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What Killed Leah Miller

Abuse or Natural Causes?



Author:

Sheri L. Boyce
Department of Biological Sciences
Messiah College
sboyce@messiah.edu

Abstract:

An Amish infant suddenly dies and law enforcement officials suspect the parents of child abuse. But experts who advocate for the parents argue that an underlying genetic disorder common among the Amish may have resulted in the baby’s death. Students assume the role of a police detective and answer questions regarding blood clotting and shaken baby syndrome. They then piece together their information and decide if the evidence is in favor of the parents or the police. The case was written for a two-semester anatomy and physiology course, but is also appropriate for undergraduate physiology and human biology courses.

Objectives:
  • Describe the typical symptoms of shaken baby syndrome (abusive head trauma).
  • Associate the signs and symptoms of shaking with anatomy and physiology of the brain.
  • Describe the three basic steps of hemostasis.
  • Explain why vitamin K and normal liver function are essential to the clotting process.
Keywords: Shaken baby syndrome; head trauma; brain injury; hemostasis; coagulation; blood clotting; subdural hematoma; vitamin K; liver function; Amish
Topical Area: N/A
Educational Level: High school, Undergraduate lower division
Formats: PDF
Type/Method: Discussion, Role-Play
Language: English
Subject Headings: Physiology   Anatomy   Biology (General)  
Date Posted: 03/19/10
Date Modified: N/A
Copyright: Copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

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