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Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

John D Gilbert, Roger W Byard
A 20-year-old previously well man drowned after performing a back-flip off a bridge into a river. At autopsy no significant injuries or organic illness were identified. An unusual incidental finding was a double chambered left ventricle, or so-called "heart within a heart", with the left ventricle subdivided into two separate chambers by a muscular septum. Awareness of this entity in forensic casework is important as this anomaly, despite its dramatic appearance, is not associated with anomalous conduction tracts or arrhythmogenic conditions, and so is usually a completely incidental finding at autopsy...
February 13, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Lucia Tattoli, Michael Tsokos, Claas Buschmann
Patterned bruising of the internal organs is unusual. In these cases a cutaneous pattern of bruising is not observed but the underlying tissue may show unusual injuries that may even be recognizable as a tramline pattern. We report the suicide of a 23-year-old man by jumping off a bridge. At autopsy, an unusual finding was "tramline" bruising of the right liver lobe. The "blunt objects" that inflicted the bruising were determined to be the right ribs which were pushed against the liver capsule as a consequence of the extensive thoracic and vertebral trauma after a fall from a height with intermediate impact...
February 13, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Stephan A Bolliger, Doris Tomasin, Jakob Heimer, Henning Richter, Michael J Thali, Dominic Gascho
Due to slowing or even inhibition of postmortem processes, freezing may make an estimation of the time-since-death very difficult. This is also true in previously frozen and subsequently thawed bodies. Knowledge of prior freezing is important, as it may lead to a different assessment of the time since death. Twelve pig heads were frozen at -20 °C, and 6 heads were either kept at room temperature (approximately 20 °C) or in a cooling cell (approximately 5 °C). The frozen brains and cadavers were thawed at either room temperature or in a cooling cell...
February 12, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Chiara Palazzo, Paolo Fais, Maria Carla Mazzotti, Rosa Maria Gaudio, Guido Pelletti, Susi Pelotti
The term "planned complex suicide" means the combination of more than one method of suicide, planned to prevent failure of the first method to ensure a fatal outcome. Professional skills and tools are sometimes used to plan and perpetrate the suicide. A case of planned complex suicide of a mechanical engineer working with furnaces in a tube factory is herein reported. The suicide was committed in a rudimental furnace set up in the victim's apartment using his professional skills, by assembling furniture, mattresses, books and flammable liquid present in the house...
February 8, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Dominic Gascho, Stephan A Bolliger, Markus Enders, Michael J Thali, Barbara Fliss
Suitcases or other containers are occasionally involved in forensic investigations. If there is a suspicion that human remains are hidden inside such a container, medico-legal examinations are required. However, these containers are occasionally locked. Forced opening of a locked suitcase or container may cause damage to its contents. Additionally, the safety of the investigator has to be considered as such containers may be booby-trapped or contain other hazardous material. An overview of the contents before opening is desirable in order to avoid the possibility of encountering a Pandora's box...
February 8, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Henri M de Bakker, Melanie Tijsterman, Bela Kubat, Vidija Soerdjbalie-Maikoe, Rick R van Rijn, Bernadette S de Bakker
The purpose of this study was to describe radiological fracture patterns of the acetabulum sustained after fatal small aircraft aviation accidents, aiming at facilitating a better understanding of trauma mechanisms in a forensic setting. Postmortem conventional radiographs or CT scans of 29 victims of 20 small aircraft aviation accidents were analyzed for skeletal acetabular trauma. Among the 29 fatalities (27 males and 2 females, median age 55 years (range: 21-76 years)), 20 victims had pelvic fractures (69%), of which 19 victims (66%) had one or more acetabular fractures...
February 5, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Milton J Micallef
Pulmonary thrombo-embolism (PTE) is a common cause of death but is frequently undetected by clinicians in spite of advanced diagnostic techniques. The autopsy has traditionally been used to identify the rate of PTE in hospital patients, but the decline in autopsy rates - especially in hospitals - has led to insufficient recent data from which to comment with confidence on the true rate of death from latent PTE. Widespread prophylactic anticoagulation regimens against venous thrombosis may induce complacency amongst clinicians...
February 5, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Vladimir Živković, Slobodan Nikolić
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 23, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Joo-Young Na, Ji Hye Park, Byung Ha Choi, Hyung-Seok Kim, Jong-Tae Park
An autopsy involves examination of a body using invasive methods such as dissection, and includes various tests using samples procured during dissection. During medicolegal autopsies, the blood carboxyhemoglobin concentration is commonly measured using the AVOXimeter® 4000 as a point-of-care test. When evaluating the body following hypovolemic shock, characteristics such as reduced livor mortis or an anemic appearance of the viscera can be identified, but these observations arequite subjective. Thus, a more objective test is required for the postmortem diagnosis of anemia...
January 22, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Corey Goodwin, Denice Higgins, Shanan S Tobe, Jeremy Austin, Andrew Wotherspoon, Michelle E Gahan, Dennis McNevin
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can provide a means for forensic identity testing when genotyping of nuclear DNA (nuDNA) targets is not possible due to degradation or lack of template. For degraded samples, an indication of the quantity and quality of mtDNA is essential to allow selection of appropriately sized targets for hypervariable region (HVR) analysis, which may conserve sample and resources. Three human-specific mtDNA targets of increasing length (86, 190 and 452 base pairs) were amplified by singleplex quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), capable of providing an index of mtDNA degradation from fragment length information...
January 20, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Victoria Bernhardt, Miklós Bálint, Marcel A Verhoff, Jens Amendt
In forensic entomology, many studies analyze fly activity and succession on dead bodies by using pig cadavers and a variety of small baited traps. Data on real human bodies are very rare. To address this shortcoming, we analyzed the fly fauna of 51 human bodies in Germany. Sex, age, place of discovery, and presumed time of death were noted. Larvae were sampled during autopsy according to body region or tissue. For every infested region, the total number of fly larvae were estimated and classified into categories of 1-10, 11-50, and 50+...
January 18, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Mieszko Olczak, Dominik Chutorański, Magdalena Kwiatkowska, Dorota Samojłowicz, Sylwia Tarka, Teresa Wierzba-Bobrowicz
Bystin (BYSL) is a 306-amino acid protein encoded in humans by the BYSL gene located on the 6p21.1 chromosome. It is conserved across a wide range of eukaryotes. BYSL was reported to be a sensitive marker for the reactive astrocytes induced by ischemia/reperfusion and chemical hypoxia in vitro and is considered to be one of the common characteristics of astrogliosis. In our study we examined whether BYSL could be used as a marker for hypoxic-ischemic changes in forensic cases. Groups suspected of acute hypoxic-ischemic changes presented strong BYSL expression in the cytoplasm of neocortical neurons especially in layers 3-5, that seemed to be short-lasting...
January 18, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Burkhard Madea
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
January 9, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Ingo von Both, Silvio Giancarlo Bruni, Jayantha C Herath
We report a case of a 39-year-old woman who died of fulminant pulmonary thromboembolism (PE). Autopsy showed classical findings of fulminant PE with occlusion of the bilateral main stem pulmonary arteries. Ancillary testing revealed inherited thrombophilia (Prothrombin 20,210 G > A and MTHFR 677 C > T mutation). Pre-autopsy postmortem computed tomography was used to test whether virtual imaging studies alone (virtual autopsy) would be sufficient to detect PE. Our studies show that computed tomography (CT) can differentiate antemortem clots from a postmortem clot in certain cases, particularly when combined with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which is superior in the assessment of soft tissue...
January 4, 2018: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Danica Cvetković, Vladimir Živković, Fehim Juković, Slobodan Nikolić
A case of double gunshot wounds to the heart is reported, where police investigations determined the manner of death to be suicide. In addition, the autopsy findings supported this conclusion. The localization, appearance, and mutual relations of the inflicted wounds, as well as the direction of the bullet trajectories, helped to determine the most probable sequence of events. The victim had been able to act after the first shot and inflict the second shot as the conduction system of the heart was at least partially preserved...
December 18, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Roger W Byard, Fiona Bright, Robert Vink
The prone (face down) sleeping position is known to be associated with a significantly increased risk of sudden and unexpected death in infancy (sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS), however, the reasons for this are unclear. Suggested mechanisms have involved suffocation from occlusion of the external airways by soft bedding/pillows or from flattening of the nose with backward displacement of the tongue, rebreathing of carbon dioxide, blunting of arousal responses with decreased cardiac responses to auditory stimulation, diaphragmatic splinting or fatigue, lowering of vasomotor tone with tachycardia, nasopharyngeal bacterial overgrowth, overheating, alteration of sleep patterns, compromise of cerebral blood flow and upper airway obstruction from distortion of nasal cartilages...
December 14, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Joo-Young Na
A case of massive calcification of the myocardium is presented that was diagnosed by postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) and confirmed by conventional autopsy. There are two types of pathologic calcification, dystrophic and metastatic. Massive calcification of the myocardium is associated with variable clinical outcomes, including sudden unexpected death. A 53-year-old man was found after he collapsed beside a walkway. He was transferred to hospital and died approximately two months later. To investigate the cause of death, PMCT and conventional autopsy were performed, which revealed massive calcification of the myocardium, a very rare finding at autopsy...
December 2, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Sarah Schaerli, Richard Schulz, Dominic Gascho, Markus Enders, Sandra Baumann, Michael J Thali, Stephan A Bolliger
We examined the possibility of inflicting serious injuries with sharp objects in an experimental setting by throwing four sharp objects from different distances and with different throwing techniques. Using an overarm-handle (OA/H), overarm-blade (OA/B), underarm-handle (UA/H), underarm-blade (UA/B) and thrust (T/H) throwing technique, 10 adults (sex ratio 1:1) threw a chef's knife, a skinning knife, a paring knife and office scissors from 4 m and 2 m distance at synthetic abdomen models made of 10% gelatin covered with synthetic skin...
December 2, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Roger W Byard, Hamish Maxwell-Stewart
Alexander Pearce was an Irish convict incarcerated on Sarah Island on the west coast of Van Diemen's Land (modern day Tasmania, Australia) in 1822, following his transportation to the colony from the United Kingdom for seven years in 1819. On two occasions he escaped from the island, in September 1822 and again in November 1823, and was only able to survive the harsh conditions by killing and consuming his fellow escapees. Given that Pearce utilized the only sustenance that was at hand (i.e. his five companions), and that there was a temporal separation between the two episodes, this may represent a separate category of anthropophagy, that of serial opportunistic cannibalism...
November 29, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
Jan Mario Breen, Paal Aksel Naess, Hallvard Gjerde, Christine Gaarder, Arne Stray-Pedersen
Driver fatalities in motor vehicle collisions (MVCs) encompass accidents, suicides, and natural deaths when driving. The objective of this study was to determine the significance of pathology and other autopsy findings for drivers in fatal MVCs. Forensic autopsy records of driver fatalities in southeast Norway between 2000 and 2014 were studied retrospectively. Data from individual police and collision investigation reports were also collected and analyzed. In 406 driver fatalities, the male/female ratio was 340/66; 9% died from natural causes, 9% were suicides, 65% were culpable accidental deaths, 14% were nonculpable deaths, and 3% were undetermined deaths...
November 28, 2017: Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology
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