A team of physicians and researchers has determined after a 6-year study that the process of retinal imaging can be successful in identifying abusive brain trauma in children. According to Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, this team of six doctors from Scotland’s University of Edinburgh’s Departments of Child Life and Health, Pediatric Ophthalmology and Medical Statistics has come to the conclusion that this specific type of testing is 93 percent successful in determining the difference between accidental or non-traumatic brain injuries in children.
Before conducting their study, the researchers were aware that retinal hemorrhages (eye bleeding) are a common trait in traumatic brain injuries among children, whether inflicted or accidental. These doctors used that knowledge as their hypothesis in questioning whether or not these hemorrhages could actually prove beneficial in determining the severity and significance of a TBI. Basically, the rationale was that the more eye bleeding that had been experienced by young children would dictate whether or not they received their injuries through abuse or accident.
Specifically, the cases of 114 children with a mean age of 47 months who had experienced head injuries and were admitted to and treated in hospitals were examined, and the children must have been examined with a RetCam (retinal imaging) within 24 hours of their injuries. The researchers ultimately determined that 93 percent of the children that had suffered more than 25 retinal hemorrhages were the victims of intentional or non-accidental TBI.
Essentially, the study suggests that this sort of testing could prove to be beneficial in legal cases that revolve around child abuse and brain injuries.