Shaking Up Our Approach: The Need for Characterization and Optimization of Pre-clinical Models of Infant Abusive Head Trauma

Sydney Harris, HR Chinnery, BD Semple, R Mychasiuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are a large societal and individual burden. In the first year of life, the vast majority of these injuries are the result of inflicted abusive events by a trusted caregiver. Abusive head trauma (AHT) in infants, formerly known as shaken baby syndrome, is the leading cause of inflicted mortality and morbidity in this population. In this review we address clinical diagnosis, symptoms, prognosis, and neuropathology of AHT, emphasizing the burden of repetitive AHT. Next, we consider existing animal models of AHT, and we evaluate key features of an ideal model, highlighting important developmental milestones in children most vulnerable to AHT. We draw on insights from other injury models, such as repetitive, mild TBIs (RmTBIs), post-traumatic epilepsy (PTE), hypoxic-ischemic injuries, and maternal neglect, to speculate on key knowledge gaps and underline important new opportunities in pre-clinical AHT research. Finally, potential treatment options to facilitate healthy development in children following an AHT are considered. Together, this review aims to drive the field toward optimized, well-characterized animal models of AHT, which will allow for greater insight into the underlying neuropathological and neurobehavioral consequences of AHT.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neurotrauma
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Apr 2024
Externally publishedYes

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