Bone Density & Shaken Baby Syndrome, Part 2 by Catherine J. Frompovich

In Part 1, Bone Density Test Can Disprove Shaken Baby Syndrome, published February 5, 2012, on IMCV, I expressed a desire to discuss further my views about absolutely enlightening comments Matthew B. Seeley, JD, made in his remarkable paper “Unexplained Fractures in Infants and Child Abuse: The Case for Requiring Bone-Density Testing Before Convicting Caretakers,” published in the Brigham Young University Law Review December 20, 2011.

Part 1 of this two-part series explains SBS, so I won’t go into that again. What I want to concentrate on in Part 2 is some of the mechanics involved in dealing with SBS from a consumer healthcare researcher/advocate’s viewpoint.

As Professor Seeley points out, approximately 900,000 cases of child mistreatment were confirmed by child protective services in the United States during 2003. The question that I have regarding that statistic is this: Were they bona fide cases of child abuse and not some misapplications of a medical-legal misunderstanding of the Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS) wherein innocent parents or caretakers may have become ‘victims’ of the legal system.

In 1974 Congress passed the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, which in my opinion has relied solely upon theory and opinions proffered in the medical literature and which may have been misleading for many years about what can happen to an infant in utero and even during childbirth. I talked about that in Part 1.

What I’m discussing is the problem of SBS and/or child abuse when there is no physical trauma presenting on the child’s body and how to determine both medically and legally if SBS truly is the appropriate legal nomenclature and prosecution. Here’s where it becomes involved, since many infants suffer subdural hemorrhages, retinal hemorrhages, and brain swelling that can be associated with other factors and not SBS or child abuse, such as adverse reactions to vaccines, especially multivalent vaccines.

Having said that, I think it ought to be incumbent upon the medical profession to retract articles published in the 1972 American Journal of Diseases of Children and the 1974 Pediatrics as misleading in the diagnosis of SBS and, instead, cite Dr. Seeley’s December 2011 paper as a comprehensive update.

My reason for claiming that is what my collaborator Harold E. Buttram, MD, has been telling the courts and publishing in his papers, and which Seeley confirms:

Problems continued to trickle out over the next two decades. Conditions such as vitamin K deficiency, glutaric aciduria, Terson’s Syndrome, hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, benign enlargement of the subarachnoid spaces, idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, hemophilia, Von Willebrand’s Disease, infective endocarditis, Apnea, Bradycardia, and even the performance of CPR were all shown to cause spontaneous intracranial hemorrhaging in infants. [1]

In view of the above, Seeley points out that, unfortunately, “many of the shaken-baby researchers committed the logical flaw of affirming the consequent: they assumed that if retinal and subdural hemorrhages were always seen in shaken-baby cases, then the presence of retinal and subdural hemorrhages proved that a baby had been shaken.”

Here’s where I must digress for a moment and try to explain an “on point” issue that ought to be debunked, and similarly can be applied to the problem of vaccine adverse reactions that can and do cause brain damage often considered SBS. To Seeley’s open-minded credit, he points out “In other words, the existence of shaken-baby syndrome was based on research that was not scientifically strong enough to justify its long-accepted status in the medical community.” That exact allegation can—and should—be made against vaccines but, unfortunately, due to Big Pharma’s financial influences over members of Congress and the U.S. FDA, is not, sad to say.

Seeley points out that several states are enacting laws to forestall erroneous accusations of child abuse. They include Colorado, West Virginia, Kentucky and New Mexico that now require that infants be tested for glutaric aciduria, one of the conditions stated above that are now known to cause the ‘shaken-baby triad’.

One of the most gratifying quotes I’ve ever heard attributed to a medical doctor is the one Seeley says Dr. C. Henry Kempe made, “the bones tell a story the child is too young or too frightened to tell.”

In his outstanding and thorough research, Dr. Seeley found some shaken-baby researchers, e.g., Dr. D.L. Griffiths, “did not consider the possibility that the similarity of the x-ray findings in his study to x-rays of fractures attributed to scurvy in textbooks might indicate that some of the children in his study might have had undetected scurvy—even though fractures can be the first symptoms of scurvy that appear.” Again, I’d like to point out parallels that seem to be surfacing regarding vaccine adverse reactions not being recognized.

Key in both Dr. Sweeney’s fantastic paper and my articles is that there is a definite correlation between premature birth and Osteopenia of Prematurity (OP), a common problem that affects premature infants and, I say, must be considered in any case of SBS or child abuse when no physical trauma presents on the body. OP also is known as “metabolic bone disease of prematurity” or “rickets of prematurity.”

Back in 1994 Lingam and Joester published their paper “Spontaneous Fractures in Children and Adolescents with Cerebral Palsy” in the British Medical Journal (265, 1994) wherein they stated, “all infants born at [less than thirty-two] weeks gestation have some degree of hypomineralization during and subsequent to the prolonged period of hospitalization” associated with premature birth, as Seeley wisely points out.

In reading Seeley’s paper, I annotated this remark that Seeley attributes to Frank R. Greer from an article published in 1994, which I feel parents should be taught in prenatal classes everywhere:

“Osteopenic [infants] are susceptible to fractures
with normal handling during routine care.”

Again, I must reiterate the statement I made in Part 1 that Vitamin D assays of premature birth babies should be mandatory at birth to ascertain the condition of infants’ bones, as X-rays only show bone demineralization at 40 percent bone loss.

Something that probably is overlooked in pediatric care is the role of liver dysfunction and bone fragility, which Seeley also points out. Bravo, I say. With today’s chemicalized food world, gestational mothers-to-be may be unloading toxins into the fetus because her liver is not detoxifying correctly. When I was in private practice as a consulting natural nutritionist, I always advised my clients to go on a detox program six months before even considering getting pregnant; both husband and wife should detox. As a matter of fact I wrote the book, Feeding Baby Naturally From Pregnancy On… in the early 1980s.

I was not surprised to read Dr. Seeley’s pointing out the role of liver dysfunction and its effects on Vitamin D and Vitamin K absorption that directly impact bone health in the pregnant mother, the fetus, and the post-partum infant. Rickets also is attributed to Vitamin D deficiency and many pregnant females are deficient as a result of both today’s lifestyles—less outdoor sun activities and the use of sunscreens that inhibit proper interaction with cholesterol under the skin for Vitamin D production—and abhorrently deficient diets that are based in processed, fast food, sugar- and rancid fat-laden edibles.

Scurvy also can play a role in SBS misdiagnosis since Vitamin C is needed for collagen formation and bone health. That’s why I think a post-partum mother of a premature birth infant also should have a multiple vitamin blood panel performed so as to get a ‘heads up’ status on what could possibly be medically/physically/nutritionally wrong with her premature infant.

To my way of thinking, this type of blood test ought to be mandated for premies even before they are given any vaccinations, which could exacerbate any underlying illness. Please check out the Pourcyrous et al study, “Primary Immunization of Premature Infants with Gestational Age <35 Weeks: Cardiorespiratory Complications and C-Reactive Protein Responses Associated with Administration of Single and Multiple Separate Vaccines Simultaneously” at

In addition to what I put forth above, Harold E. Buttram, MD, board certified in Environmental Medicine, emailed these tests that ought to be administered when trying to prove/disprove SBS.

Diagnostic tests for brain hemorrhages (with or without retinal hemorrhages) and extensive bruising would include the following blood tests and procedures:

Complete blood count with platelets.
Blood chemistries and liver function tests.
Prothrombintime (PT) and Thromboplastin time (PTT) (Routine screening tests for hemorrhagic disorders).
PIVKA blood test (Proteins in vitamin K absence), screening test for late-form hemorrhagic disease of the newborn due to vitamin K deficiency.
Plasma ascorbate, a test for vitamin C.
If any of the above tests are abnormal, a hematologic consultation should be sought.

For fractures:
Bone densitometry test (the most reliable diagnostic test for metabolic bone disease).
Serum calcium and phosphorus.
Alkaline phosphatase blood test.
Parathyroid Hormone blood test. (PTH)
25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test

As Dr. Seeley points out in his paper, “…the crime of child abuse must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.” I agree wholeheartedly and, hopefully, both Dr. Seeley’s and my papers will bring some badly needed introspection to a growing problem for everyone involved in Shaken Baby Syndrome.

[1] accessed 1/24/12

Word Count: 1528