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Eye (Lond). 2008 May;22(5):715-7. doi: 10.1038/eye.2008.6. Epub 2008 Feb 8.

Natural animal shaking: a model for non-accidental head injury in children?

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Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontaria, Canada.



Non-accidental head injury (NAHI) is a form of child abuse where a perpetrator may violently subject an infant to repeated acceleration-deceleration forces with or without head impact, producing injuries including retinal haemorrhages in most cases. Animal models have included laboratory shaking of mice and rats, but only a small fraction develop retinal haemorrhages presumably due to the small eyes, which would require unattainable force levels to mimic that sustained by the infant eye. Animal models are also problematic due to ethical issues raised by subjecting even anaesthetized animals to abusive injury.


We investigated a naturally occurring event, where three animal victims were shaken by a canine. The eyes were harvested and examined histologically.


The victims' eyes showed no haemorrhage or retinoschisis.


Our model may not be a complete NAHI mimic. The discrepancies may ensue from anatomical and mechanical differences in the injury mechanism. Other models must be sought to further study this form of abusive eye injury.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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