AANS: Non-Accidental Head Traumas Up in Recession

Non-accidental head traumas in infants doubled from non-recession to recession periods

WEDNESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Non-accidental head trauma (NAHT) in infants appears to be more common during periods of recession as compared with non-recession time periods, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, held April 9 to 13 in Denver.

Mary I. Huang, of the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland, and colleagues evaluated a trauma database at their institution for NAHT incidents in infants aged 0 to 2 years during a period of non-recession (December 2001 to November 2007) and during a period of recession (December 2007 to June 2010). Of the 639 infants admitted for traumatic injuries, 93 were NAHT cases.

The investigators found that NAHT incidence increased from 50 cases per 72 months during the period of non-recession to 43 cases per 31 months during a recession period (0.69 versus 1.39 per month). Compared to the non-recession period, the proportion of months in which at least one infant was admitted for NAHT was greater during the recession period (68 versus 44 percent). In addition, compared to infants admitted during the non-recession period, there was a trend for infants admitted for evaluation of NAHT during the recession period to have more severe head injuries (P = 0.06).

"Financial stresses such as unemployment, foreclosure, and difficulties finding adequate child care are likely exacerbated during a recession. We found an increase in the number of infants who were evaluated for abusive head trauma at our institution during the recent recession, compared to the prior non-recession period. The complex social issues that led to this trauma are beyond the scope of our research, but certainly warrant further study," Huang said in a statement.

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