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Legal Medicine
Journal Prestige (SJR): 0.678
Citation Impact (citeScore): 1
Number of Followers: 353  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 1344-6223
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3155 journals]
  • DNA extraction of urinary bladder swabs collected from carbonized and
           decomposing corpses: possible application in disaster victim
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 17 December 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Felipe C.A. Brito, Marcilto R. Nunes, David R.B.M. Prata, Sandra F.P. Martha, Carolina Bottino, Rodrigo G. Garrido A disaster is an unexpected event causing death or injury to many people. In such events, a large number of casualties may take place, exposing corpses to a harsh environment for days or months. DNA profiling is recognized as one of the primary methods for identifying mass disaster victims, especially when it involves decomposed or fragmented bodies. The objective of this study was to standardize the use of urinary bladder swabs as a source of DNA for the identification of decomposing and carbonized human bodies by Forensic Genetic techniques. Samples’ DNA was extracted using both organic and Chelex® resin methods; quantified by qPCR and amplified with PowerPlex® Fusion System (Promega Corporation). The results of this study show that between the two methodologies used for DNA extraction, the organic method presented higher DNA yields in relation to the minimum acceptable for the amplification, while Chelex®, although not having a high yield, still allowed obtaining significant amounts of DNA for amplification. The use of bladder swabs has proven to be a viable source of DNA for human identification, since besides reproducible and reliable results, this type of sample allows a significant reduction in the time and cost required for analysis.
  • Age estimation based on the volume change in the maxillary premolar crown
           using micro CT
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 15 December 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Ruri Asami, Hirofumi Aboshi, Atsushi Iwawaki, Yusei Ohtaka, Kento Odaka, Shinichi Abe, Hideki Saka Age is often estimated using teeth because numerous external and internal changes appear due to aging. The purpose of this study was to investigate an age estimation method based on the volume ratio of the internal structure of the crown. 61 maxillary first premolars and 50 maxillary second premolars from subjects aged 20-79 years old were used. Micro CT, which can be used to analyze teeth in a non-destructive manner with high sensitivity, was employed in the present study. In consideration of individual differences among subjects, the volume ratio was calculated for the following four items: The pulp chamber was calculated separately based on the presence of enamel.•The volume ratio of the enamel to the entire crown: EVR•The volume ratio of the dentin to the entire crown: DVR•The volume ratio of the pulp chamber to the entire crown: PVR(E+)•The volume ratio of the pulp chamber to the entire crown excluding the enamel: PVR(E-)In order to estimate age, regression analysis was conducted with the actual age as the dependent variable and each volume ratio as the independent variable. As a result, the highest correlation was found with PVR (E-) for each measurement item.Therefore, the regression equation using the volume change of the maxillary premolar crown as an index was as follows:Age=-12.43× 4: PVR(E-) +69.85Age=-12.94× 5: PVR(E-) +72.54
  • Cellular uptake of paraquat determines subsequent toxicity including
           mitochondrial damage in lung epithelial cells
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Sanae Kanno, Seishiro Hirano, Toshiji Mukai, Ayako Ro, Hideaki Kato, Mamiko Fukuta, Yasuhiro Aoki Paraquat (PQ) is one of the commonly used herbicides in the world, despite its high toxicity. The ingestion of PQ accidentally or intentionally causes severe damage in diverse organs including the lung. Pulmonary fibrosis triggered by PQ accumulation in the lung epithelial cells is one of the major causes of death. This study investigated the intracellular accumulation of PQ, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and mitochondrial injury using two lung epithelial cell lines A549 and BEAS-2B (BEAS). Although A549 exhibit greater resistance to oxidative stress than BEAS, a cytotoxicity assay for PQ demonstrated that EC50 for lethality in A549 was 7 times lower than that in BEAS. When exposed to PQ at a concentration around EC50 for lethality, the amount of ROS generated in A549 was as low as that in BEAS. Conversely, the cellular concentration of PQ in A549 after exposure was higher than that in BEAS, which suggests a distinct difference in the susceptibility to PQ between these cell lines. After a 16 h exposure to PQ, mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) decreased in A549, but decreased only slightly in BEAS even following a 30 h exposure. PQ-exposed A549 reduced an accumulation of PTEN-induced kinase 1 (PINK1), which works in degradation of damaged mitochondria, following the decrease of MMP, whereas PQ did not decline the PINK1 in BEAS. These results suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction due to cellular accumulation of PQ might contribute to the PQ-provoked toxicity more than the ROS generation in the lung epithelial cells.
  • Genetic diversity and haplotype structure of 27 Y-STR loci in a Yanbian
           Korean population from Jilin Province, Northeast China
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 22 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Yequan Wang, Shuyue Li, Zhen Dang, Xia Kong, Yongji Zhang, Li Ma, Dan Wang, Han Zhang, Changzheng Li, Wen Cui In this study, 27 Y-STRs were analyzed in 347 male individuals from the Yanbian Korean population. Haplotype diversity (HD) and discrimination capacity (DC) values were calculated. Pairwise Rst values were evaluated in AMOVA analysis and visualized through multidimensional scaling (MDS). Yflier Plus system indicated higher Discrimination Power (DP), HD and DC which is 0.9969, 0.9998 and 0.9769. There is no significant genetic distance between Yanbian Koreans and South Koreans, however, there is a great distance from Chinese Han population. The present results may provide useful information for paternal lineages in forensic cases and increase our understanding of the genetic relationships between Yanbian Korean and other groups.
  • Extensive gastric necrosis secondary to acute gastric dilatation: A case
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 13 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Chikako Murakami, Wataru Irie, Chizuko Sasaki, Naomi Nakamaru, Momoko Sakamoto, Junpei Nagato, Fumiko Satoh We report a case of sudden death in a patient who developed extensive gastric necrosis secondary to acute gastric dilatation. A 36-year-old man with mental retardation (but without difficulties in activities of daily living), developed an illness after a meal out with friends, necessitating 3 hospital visits. He returned home after receiving drug therapy; however, his condition deteriorated, and he was transferred to our hospital via ambulance. Whole-body computed tomography performed upon admission revealed gastric dilatation. A stomach tube was inserted, and 2,000 mL of gastric aspirate was obtained. The patient died approximately 5 hours later despite receiving treatment. Autopsy revealed 1,000 mL of gastric contents and extensive gastric necrosis. He was diagnosed with extensive gastric necrosis secondary to acute gastric dilatation.
  • Detection of cocaine and metabolites from mouse femur buried in soil
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Ken-ichiro Nakao, Yuki Tatara, Kazuhiko Kibayashi Drug addicts are frequently involved in committing homicides, and burial in the ground is often performed by offenders for body disposal. Therefore, toxicological analyses of buried bones are vitally important for investigating the cause and circumstance of death. Cocaine concentrations in heart blood, femoral muscle, and femur were measured in mice after injections of 5, 15, and 30 mg/kg cocaine and in femurs buried in soil. The concentrations of cocaine in femurs (253.67-1345.31 ng/g) were higher than those found in heart blood (3.14-28.73 ng/mL) and femoral muscle (76.41-429.76 ng/g). The cocaine concentrations in buried femurs (54.83-388.68 ng/g) were significantly lower than those in unburied femurs (253.67-1345.31 ng/g). Further, cocaine was detected in femurs after being buried for 7-180 days in soil. These findings indicate that cocaine concentrations are higher in bone than in heart blood and femoral muscle and that the concentration decreases after burial in soil.
  • Fatal accidental asphyxia in the reverse jack-knife position on a chair
           with wheels
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Akiko Ishigami, Shin-ichi Kubo, Kenji Hara, Brian Waters, Itsuo Tokunaga, Akiyoshi NishimuraGraphical abstractFatal accidental asphyxia in a reverse jack-knife position. A female was found dead in a reverse jack-knife position. The cause of death was considered as positional asphyxia.Graphical abstract for this article
  • Quantification of secondary dentin formation based on the analysis of MDCT
           scans and dental OPGs in a contemporary Malaysian population
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Salina Hisham, Nurliza Abdullah, Mohamad Helmee Mohamad Noor, Daniel Franklin
  • Na+/K+-ATPase, acetylcholinesterase and glutathione S-transferase
           activities as new markers of postmortem interval in Swiss mice
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Caren A.R. da Fonseca, Jaini Paltian, Angélica S. dos Reis, Cristiani F. Bortolatto, Ethel A. Wilhelm, Cristiane Luchese Determining precisely the postmortem interval (PMI) is a key parameter for forensic researches, given that various physical, biochemical and metabolic changes begin to occur in the body after death. In the present study, the Na+/K+-ATPase, glutathione S-transferase (GST) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activities were evaluated. For this, male adult Swiss mice were killed by isoflurane inhalation anesthesia and divided into four groups according to time of death (0, 6, 24 and 48 hours). The brain, liver, kidney and skeletal muscle tissues were removed. Our results revealed that at the time of 6 hours, there was a decrease on Na+/K+-ATPase and GST activities in the brain and liver tissues, respectively. In addition, at this time point, an increase on renal GST activity was verified. At the time of 24 hours, an increase on the cerebral AChE and renal GST activities was observed, while the cerebral Na+/K+-ATPase activity was decreased. Forty-eight hours after death, cerebral Na+/K+-ATPase and renal GST activities remained decreased and increased, respectively. In addition, no alteration was observed on the GST activity in the skeletal muscle and brain (in PMIs evaluated). The present study revealed that the brain and kidney (at the times of 24 and 48 hours) were the tissues that suffered the most changes in almost all the enzymes evaluated. Our results demonstrated that enzyme activity assessments are reliable, easy-to-perform and low-cost determinations, and could be promising postmortem markers.
  • Forensic Microbiology applications: a systematic review
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 November 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Elvira Ventura Spagnolo, Chiara Stassi, Cristina Mondello, Stefania Zerbo, Livio Milone, Antonina Argo According to the Human Microbiome Project (HMP), a healthy human body contains ten times more microbes than human cells. Microbial communities colonize different organs of the body, playing fundamental roles both in human health and disease. Despite the vast scientific knowledge of the role of microbial communities in a living body, little is known at present about microbial changes occurring after death, thus leading many authors to investigate the composition of the thanatomicrobiome and its potential applications in the forensic field. The aim of the following review is to provide a general overview of the advances of postmortem microbiology research, mainly focusing on the role of microbiological investigations carried out on internal organs and fluids. To this end, a total of 19 studies have been sistematically reviewed, each one chosen according to specific inclusion/exclusion criteria. The selected studies assess the contribution of contamination, postmortem transmigration and agonal spread to microbial isolation from dead body samples, and shed light on the role of postmortem microbiological investigations in several forensic fields, such as cause of death or PMI determination.
  • Dental age estimation in Malaysian adults based on volumetric analysis of
           pulp/tooth ratio using CBCT data
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Muhammad Khan Asif, Phrabhakaran Nambiar, Shani Ann Mani, Norliza Binti Ibrahim, Iqra Muhammad Khan, Najihah Binti Lokman Forensic odontology plays an important role in human identification and dental age estimation is an integral part of this process. The aim of the study was to investigate the association between chronological age and pulp/tooth volume ratio in a Malaysian population (Malays and Chinese) from cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans, enhanced with Mimics software. Three hundred CBCT scans of 153 males and 147 females, aged between 16 to 65 years were divided into 5 age groups. Volumetric analysis of the pulp/tooth ratio was performed in maxillary left canines, maxillary right canines and maxillary right central incisors. Simple linear regression and Pearson correlation analysis indicated the strongest coefficient of correlation (R) values for maxillary right central incisors (0.83) followed by maxillary right canines (0.74) and maxillary left canines (0.73). Fisher’s Z test indicated that dental age estimation is gender independent. The derived regression equations were further validated on an independent group of 126 teeth. The results indicated mean absolute error (MAE) values of 6.48 and 8.58 years for maxillary right central incisors and maxillary canines respectively. It was also noticed that MAE values were higher among the age groups ranging from 46 to 65 years. This study showed that a volumetric change in the pulp cavity with age is a valuable assessment method for dental age estimation among Malaysian population.
  • Undetected severe complication after elective lumbar surgery - how could
           it happen'
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): I. Sinicina, D. Inthorn, H. Pankratz
  • Pathology diagnosis of an atypical thyroid cartilage lesion
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 19 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): A. Delbreil, A. Gambier, T. Lefrancq, M. Taris, P. Saint-Martin, M. Sapanet In forensic practice, laryngeal lesions are of particular interest for the pathologist, as they maysign foul play. We report the case of a decedent, whose body was found in an advanced stateof putrefaction, at the bottom of a ledge, after a one-month disappearance. The face and neck were skeletised. The autopsy found multiple traumatic injuries. The hyoid bone was separatedfrom the other laryngeal structures and seemed to be macroscopically normal. However, the thyroid cartilage had a thin notch at the base of the right upper horn. The nature of this notch was determined by microscopic examination: analysis showed incompletely ossified fibrous tissue, bordered by a line of enchondral ossification. We concluded that the notch was an old fracture, not concomitant with the polytrauma secondary to the fall that was the cause of death. This case shows that microscopic examination may allow the distinction between recent and old wound. Such a distinction is especially important in this context of polytrauma, where lesions could have been secondary to a fall, caused by a third party or unconnected with events.
  • An experimental study on investigating the postmortem interval in
           dichlorvos poisoned rats by GC/MS-based metabolomics
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Xinhua Dai, Fei Fan, Yi Ye, Xiang Lu, Fan Chen, Zhigui Wu, Linchuan Liao The estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI) is always a key issue in forensic science. Although many attempts based on metabolomics approaches have been proven to be feasible and accurate for PMI estimation, there have been no reports regarding the determination of the PMI in acute dichlorvos (DDVP) poisoning. In this study, all rats were killed by acute DDVP poisoning at a dose three fold the oral LD50 (240mg/kg). Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) was applied to investigate the metabolic profiling of blood samples at various times after death up to 72h. A total of 39 metabolites were found to be associated with PMI, and the combinations of various numbers of metabolites were used to establish support vector regression (SVR) models to investigate the PMI. The SVR model constructed by 23 metabolites had a minimum mean squared error (MSE) of 5.49h for the training set. Then, the SVR model was validated by prediction set with an MSE of 10.33h, suggesting good predictive ability of the model for investigating the PMI. The findings demonstrated the great potential of GC/MS-based metabolomics combined with the SVR model in determining the PMI of DDVP poisoned rats and provided an experimental basis for the application of this approach in investigating the PMI of other toxicants.
  • Autopsy case of right ventricular rhabdomyoma in tuberous sclerosis
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Takeshi Kondo, Yo Niida, Masashi Mizuguchi, Yasushi Nagasaki, Yasuhiro Ueno, Akiyoshi Nishimura Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic multisystem disorder characterized by widespread hamartomas in several organs, including the brain, heart, skin, eyes, kidney, lung, and liver. Rhabdomyoma is the most common cardiac tumor diagnosed in fetuses, neonates and infants, and is closely linked to TSC. Here we describe an autopsy case of right ventricular rhabdomyoma in TSC. The deceased was a 3-month-old male infant, and TSC with a cardiac tumor had been diagnosed before his death. Since the cardiac tumor had not been physically blocking the blood flow, he had not undergone surgical intervention. At autopsy, the patient’s height was 62 cm and his body weight was 6 kg. The heart weighed 37.3 g and the right ventricle was filled with the tumor. The tumor measured 2.1cm × 1.6cm, being a fusion of multiple tumors with several attachment sites to the myocardium. Histologically, the tumor was diagnosed as a rhabdomyoma, and was positive for mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). The brain weighed 795.0 g, without hydrocephalus. The cut surface of the brain revealed multiple cortical tubers and subependymal nodules. Through screening for the TSC1 (hamartin) and TSC2 (tuberin) genes, a nonsense mutation, c.1108C>T:p.Gln370∗, was detected in the TSC2 gene. Immediate cause of death was determined to be ventricular obstruction by a cardiac rhabdomyoma with insidious growth. This case highlights the need for forensic pathologists to perform a complete autopsy to determine the cause of sudden death with cardiac tumor, including genetic examination.Graphical abstractGraphical abstract for this article
  • Association of SNPs in transferrin and transferrin receptor genes with
           blood iron levels in human
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Junko Fujihara, Toshihiro Yasuda, Kaori Kimura-Kataoka, Haruo Takeshita Iron is bound to mobile transferrin (TF) and ferritin in blood. TF receptors (TFRC and TFR2) regulate intracellular iron by delivering iron from TF into the cytoplasm. In this study, we examined the effects of 10 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in each of the genes for TF and TF receptors on blood iron concentrations in Japanese subjects. Blood iron levels were determined by microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometry and the SNPs were analyzed by polymerase chain reaction followed by restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Blood iron levels in males were significantly higher than those in females. Therefore, the analysis was performed only in males. Blood iron concentrations did not correlate with age and postmortem intervals in males. Among the 10 SNPs in TF, TFRC, and TFR2 genes, significant associations were observed between TF genotypes (rs12769) and male iron concentrations. Individuals with genotype GG in rs12769 had significantly higher blood iron concentrations than those with GA. Previous studies have shown the association between high tissue iron concentrations and disease, liver iron levels are higher in infants dying from sudden infant death syndrome and decreased blood iron concentrations were observed in critically ill children. Therefore, rs12769 in TF might be related to diseases and mortality risk.
  • Genetic polymorphisms of 20 STR loci in a Chaoshan group from Jieyang,
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Enping Huang, Tianshan Guan, Li Li, Pingping Xia, Zhiyong Peng, Chunlei Feng, Ling Chen We obtained allelic frequencies and forensic parameters of 20 short tandem repeat (STR) loci (D3S1358, FGA, D5S818, D7S820, CSF1PO, D16S539, D19S433, vWA, D8S1179, D18S51, D13S317, TPOX, TH01, D2S1338, D12S391, D1S1656, D21S11, D6S1043, Penta D, Penta E) from 529 unrelated individuals in Jieyang Han population using PowerPlex® 21 (Promega, Madison, Wi, USA). The relationship between the Jieyang Han group and other Han populations was studied and the results showed that the Jieyang Han population had the closest genetic relationship with the Fujian Han population.
  • A quantitative morphological analysis of three-dimensional CT coxal bone
           images of contemporary Japanese using homologous models for sex and age
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Hitoshi Biwasaka, Yasuhiro Aoki, Yusuke Takahashi, Mamiko Fukuta, Akihito Usui, Yoshiyuki Hosokai, Haruo Saito, Masato Funayama, Sachiko Fujita, Masataka Takamiya, Koji Dewa Sexual dimorphisms and age-dependent morphological features of the human coxal bone were quantitatively analyzed using homologous models created from three-dimensional (3D) computed tomography images of the pelvis (male: 514 samples, female: 388 samples, age 16 to 100). Bilateral average coxal images of each sex and age decade were generated separately through principle component analyses (PCA). By measuring average point-to-point distances of 8472 corresponding points (average corresponding point differences [ACPDs]) between each homologous coxal image and the average images, the sex of more than 93% of the samples was correctly assigned. Some principal components (PCs) detected in PCA of the homologous models of the samples correlated fairly well with age and are affected by features of the curvature of the iliac crest, the arcuate line and the greater sciatic notch. Moreover, separate PCA using the average images of each age decade successfully detected the first PCs, which were strongly correlated with age. However, neither multiple regression analysis using PCs related to age nor comparison of ACPDs with the average images of each age decade could produce accurate results for age decade assignment of unknown (blind) samples. Therefore, more detailed analysis of age-dependent morphological features would be necessary for actual age estimation. In addition, some laterality or left and right shape difference of the coxal bone images was also elucidated, and was more significant in females. Analysis of 3D structures using homologous models and PCA appears to be a potential technique to detect subsistent morphological changes of bones.
  • Traumatic axonal injury revealed by postmortem magnetic resonance imaging:
           a case report
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 1 October 2018Source: Legal MedicineAuthor(s): Yohsuke Makino, Nobutaka Arai, Yumi Hoshioka, Maiko Yoshida, Masatoshi Kojima, Takuro Horikoshi, Hiroki Mukai, Hirotaro Iwase In forensic investigations, it is important to detect traumatic axonal injuries (TAIs) to reveal head trauma that might otherwise remain occult. These lesions are subtle and frequently ambiguous on macroscopic evaluations. We present a case of TAI revealed by pre-autopsy postmortem magnetic resonance imaging (PMMR).A man in his sixties was rendered unconscious in a motor vehicle accident. CT scans revealed traumatic mild subarachnoid hemorrhage. Two weeks after the accident he regained consciousness, but displayed an altered mental state. Seven weeks after the accident, he suddenly died in hospital. Postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) and PMMR were followed by a forensic autopsy.PMMR showed low-intensity lesions in parasagittal white matter, deep white matter, and corpus callosum on three-dimensional gradient-echo T1-weighted imaging (3D-GRE T1WI). In some of these lesions, T2∗-weighted imaging also showed low-intensity foci suggesting hemorrhagic axonal injury. The lesions were difficult to find on PMCT and macroscopic evaluation, but were visible on antemortem MRI and confirmed as TAIs on histopathology.From this case, it can be said that PMMR can detect subtle TAIs missed by PMCT and macroscopic evaluation. Hence, pre-autopsy PMMR scanning could be useful for identifying TAIs during forensic investigations.
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
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