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Over the past three years 15 children have been admitted
to the paediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Addenbrooke's hospital suspected of having non-accidental injuries; presentation was diverse
and often mild and out of proportion to the degree of morbidity seen at
discharge and follow up. When compared with a group of similar aged
children admitted to the PICU with severe head injury caused by
accidental impact trauma, the differences in morbidity were profound.
It is suggested that these differences are explained in part by the
predominant repetitive rotational forces experienced during severe
shaking compared with the translocational forces that the head
experiences during impact injuries. This anecdotal evidence supports
the theory that shaking alone may cause severe intracranial injury.
Thus campaigns should continue to increase public and doctors'
awareness that shaking may be dangerous.