materials home with them. The Period of PURPLE Crying is a program of the NCSBS headquartered in Farmington, Utah.

The study compared SBS/AHT hospitalization rates prior to the PURPLE program being implemented in British Columbia (BC), Canada to SBS/AHT hospitalization rates after the program was implemented in 2009. In the eight years following the program’s implementation and despite the great recession, which has been shown to be a contributor to increased SBS/AHT, the rate of SBS/AHT hospitalizations for children less than two years of age fell from 6.7 cases to 4.4 cases per 100,000, a 35 percent decrease. Similarly, SBS/AHT hospitalizations for children less than one year old fell from 10.6 cases to 7.1 cases per 100,000, a reduction of 33 percent.

“Our research found that the Period of PURPLE Crying is associated with a significant reduction in shaken baby syndrome cases in British Columbia,” said Dr. Ronald Barr, the study’s lead author. “Our next steps are to further evaluate the success of the program and continue to increase awareness of the risks of shaken baby syndrome in BC.”

The study also found that 27 percent of mothers reviewed the PURPLE program materials in the maternity hospital, and 71 percent of mothers reviewed the materials in the 2-4 months following the delivery. Fifty percent of fathers also reviewed the materials in the 2-4 months following delivery. This finding is particularly important in showing the PURPLE program’s use later when the infant’s normal increased crying and parents’ frustration with the crying likely transpired. The increase in viewing after delivery suggests that having the materials at home benefited parents when the increased crying occurred.

Previous research on the Period of PURPLE Crying program showed that the program increased parents’ understanding of normal infant crying and influenced positive behaviors related to crying such as taking a break when their infant’s crying becomes too frustrating and sharing information about crying with other caregivers.

“We have heard from countless parents and caregivers about how the information in the Period of PURPLE Crying has helped them understand their baby’s crying and feel less frustrated,” says Ryan Steinbeigle, NCSBS Executive Director. “This new study is further evidence that the program helps families and keeps babies safe.”

Read full article by clicking this button: Full Article

Published in Connect

Please note this December 5, 2019 decision from the Chief District Judge for the Federal District Court in New Mexico with a summary provided by Professor Joelle Moreno, Florida International University College of Law.

In this case, which involved a diagnosis of non-impact abusive head trauma to an eight-month old, the court ruled defense-proffered testimony from Dr. Joseph Scheller inadmissible.

According to the court, Dr. Scheller’s testimony did not meet Rule 702’s reliability requirement (a rule of evidence that exists in a similar form most states) for a variety of reasons.

First, Dr. Scheller’s opinion was not based on the same reliable data and methods used by the government expert, Dr. Carole Jenny. This conclusion is supported by two factual findings: (1) Dr. Scheller refused to consider the defendant’s statement that “he lost his temper and picked up the child ‘too rough’” when coming to his opinion that there “is no evidence that [the child] was a victim of abusive head trauma;” and (2)  Dr. Scheller referenced no scientific research in his expert report, whereas the prosecution experts referenced 26 scientific research articles. 

Second, Dr. Scheller’s testimony is not generally accepted by the scientific community and is not supported by the established scientific research on abusive head trauma. More specifically, Dr. Scheller’s opinion that rapid acceleration-deceleration could not cause such injuries is a view that is shared (by his own admission) by just five percent of the relevant medical professionals, which also puts him at odds with the expressed views of many medical associations representing related medical fields. Interestingly, the judge clearly stated that expressing an outlier opinion, contrary to the views of the relevant professional medical associations, would have alone been sufficient for exclusion.

Third, the court clearly rejected Dr. Scheller’s explanation that that the child’s injuries could have resulted from trauma at birth. According to the court, Dr. Scheller’s explanation cannot withstand scrutiny and is refuted by the established scientific research on abusive head trauma as reflected in the Consensus Statement on Abusive Head Trauma in Infants and Young Children, 48 PEDIATRIC RADIOLOGY 1048, 1056-57 (2018), which explains that “asymptomatic birth-related subdural hematomas . . . resolve in the overwhelming majority of infants within the first 4–6 postnatal weeks” and that “there is no merit to the unsubstantiated proposal that acute collapse, coma or death, occurring months after delivery, is caused by a parturitional [subdural hematoma] with secondary rebleeding.”

Finally, the court explained more generally that the  “courtroom is not the place for scientific guesswork” and that “[l]aw lags science; it does not lead it.”

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Published in Connect