Journal article

'Munchausen's syndrome by proxy' or a 'miscarriage of justice'? An initial application of functional neuroimaging to the question of guilt versus innocence

Sean A Spence, Catherine J Kaylor-Hughes, Martin L Brook, Sudheer T Lankappa, Iain D Wilkinson

EUROPEAN PSYCHIATRY | ELSEVIER FRANCE-EDITIONS SCIENTIFIQUES MEDICALES ELSEVIER | Published : 2008

Abstract

'Munchausen's syndrome by proxy' characteristically describes women alleged to have fabricated or induced illnesses in children under their care, purportedly to attract attention. Where conclusive evidence exists the condition's aetiology remains speculative, where such evidence is lacking diagnosis hinges upon denial of wrong-doing (conduct also compatible with innocence). How might investigators obtain objective evidence of guilt or innocence? Here, we examine the case of a woman convicted of poisoning a child. She served a prison sentence but continues to profess her innocence. Using a modified fMRI protocol (previously published in 2001) we scanned the subject while she affirmed her acco..

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University of Melbourne Researchers