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Journal Article


Schiks LAH, Dankelman J, Loeve AJ. Forensic Sci. Int. 2019; 306: e110060.


Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Mechanical, Maritime and Materials Engineering, Department of BioMechanical Engineering, Mekelweg 2, 2628CD, Delft, the Netherlands; Co van Ledden-Hulsebosch Center for Forensic Science and Medicine, Science Park Building 904, 1098XH Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Electronic address:


(Copyright © 2019, Elsevier Publishing)






In order to investigate potential causal relations between the shaking of infants and injuries, biomechanical studies compare brain and skull dynamic behavior during shaking to injury thresholds. However, performing shaking tolerance research on infants, either in vivo or ex vivo, is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Therefore, infant injury thresholds are usually estimated by scaling or extrapolating adult or animal data obtained from crash tests or whiplash experiments. However, it is doubtful whether such data accurately matches the biomechanics of shaking in an infant. Hence some thresholds may be inappropriate to be used for the assessment of inflicted head injury by shaking trauma in infants. A systematic literature review was conducted to 1) provide an overview of existing thresholds for head- and neck injuries related to violent shaking, and 2) to identify and discuss which thresholds have been used or could be used for the assessment of inflicted head injury by shaking trauma in infants. Key findings: The majority of studies establishing or proposing injury thresholds were found to be based on loading cycle durations and loading cycle repetitions that did not resemble those occurring during shaking, or had experimental conditions that were insufficiently documented in order to evaluate the applicability of such thresholds. Injury thresholds that were applied in studies aimed at assessing whether an injury could occur under certain shaking conditions were all based on experiments that did not properly replicate the loading characteristics of shaking. Somewhat validated threshold scaling methods only exist for scaling concussive injury thresholds from adult primate to adult human. Scaling methods that have been used for scaling other injuries, or for scaling adult injury thresholds to infants were not validated. There is a clear and urgent need for new injury thresholds established by accurately replicating the loading characteristics of shaking.

Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Language: en


child abuse; forensic science; head injury; injury tolerance; shaking trauma


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