A collaborative project between the University of Leicester and the University of Nottingham will revisit and consider new hypotheses for the causation of subdural hematomas (bleeding in the brain) in Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS).
Shaken Baby Syndrome is a controversial concept, and has caused problems in the court system. Many people are convicted on charges of SBS, but the medical evidence is still relatively controversial. The clinical concept is disputed, which can mean that people are wrongfully convicted.
New research led by the East Midlands Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester will consider new theories as to the cause of subdural hematomas in infants. Support for the research has been provided by the NPIA (National Police Improvement Agency), and the project is multi-disciplinary and collaborative.
The need for research in this area was raised at a meeting held at the Royal College of Pathologists in November 2009. The College considered that further research needed to be done to consider the causation of subdural hematomas. The University of Leicester was already in discussions with the University of Nottingham in relation to this area of research and was awarded support to undertake collaborative work in the field.
The Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester is the top unit in the UK and has been working on new theories about the causation of subdural hematomas. If the theory is proved to be correct, researchers say it would be ground-breaking and greatly change practice in hospitals and courts alike.
Professor Guy Rutty from the Forensic Pathology Unit at the University of Leicester said: "This is a contentious area of medico-legal practice at present. We hope that our research with contribute significantly to unravelling the pathological findings in these cases."
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