Child abuse

The project "On securing the diagnosis of abusive head trauma in children; a national, multicentre crossectional study" is founded on collaborative work between UNN/UiT, HUS, SUS and AHus. The project is funded by HelseNord 2021 (PhD grant, Dr Maria Olsen Fossmark). 

The current project aims to increase our knowledge on abusive head trauma in children. Albeit rare, abusive head trauma is an important health issue with serious implications for the child, the carers and for the society. Currently, there is an ongoing debate as to whether shaking alone can cause subdural and retinal haemorrhages and encephalopathy, known as the “triad”, whether or not healthy new-borns have subdural hematomas and whether or not children with increasing head circumference and wide subarachnoid spaces have an increased risk of subdural hematomas. The results of this project will shed some light on these questions, and thus have great impact on clinical – and juridical practice in cases of suspected child abuse.

The current project is an interdisciplinary collaboration between three health regions, and is founded on longstanding collaborative work between the University Hospital North Norway (UNN) / UiT the Actic University of Norway, Haukeland University Hospital (HUS) / University of Bergen (UiB) and Stavanger University Hospital (SUS). The current subproject is led by Professor Karen Rosendahl, MD, PhD, consultant paediatric radiologist at UNN/UiT. Prof Rosendahl has a long track record in paediatric imaging and epidemiological research, and currently chairs the Medical Imaging Research group at UiT ( Until recently, she chaired the European Society of Paediatric Radiology Task Force on musculo-skeletal imaging and the European Institute of Bio-Imaging Research (EIBIR), Paediatric initiative ( She has published extensively on abuse-related topics in children.

Professor Stein Magnus Aukland, consultant paediatric radiologist (Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen / University of Bergen), Dr. Gry Behzadi, MD, consultant neuroradiologist (Stavanger University Hospital, Stavanger) and Drs. Josephine Bomer-Skogstad / Anke Neukamm (Akershus University Hospital, Oslo) will be local PI’s in Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger and Oslo, respectively. Drs. Nils Thomas Songstad, PhD and Lene Trulsen Nymo, neonatologists at UNN, together with Dr. Siren Rettedal, Dr. Hannah Bakøy / Mariann Bentsen and Dr Moritz Schneider will be responsible for the recruitment of cases for the study on Children with increasing head circumference (cohort 3) at UNN, SUS, HUS and Ahus, respectively.

The project group also includes John Are Jonassen from Stine Sofies Stiftelse, a leading, non-profit foundation established in 2000, addressing a variety of abuse issues ( The study organization has a steering group that will meet on a regular basis, including Stray Pedersen, Rognum, Rosendahl, Aukland and Jonassen. Communication platforms will vary between in-person meetings, video conferences and e-mailing.  

The PhD candidate, Dr Maria Olsen Fossmark, MD, is radiologist in training at the Radiology department, UNN (serving a population of around 0.5 mill in North Norway). She will perform the MRIs and ultrasound examinations at UNN, and will be responsible for the study database, perform the analyses and draft the three papers supervised by her mentors in collaboration with experts from the rest of the project group. Dr. Fossmark was awarded the «Young Investigator’s award’ for her presentation pf preliminary results at the ESPR (European Society of Pediatric Radiology) annual congress in Marseille, June 2022. 

Collaborating partner: We have liaised with Professor Maria Argyropoulou at the University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece. Prof. Argyropoulou leads the ESPR task force group in paediatric neuro-radiology, representing the European “frontier” of imaging in NAI. She has published extensively on paediatric neuro-imaging, and will take active part in discussions / provide scientific advice.