Radiologic and physical findings identify elder abuse

November 27, 2012

Radiologists in Toronto have begun to identify a pattern of injuries that may be indicative of elder abuse, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

According to lead researcher Kieran J. Murphy, M.D., F.R.C.P.C., F.S.I.R., interim radiologist-in-chief at University Health Network in Toronto, Canada, only 2 percent of physical elder abuse is reported by clinicians.

"Unlike cases of child abuse, there is very little information available on this subject," Dr. Murphy said. "It's a much neglected area."

To aid radiologists in identifying potential cases of elder abuse, Dr. Murphy conducted a literature review and searched databases for elder abuse cases to locate radiologic evidence of the types of injuries found in abuse victims over 60 years old.

An analysis of more than 1,100 cases revealed that the most frequent injuries among abused elderly were to the face; dental trauma; subdural hematoma, which is collection of blood in the space between the outer layer and middle layers of the covering of the brain; eye and larynx trauma; rib fractures and upper extremity injuries.

The analysis also revealed that elderly victims of abuse were most often in a home setting being cared for by non-professionals.

"In the cases we reviewed, the abused elderly were often socially isolated, depressed and unkempt," Dr. Murphy said. "The caregivers were not only financially dependent on the in their care, they were often dealing with their own substance abuse problem."

Compared to who were accidently injured, the abused elderly patients were more likely to have brain, head and neck injuries. Autopsy studies revealed that subdural were the cause of death in one-third of cases.

" need to be aware of the pattern of injuries frequently seen in the abused elderly," Dr. Murphy said. "More importantly, we need to integrate the physical and radiological findings with the social context of the patient to help identify those at risk."

Explore further: Elder abuse affects Latinos disproportionately

Related Stories

Elder abuse affects Latinos disproportionately

July 19, 2012
A sobering new study by researchers from the University of Southern California Davis School of Gerontology finds that elder abuse in low-income Latino communities goes largely unreported. More than 40 percent of Latino elders ...

Spinal bleeding with brain injury may suggest abuse in young children

November 8, 2011
A new study found that spinal bleeding is found often in young children who are victims of abusive trauma. The findings support performing complete spine imaging for children undergoing brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) ...

Serious child abuse injuries creep up, study shows

October 1, 2012
A new Yale School of Medicine study shows that cases of serious physical abuse in children, such as head injuries, burns, and fractures, increased slightly by about 5% in the last 12 years. This is in sharp contrast to data ...

Study finds primary health care providers fail to report substantial cases of child abuse

November 9, 2011
A team of researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC), report that primary care providers (PCP) fail to report a substantial number of cases of child maltreatment. The study, ...

Recommended for you

Sugar not so sweet for mental health

July 27, 2017
Sugar may be bad not only for your teeth and your waistline, but also your mental health, claimed a study Thursday that was met with scepticism by other experts.

Could insufficient sleep be adding centimeters to your waistline?

July 27, 2017
Adults in the UK who have poor sleep patterns are more likely to be overweight and obese and have poorer metabolic health, according to a new study.

Vitamin E-deficient embryos are cognitively impaired even after diet improves

July 27, 2017
Zebrafish deficient in vitamin E produce offspring beset by behavioral impairment and metabolic problems, new research at Oregon State University shows.

The role of dosage in assessing risk of hormone therapy for menopause

July 27, 2017
When it comes to assessing the risk of estrogen therapy for menopause, how the therapy is delivered—taking a pill versus wearing a patch on one's skin—doesn't affect risk or benefit, researchers at UCLA and elsewhere ...

Blowing smoke? E-cigarettes might help smokers quit

July 26, 2017
People who used e-cigarettes were more likely to kick the habit than those who didn't, a new study found.

Brain disease seen in most football players in large report

July 25, 2017
Research on 202 former football players found evidence of a brain disease linked to repeated head blows in nearly all of them, from athletes in the National Football League, college and even high school.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.