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To address the challenges of detecting bruises, Scafide and colleagues conducted a randomized control trial with 157 participants to test the effectiveness of an alternate light source at detecting bruises compared to commonly used white light. They also assessed the impact of skin color, age, gender, localized fat, and mode of injury on bruise detection. They found that using alternate light was five times better at detecting bruises on victims across a variety of skin tones than white light. Results of the study were published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences.
As domestic violence rates soar worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, we need innovative ways of capturing its effects on victims. Alternate light could be the tool towards addressing the disparity in detecting bruises across diverse populations.
Alternate light improves our ability to see bruises. We need to implement this technology into the care of adult patients who have experience physical trauma, but only after evidence-based guidelines are developed and evaluated." Dr. Katherine Scafide, forensic nursing expert, College of Health and Human Services at George Mason University
Scafide cautions that alternate light can detect bruises but should not yet be used to diagnose bruises because other skin lesions (e.g., scars, hyperpigmentation) may appear similar when viewed using this technology. Alternate light should only be interpreted in conjunction with a history of injury and other physical assessment findings.
Scafide will continue this work with a new grant from the National Institute of Justice that will allow her to develop and evaluate evidence-based guidelines for implementing alternate light in the clinical assessment of bruises. Source:
George Mason University Journal reference:
Scafide, K.N., et al. (2020) Detection of Inflicted Bruises by Alternate Light: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Forensic Sciences . doi.org/10.1111/1556-4029.14294 .
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