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Non Accidental Head Injury Cases (NAHI, formerly referred to as Shaken Baby Syndrome [SBS]) - Prosecution Approach

Published: 6 January 2011

Annex G: Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations

Accelerometer: A device that measures proper acceleration

Dura: The outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes covering the brain and the spinal cord

Encephalopathy: Damage to the brain affecting function.

Hypoxia: A pathological condition in which the body as a whole (generalised hypoxia) or a region of the body (tissue hypoxia) is deprived of adequate oxygen supply.

Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy: Damage to cells in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) from inadequate oxygen.

Intracranial: Within the cranium, the bony dome that houses and protects the brain.

Intradural: Part of the dura

National Injuries Database: The National Injuries Database is part of the NPIA Physical Evidence Section and is a national resource to support serious crime investigations for the analysis of weapons and wounds.

Neonatal: Newly or recently born baby

NPIA: National Policing Improvement Agency

Pathology Delivery Board: The Board responsible to the Home Secretary for all matters concerning the provision of forensic pathology services in England and Wales. The Board took over from its predecessor (Home Office Pathology Advisory Board) on 1 October 2005.

Perinatal: Pertaining to the period immediately before and after birth. The perinatal period is defined in diverse ways. Depending on the definition, it starts at the 20th to 28th week of gestation and ends 1 to 4 weeks after birth.

NAHI: Non accidental head injury

Sagittal plane: The longitudinal plane that divides the body into right and left sections.

SBS: Shaken Baby Syndrome

Shaken Baby Syndrome: The term used to describe the constellation of injuries resulting from violent shaking of an infant by an adult or adolescent.

SIDS: Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

Subdural: Beneath the dural membrane of the brain.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: Also known as cot death. It is the sudden unexpected death of an apparently well infant, for which there is no explanation.

Triad: The 'Triad' of intracranial injuries (retinal haemorrhages, subdural haemorrhages and encephalopathy), often found in victims of NAHI.

Unified Hypothesis: The hypothesis put forward by Geddes (2004), challenging the mainstream interpretation of the triad. It suggests that brain hypoxia, infection or raised intracranial pressure can cause not only encephalopathy, but also subdural haemorrhage and by implication retinal haemorrhage.

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