Major review finds ‘insufficient evidence’ in science behind shaken baby syndrome

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   A major review of shaken baby syndrome has called into question the science that links the three symptoms to deliberate harming. The study, conducted by an independent Swedish agency that assesses healthcare interventions, has found ‘insufficient scientific evidence’ to assess the accuracy of the so-called ‘triad’ of symptoms – that is, brain swelling, intracranial bleeding, and bleeding in the retina – in identifying traumatic shaking; and that there was ‘limited scientific evidence’ that the ‘triad and therefore its com­ponents’ could be associated with such shaking. You can read the report here. Despite long-standing concerns about the validity of the science behind the shaken baby syndrome, it has become increasingly difficult for paediatric experts to challenge a diagnosis in courts. Last month, the Justice Gap reported on how British defendants were struggling to find medical experts in the UK prepared to testify …

DNA Evidence Under The Microscope

This piece was originally published by The Justice Gap.   At the first mention of ‘DNA evidence,’ our minds can be forgiven for wandering to starched white lab coats and the tortoise-shell glasses of television detectives. A report released today by researchers from the European Forensic Genetics Network of Excellence (EUROFORGEN) wants to challenge that. ‘Making Sense of Forensic Genetics’, written in partnership with the charity Sense about Science, aims to clarify the limitations of what DNA can and can’t tell us in criminal investigations. ‘Such is the power of DNA to identify, convict, and exonerate,’ the report argues, ‘that many perceive it to be infallible.’ While forensic evidence has given prosecutors and detectives a vital tool in their investigations and in court, the researchers argue that we should acknowledge that the science is not fool proof and can rarely stand up alone. ‘The DNA evidence won’t give a “yes” or …

Who’s Afraid of Milo Yiannopoulos?

“I made a decision that has nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with human rights and decency,” argued Adam Morgan’s article in The Guardian last week. The editor-in-chief of The Chicago Review of Books was justifying his magazine’s decision to boycott publisher Simon & Schuster in 2017. Why? For publishing a book whose author he finds repulsive. Stranger things have happened in the past year than the call to boycott a publisher in the name of liberalism, but not many. Morgan’s words do not sound brave. Instead, they demonstrate some of the most basic forms of repression, cowardice and fearfulness. Books become dangerous only when we show our own closed-mindedness to open debate. A hard-hitting review of Yiannopoulos’s book would have done far more to dismiss his slander and his lies. The Chicago Review should spend its time criticising ideas themselves, and not their free expression. …