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Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.622
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 414  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1752-928X
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3181 journals]
  • Biochemical findings in sudden unexpected death in epilepsy: Hospital
           based case-control study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 November 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Shyam Kishore, Sudhir Kumar Gupta, Sudheer Kumar Arava, Asit Ranjan Mridha, Ashok Kumar Jaiswal, Asit Kumar Sikary, Deepak Ramkumar Bharti, Chittaranjan Behera PurposeA review study on the biochemistry of epilepsy showed that in epileptic patients, serum glucose and cholesterol concentrations are low, sodium is unaffected, potassium increases, glucose is high and mild hypocalcemia. We have conducted a biochemical study on sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP) cases in an attempt to establish the characteristic biochemical values to diagnose these deaths.MethodsThis was a hospital based case-control study done at the center of one year. Twenty SUDEP cases and 20 age- and sex-matched controls were included in the study. Femoral blood, cerebrospinal fluid, vitreous humor, and pericardial fluid were biochemically analyzed for sodium, potassium, calcium, glucose, N-acetyl- cysteine activated creatine kinase (CK-NAC) and isoenzyme CK-MB.ResultSerum sodium, CK-MB and CK-NAC level was found significantly increased and potassium level was found decreased in SUDEP cases in comparison to non-epileptic deaths. Likewise, in CSF, sodium and CK-NAC was found increased and potassium level was found decreased in SUDEP cases. In vitreous humor, sodium and CK-MB level was found increased and potassium level was found decreased in SUDEP cases in comparison to non-epileptic deaths. In pericardial fluid, sodium, CK-NAC and CK-MB level was found increased and potassium level was found decreased in SUDEP cases in comparison to non-epileptic deaths.ConclusionIt concludes that high sodium level and low potassium level could be associated with SUDEP. However, this is a small size study, a larger study is needed to verify the findings. Furthermore, it is difficult to conclude whether these findings are exclusive to SUDEP.
  • Indicatory external findings in two cases of fatal cervical spine injury
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 October 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Clara-Sophie Schwarz, Katrin Uebbing, Tanja Germerott, Astrid Krauskopf A fatality of an 83-year-old female experiencing acute circulatory failure as a result of a type II odontoid fracture is compared with the case of an 86-year-old female who died from delayed cardiopulmonary complications due to a lower cervical spine injury. Falls on the forehead from minor height can cause odontoid fractures especially in elderly patients, hyperextension of the neck on the other hand can lead to lower cervical spine injury with prevertebral hematoma. The latter can lead to extensive hematoma of the neck, but might be difficult to diagnose by computed tomography in the living patient. Especially in cases of elderly patients showing bruises on the forehead or extensive neck hematoma, the possibility of cervical spine fracture should be taken into account and postmortem examinations should be arranged commensurately.
  • Death certification in England must evolve (Considering current
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 24 October 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Pablo MILLARES MARTINABSTRACTThe death certificate form used in England and Wales is analysed, compared to other available forms in top ranking economies, to determine its fitness for purpose. There are several restrictions linked to its use and also many limitations. Areas where it can evolve and where improvement can be achieved are suggested.
  • Isolation and culture of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal/stem
           cells harvested from postmortem adipose tissues
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 16 October 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Takashi Saito, Takako Sato, Koichi Suzuki Many cell types maintain their function short-term after death. Stem cells isolated from postmortem tissues have been successfully applied in transplantation studies. However, stem cell viability and stemness are reported to decline with increased time after death. Although postmortem stem cells may be useful for regenerative therapy and forensic diagnostics, their characteristic remain to be better understood. Adipose-derived mesenchymal stromal/stem cells (ASCs) have the capacity to differentiate through several cell lineages and are able to survive in an ischemic environment for a prolonged time. This study aimed to confirm whether human postmortem ASCs can be collected and culture-expanded from cadavers. Axilla subcutaneous adipose tissues were harvested during forensic autopsy and enzymatically digested to obtain a heterogeneous cell mixture, including the ASCs population. The mixture was seeded onto collagen-coated cell culture dishes and spindle-shaped adhesive and proliferative ASCs were confirmed. Senescent cells were also present, visualized as large and flattened cells. When maintained in a cool environment, ASCs were able to survive in the postmortem tissues for up to 7 days after death. We conclude that postmortem ASCs can be readily isolated and culture-expanded from adipose tissues.Graphical abstractImage 1
  • Risks and benefits of transnational exchange of forensic DNA data in the
           EU: The views of professionals operating the Prüm system
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 October 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Helena Machado, Rafaela Granja Under EU Law, Member States are compelled to engage in reciprocal automated forensic DNA profile exchange within the so-called Prüm system. Presently, 24 operational EU Member States exchange DNA data within the Prüm system to combat terrorism and cross-border crime. This article discusses the perceived risks and benefits of the Prüm system on the basis of a set of 37 interviews conducted in 22 EU countries, with 47 professionals operating the system (the National Contact Points – NCPs).The perceived benefits relate to the intensification of tools for combating transnational criminality; development of standardisation and harmonisation of forensic DNA testing procedures; and reinforcement of professional cooperation. The perceived risks are associated to the possibility that individuals may be prosecuted on the basis of false positives; the lack of available data to measure the effectiveness of the Prüm system; and the different modus operandi of police forces and judicial authorities. Our results reveal that perspectives on the risks and benefits of the Prüm system significantly vary according to the type of work performed by the NCPs. Our data shows a more complex range of perceived benefits and risks than those suggested in previous studies about the Prüm system.
  • Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids (AAS) Users on AAS Use: Negative Effects,
           ‘Code of Silence’, and Implications for Forensic and Medical
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 September 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Andrew Richardson, Georgios A. Antonopoulos Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) are image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) that can improve endurance and athletic performance, reduce body fat and stimulate muscle growth. The use of steroids has been studied in the medical and psychological literature, in the sociology of sport, health and masculinity, and relatively recently in criminology. Whilst there is significant medical and psychological evidence on the short term and longer side effects of AAS, there is surprisingly very little evidence based on the users’ perception of the negative aspects of AAS use. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in a locale in the Northeast of England and additional interviews with 24 AAS users, the article offers an account of the negatives aspects of AAS as put forwards by users (acne, abscess, and mood alterations), and highlights the ‘code of silence’ that exists around AAS use. This ‘code’ makes AAS users a ‘hard-to-reach’ group for medical professionals. By listening to the participants’ perspectives, forensic and medical professionals can be better informed towards monitoring and reducing harms from AAS.
  • Inmates beheaded in a Brazil prison riot: human identification by ear
           individual signs
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 September 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Gilberto Paiva de Carvalho, Yasmin Comoti Vita Bantim Deaths that occur in prisons riots can be by extreme violence. When unrecognizable corpses are referred for examination, the process of human identification is hampered. The aim of this study is to present applicability in human identification by ear individual signs in an inmate beheaded in Brazil prison riot. Ten prisoners died in the rebellion being discussed. Seven corpses had been burned, and three of them were beheaded. For the examination, only two heads were presented. Three families were consulted. They informed that suspect 1 had a "front tooth failure" in the anterior maxilla and no dental records, while a second family brought a panoramic radiograph (suspect 2) and the last family (suspect 3) sent one photograph. Suspects 2 and 3 were considered incompatible. Information about suspect 1, such as "front tooth failure" in the anterior maxilla and anthropological facial aspects, provided compatibles clues. The absence of dental documentation stimulated the search for other characteristics conserved in the head under study. The left ear presented good conservation for a comparative method. Morphological ear variations enabled identification to be achieved for an inmate beheaded in a prison riot, demonstrating the method´s applicability and reliability. The certainty of the death of a relative allows the normal grief process to start, decreasing psychological morbidity. Mixed feelings between hope and despair are reduced. Therefore, this is a high priority for forensic experts in these cases.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Roger W. Byard
  • Common errors in writing the cause of death certificate in the Middle East
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Mohammed Madadin, Aishah S. Alhuman, Naimah A. Bushulaybi, Assayl R. Alotaibi, Hala A. Aldakhil, Arwa Y. Alghamdi, Norah K. Al-Abdulwahab, Shahad Y. Assiri, Nesreen A. Alumair, Fai A. Almulhim, Ritesh G. Menezes A death certificate is an official document in which the medical practitioner primarily records the cause of death sequence, the time interval between the onset of the cause of death and death, and personal details of the deceased. Errors in death certificate documentation are not uncommon. We aim to review the common errors in writing the cause of death certificate in the Middle East. For this review, we searched the PubMed database using a comprehensive search strategy to identify studies from the Middle East that reported errors in the cause of death certification from inception to August 17, 2019. Of the 308 items initially identified, 5 were eligible for inclusion. These studies were reported from only a few countries (Saudi Arabia, Iran, Lebanon and Palestine) in the Middle East and did not represent all the countries geographically located in the Middle East. The Middle East is not immune to errors in the medical certification of the cause of death. Absence of cause of death, inappropriate listing and sequencing of the causes of death, mentioning the mechanism or mode of death instead of the cause of death, absence of time interval between the onset of the cause of death and death, use of abbreviations and symbols instead of formal medical terminology, and absence of the certifying medical practitioner’s signature were the commonly death certification errors observed in this regional literature review. Additional studies to assess death certification errors in all the Middle East countries are needed. Efforts should be made to compulsorily include the teaching and learning of cause of death certification in the undergraduate medical curriculum. Interactive workshops on drafting the cause of death certificate should be periodically conducted for the benefit of the interns and residents.
  • Understanding diversity and distribution of the insect assemblages
           associated with carrions
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 29 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Yuno Do, Seung Yeon Lee, Ki Wha Chung, Tae-Young Moon 375 case studies from 120 publications published over the last three decades on forensic entomology were reviewed to determine how many carcass-associated insects have been described globally and which species are relatively important among carcass-associated insects. A total of 1213 carcass-associated insects belonging to 91 families of 10 orders were described from 375 case studies in nine habitat types of 30 countries with 24 subjects including humans and non-human animals. There were 564 and 515 species from the orders Diptera and Coleoptera, respectively, which was almost 90% of the total species recorded. The richness and distribution of dead body-associated insects considerably differed among countries, habitats, and dead body types. We propose some species based on criteria including distribution, occurrence frequency, and resource preference.
  • Mental health pathways from a sexual assault centre: A review of the
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): C. Brooker, E. Hughes, B. Lloyd-Evans, T. Stefanidou
  • Does Organ Donation Impact on Forensic Outcomes' A Review of Coronial
           Outcomes and Criminal Trial Proceedings
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Leo Nunnink, Nigel Stobbs, Chelsea Wallace-Dixon, Belinda Carpenter Despite increases in organ donation rates, there continue to be waiting lists for patients in urgent need of transplantation. Where a death occurs under a number of specific circumstances, donation can only proceed where a coroner consents to donation. In deaths that are reportable under the Coroners Act, concerns about compromising autopsy evidence can be barriers to gaining coronial consent for retrieval.ObjectivesThis study aimed to identify the impact of organ donation, where it did occur, on coronial processes and on trial proceedings where a criminal trial ensued. Where donation was restricted by the coroner or forensic pathologist we sought to determine whether it would have affected forensic determinations.Designand Setting: We retrospectively examined 177 records of reportable deaths referred for organ donation over a four year period in Queensland Australia. We also reviewed records of any criminal proceedings which were commenced in relation to these deaths.ResultsThere were 10 cases in which the forensic pathologist recommended restrictions to organ donation with the loss of a number of organs to transplantation. There was no case where organ donation altered the outcome of criminal proceedings or significantly impacted cause of death findings.ConclusionsOrgan donation, where permitted, had limited impact on autopsy evidence and any subsequent court proceedings. Where organ donation was not permitted, autopsy evidence did not significantly alter coronial findings or judicial outcomes.
  • The Indian Dental Litigation Landscape: an Analysis of Judgments on Dental
           Negligence Claims in Indian Consumer Redressal Forums
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Rooban Thavarajah, Vijaykumar Saranya, Bhavanishankar PriyaABSTRACTIntroductionDental malpractice/negligence litigations against dentists in India is not widely studied. The aim of this study is to report the Indian dentist related litigation landscape in consumer redressal forum (CRF) and to understand more of the nature of the same.Material and method111 cases of judgments of dental malpractice in Indian CRF were collected. Useful information was extracted, reported in a grid and statistically analyzed. Data was compared by claim, specialty, treatment offered, days lapsed and compensation awarded. P≤0.05 was taken as statistically significant.ResultsIn all, 44 (39.63%) dentists were found guilty. Thirty dentists had produced at least one evidence in their favor. Among them, 23 outcomes were in dentist’s favor.(P=0.02) The mean wait for final judgment was 1945±1286(193-6762) days. The mean compensation claimed was INR 577287±905898. Presence of evidence (dentists/patients) had an impact on the days to reach a judgment as well as compensation.ConclusionIndian dental litigation landscape CRF has been described for the first time. We identified that CRF litigation of dental malpractice are few, as compared to procedures performed in India. Oral surgical procedures were often involved and 40% of instances, dentists were guilty and mean compensation awarded was INR 103998±158976.
  • Dental evaluation specificity in orofacial damage assessment: a serial
           case study.
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 27 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Cristina Figueiredo, Joana Coelho, Diana Pedrosa, Catarina Caetano, Francisco Corte-Real, Duarte Nuno Vieira, Ana Corte-Real IntroductionThe evaluation of medico-legal post-traumatic events has been increasing over the last decades. This study analysed the input of dental evaluation in orofacial damage assessment, highlighting the individual's biopsychosocial model, by a serial case study. It is aimed to analyse the physical as well as the psychological repercussions of traumatic events. It also aimed to relate the type of trauma impact with the individual’s sequelae.Material and MethodAn observational and retrospective study was carried out of Portuguese medico-legal database. A serial case study was distinguished by the direction of the impact: frontal striking, lateral striking and clashing with a bidirectional (frontal-lateral).Resultsand Discussion: 7 cases fulfilled the inclusion criteria, as a pilot study. They have in common the involvement of the 2 lower thirds of the face, including the temporomandibular joint. The consolidation of the maxillary bone fractures does not always correspond to restituto ad integrum.ConclusionThe impact direction may guide clinical examination in detecting permanent impairment, emphasizing temporomandibular joint disorders, as well as their association with psychosocial repercussions. The medical-dental examination is differentiating and relevant to the accomplishment of the general objective of damage assessment.
  • The visibilities and invisibilities of race entangled with forensic DNA
           phenotyping technology
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 12 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Filipa Queirós Forensic DNA phenotyping (FDP) technology represents a set of techniques that aim to predict physical features of criminal suspects, such as eye, skin and hair colour, and also ethnicity through the inference of biogeographic ancestry from their biological samples. In contrast to other forensic technologies, FDP is not used for identification purposes but valued for its potential intelligence value. Since features predicted by FDP relate to common traits shared by different population groups, critical voices highlight that this technology may (re)create dynamics of collectivisation of suspect populations.Looking at the criminal justice system, this paper aims to explore the diverse understandings of FDP by professionals working in forensic laboratories and by the members of police forces, alongside the automatic exchange of genetic profiles to fight cross-border crime. Their perceptions are explored according to the perceived potential investigative value and potential threats of FDP. Furthermore, we discuss how racial issues are implicitly and explicitly present in these narratives. Results show that FDP may be ushering in a new assemblage of racial issues along three entangled dimensions: the differentiating power of externally visible characteristics, the comparison between genetic and eyewitness testimonies, and the collectivisation of suspicion.
  • Forensic evidence in atrocity trials: A risky sampling strategy'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 August 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Caroline Fournet In the light of the recent judgments issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC), including two acquittals and one very recent condemnation of the accused on all charges, analyzing and assessing evidentiary practice before the Court is all the more pressing. This article focuses on one particular type of evidence used by the Prosecution, namely, forensic evidence, to critically review how it has been used so far at the ICC and consider whether the prosecutorial strategy of focusing on a certain sample of crimes is finally paying off.
  • Estimation of stature from radiographically determined lower limb bone
           length in modern Chinese
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 February 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Kui Zhang, Meng-jun Zhan, Jing-hui Cui, Ying-zhen Luo, Li-rong Qiu, Li-ping Deng, Zhen-lin Li, Xiao-gang Chen, Zhen-hua Deng To develop population - specific stature prediction equations from measurements of the lower limb bone in a contemporary Chinese. 303 individuals of Han group in Western China, including 201 females and 102 males were collected. The study sample was randomly divided into two subgroups. A calibration sample, which consisted of 171 females and 87 males, was used to develop the regression formula. A validation sample comprising the remaining 30 female and 15 male individuals was then used to test the predictive accuracy of the established formula. The regression equations were developed from intact bones and fragments of the femur, tibia and fibula, the maximum lengths of femur, tibia, and fibula were highly correlated with the stature. The maximum length of femur provide the most accurate result with the prediction accuracy of 3.84 cm for unknown sex, 4.00 cm in the male group, 3.45 cm in the female group, 3.61 cm in the group with age no more than 45, 3.45 cm in the group with age above 45. Moreover, the multiple regression equations were developed, and they portray a more accurate stature in instances in which the femur, tibia and fibula are available. This paper provides indications that the femur, tibia and fibula are important bones for stature estimation and they could be effectively used in forensic cases.
  • Three groups of suspects in police reported rape cases: First-time
           suspects, recidivists and unidentified suspects. A comparative study
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 February 2019Source: Journal of Forensic and Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Bjarte Frode Vik, Kirsten Rasmussen, Berit Schei, Cecilie Therese Hagemann BackgroundPrevious studies show that reported suspects in adult rape cases often have a criminal record, and that many are rape recidivists. Annual numbers of police reported rapes have dramatically increased but the proportion of rapes being prosecuted and numbers of convictions are low. To increase knowledge about the suspects in cases of police reported rapes; whether they have committed the crime before or not may inform preventive measures.AimsTo compare suspect, victim, and assault related characteristics among different groups of police-reported rape suspects (first-time suspects, recidivist suspects and unidentified suspects).MethodsRetrospective, descriptive study of suspects in cases of rape or attempted rape reported by women ≥16 years of age in the Sør-Trøndelag police district, Norway, from 2003 to 2010.ResultsAmong the 356 suspects included, 207 (58%) were first-time suspects, 75 (21%) were recidivists and 74 (21%) were unidentified. Being a first-time suspect was significantly associated with victim being
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