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July 7, 1962


JAMA. 1962;181(1):42. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050270044010

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Substantial reduction in the incidence of infectious diseases and nutritional disturbances increasingly emphasizes the significance of accidental and intentional trauma in infancy and early childhood as the cause of severe disability and death. The paper by Kempe et al. (p. 17) in this issue of The Journal presents, for the first time, some numerical data which, although incomplete, illustrate the importance of the battered-child syndrome. It is likely that it will be found to be a more frequent cause of death than such well recognized and thoroughly studied diseases as leukemia, cystic fibrosis, and muscular dystrophy, and it may well rank with automobile accidents and the toxic and infectious encephalitides as causes of acquired disturbances of the central nervous system.

There are wide variations in the manifestations exhibited by the child who has been assaulted, from very minor skin changes to life-threatening damage to vital organs. However, certain findings, including

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