Drummer, Olaf H; Kennedy, Briohny; Bugeja, Lyndal; Ibrahim, Joseph Elias; Ozanne-Smith, Joan
Forensic toxicological data provides valuable insight into the potential contribution of alcohol and drugs to external-cause deaths. There is a paucity of material that guides injury researchers on the principles that need to be considered when examining the presence and contribution of alcohol and drugs to these deaths. This paper aims to describe and discuss strengths and limitations of postmortem forensic toxicology sample selection, variations in analytical capabilities and data interpretation for injury prevention research. Issues to be considered by injury researchers include: the circumstances surrounding death (including the medical and drug use history of the deceased person); time and relevant historical factors; postmortem changes (including redistribution and instability); laboratory practices; specimens used; drug concentration; and attribution of contribution to death. This paper describes the range of considerations for testing and interpreting postmortem forensic toxicology, particularly when determining impairment or toxicity as possible causal factors in injury deaths. By describing these considerations, this paper has application to decisions about study design and case inclusion in injury prevention research, and to the interpretation of research findings. PMID:23197673
Drummer, Olaf H
Forensic toxicology has developed as a forensic science in recent years and is now widely used to assist in death investigations, in civil and criminal matters involving drug use, in drugs of abuse testing in correctional settings and custodial medicine, in road and workplace safety, in matters involving environmental pollution, as well as in sports doping. Drugs most commonly targeted include amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis, cocaine and the opiates, but can be any other illicit substance or almost any over-the-counter or prescribed drug, as well as poisons available to the community. The discipline requires high level skills in analytical techniques with a solid knowledge of pharmacology and pharmacokinetics. Modern techniques rely heavily on immunoassay screening analyses and mass spectrometry (MS) for confirmatory analyses using either high-performance liquid chromatography or gas chromatography as the separation technique. Tandem MS has become more and more popular compared to single-stage MS. It is essential that analytical systems are fully validated and fit for the purpose and the assay batches are monitored with quality controls. External proficiency programs monitor both the assay and the personnel performing the work. For a laboratory to perform optimally, it is vital that the circumstances and context of the case are known and the laboratory understands the limitations of the analytical systems used, including drug stability. Drugs and poisons can change concentration postmortem due to poor or unequal quality of blood and other specimens, anaerobic metabolism and redistribution. The latter provides the largest handicap in the interpretation of postmortem results. PMID:20358697
Dora V., a 88-year-old pensioner suffering from a hiatus hernia, died at the home of an orthopaedist and his wife, an anaesthetist, immediately after she had received a dose of 300 mg pethidine via intravenous infusion in a timeframe of about 90 min. One day before her death a befriended notary of the couple visited Dora V. and obtained a blank signature. After her death, a will was forged using this signature, rendering the couple sole heirs of Dora V.'s estate with a value of several million euros. Post-mortem toxicology was performed in three different institutes of legal medicine. The concentrations of pethidine in peripheral venous blood were between 6.1 and 6.5mg/l and 9.5 and 17.2mg/kg in brain. Pharmacokinetic calculation confirms the given dose. There was no doubt that the cause of death was acute pethidine intoxication. The accused couple claimed that this dose of pethidine was indicated to relief pain, and as the pathologists said in their expert opinions that the hiatus hernia could explain her death, the court had to acquit the accused. This very special case demonstrates that preconceived murder of a sick person with suitable analgesics cannot be proven--at least not with the methods available to forensic toxicology and pathology. This has to be taken into consideration if euthanasia will be legalised under special circumstances. PMID:15172078
Gwaltney-Brant, S M
Veterinary pathologists working in diagnostic laboratories are sometimes presented with cases involving animal poisonings that become the object of criminal or civil litigation. Forensic veterinary toxicology cases can include cases involving animal cruelty (malicious poisoning), regulatory issues (eg, contamination of the food supply), insurance litigation, or poisoning of wildlife. An understanding of the appropriate approach to these types of cases, including proper sample collection, handling, and transport, is essential so that chain of custody rules are followed and proper samples are obtained for toxicological analysis. Consultation with veterinary toxicologists at the diagnostic laboratory that will be processing the samples before, during, and after the forensic necropsy can help to ensure that the analytical tests performed are appropriate for the circumstances and findings surrounding the individual case. PMID:27090769
Drummer, Olaf H
Conducting toxicology on post-mortem specimens provides a number of very significant challenges to the scientist. The range of additional specimens include tissues such as decomposing blood and other tissues, hair, muscle, fat, lung, and even larvae feeding on the host require special techniques to isolate a foreign substance and allow detection without interference from the matrix. A number of drugs of abuse are unstable in the post-mortem environment that requires careful consideration when trying to interpret their significance. Heroin, morphine glucuronides, cocaine and the benzodiazepines are particularly prone to degradation. Moreover, redistributive process can significantly alter the concentration of drugs, particularly those with a higher tissue concentration than the surrounding blood. The designer amphetamines, methadone and other potent opioids will increase their concentration in blood post-mortem. These processes together with the development of tolerance means that no concentration of a drug of abuse can be interpreted in isolation without a thorough examination of the relevant circumstances and after the conduct of a post-mortem to eliminate or corroborate relevant factors that could impact on the drug concentration and the possible effect of a substance on the body. This article reviews particular toxicological issues associated with the more common drugs of abuse such as the amphetamines, cannabinoids, cocaine, opioids and the benzodiazepines. PMID:15172074
Druid, H; Holmgren, P; Löwenhielm, P
A computer software, RättsBASE (RB), was developed for all forensic pathology units in Sweden and introduced in 1992. Simultaneously, a corresponding software, ToxBASE (TB), was developed for the Department of Forensic Toxicology, where all forensic toxicology in Sweden is managed. Both of the databases were created using dBASE IV, and the programming was carried out according to specifications from the staff at the forensic toxicology and forensic pathology units. since the development or RB and TB was coordinated, the systems can run together smoothly. The purpose of both systems was to automate the offices and to enable compilation of detailed statistics. Installation of Novell Netware and ISDN-connections (Integrated Service Digital Network) has enabled rapid communication between the units and easy compilation of nationwide statistics of forensic pathology and forensic toxicology. the systems offer a wide spectrum of reports and include a simple module for evaluation of the importance of the forensic efforts for th whole death investigation. The configuration of the softwares has also enabled processing of a large amount of related toxicological and autopsy data that in turn has yielded a base for compilation of toxicology interpretation lists. This article includes a summary of the features of the software and a discussion of its benefits and limitations. PMID:15637819
Smith, Michael L.; Vorce, Shawn P.; Holler, Justin M.; Shimomura, Eric; Magluilo, Joe; Jacobs, Aaron J.; Huestis, Marilyn A.
This article reviews modern analytical instrumentation in forensic toxicology for identification and quantification of drugs and toxins in biological fluids and tissues. A brief description of the theory and inherent strengths and limitations of each methodology is included. The focus is on new technologies that address current analytical limitations. A goal of this review is to encourage innovations to improve our technological capabilities and to encourage use of these analytical techniques in forensic toxicology practice. PMID:17579968
House, Chris J
Olanzapine has been shown to cause or have a contributory role in the development of hyperglycemia and diabetes mellitus. Without careful monitoring for the development of these conditions and control of the resulting adverse effects, patients receiving olanzapine may be at risk of developing fatal ketoacidosis. A review of post-mortem toxicological reports has revealed an increase in the incidence of post-mortem findings of acetone in decedents who were taking olanzapine over the past decade. A review of the current literature and a comprehensive review of case histories and toxicological findings were conducted at the Centre of Forensic Sciences (Toronto, Ontario). Olanzapine concentrations ranging from <62.5 to 858 ng/mL and acetone concentrations as high as 95 mg/dL were detected concurrently. Due to the unstable nature of olanzapine, in several instances quantitation was not possible despite elevated responses during qualitative screening procedures. Five cases suggesting olanzapine-induced ketoacidosis were identified based on the case history and toxicological findings. These data have been compiled and examined with respect to acetone concentrations following olanzapine use and the forensic relevance of post-mortem olanzapine and acetone concentrations are discussed. PMID:17084052
Zhang, Yong-zhi; He, Hong-yuan; She, Cai-meng; Lian, Jie
The Z-drugs (zolpidem, zopiclone, and zaleplon), as the innovative hypnotics, have an improvement over the traditional benzodiazepines in the management of insomnia. Z-drugs have significant hypnotic effects by reducing sleep latency and improving sleep quality, though duration of sleep may not be significantly increased. As benzodiazepines, Z-drugs exert their effects through increasing the transmission of γ-aminobutyric acid. Z-drugs overdose are less likely to be fatal, more likely would result in poisoning. Z-drugs can be detected in blood, urine, saliva, and other postmortem specimens through liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry techniques. Zolpidem and zaleplon exhibit significant postmortem redistribution. Z-drugs have improved pharmacokinetic profiles, but incidence of neuropsychiatric sequelae, poisoning, and death may prove to be similar to the other hypnotics. This review focuses on the pharmacology and toxicology of Z-drugs with respect to their adverse effect profile and toxicity and toxicology data in the field of forensic medicine. PMID:26665884
Lehrmann, Elin; Afanador, Zoan R; Deep-Soboslay, Amy; Gallegos, Gloria; Darwin, William D; Lowe, Ross H; Barnes, Allan J; Huestis, Marilyn A; Cadet, Jean L; Herman, Mary M; Hyde, Thomas M; Kleinman, Joel E; Freed, William J
The present study examines the diagnostic challenges of identifying ante-mortem illicit substance use in human postmortem cases. Substance use, assessed by clinical case history reviews, structured next-of-kin interviews, by general toxicology of blood, urine and/or brain, and by scalp hair testing, identified 33 cocaine, 29 cannabis, 10 phencyclidine and nine opioid cases. Case history identified 42% cocaine, 76% cannabis, 10% phencyclidine and 33% opioid cases. Next-of-kin interviews identified almost twice as many cocaine and cannabis cases as Medical Examiner (ME) case histories, and were crucial in establishing a detailed lifetime substance use history. Toxicology identified 91% cocaine, 68% cannabis, 80% phencyclidine and 100% opioid cases, with hair testing increasing detection for all drug classes. A cocaine or cannabis use history was corroborated by general toxicology with 50% and 32% sensitivity, respectively, and with 82% and 64% sensitivity by hair testing. Hair testing corroborated a positive general toxicology for cocaine and cannabis with 91% and 100% sensitivity, respectively. Case history corroborated hair toxicology with 38% sensitivity for cocaine and 79% sensitivity for cannabis, suggesting that both case history and general toxicology underestimated cocaine use. Identifying ante-mortem substance use in human postmortem cases are key considerations in case diagnosis and for characterization of disorder-specific changes in neurobiology. The sensitivity and specificity of substance use assessments increased when ME case history was supplemented with structured next-of-kin interviews to establish a detailed lifetime substance use history, while comprehensive toxicology, and hair testing in particular, increased detection of recent illicit substance use. PMID:18201295
Ruder, T D; Thali, M J; Hatch, G M
Post-mortem MR (PMMR) imaging is a powerful diagnostic tool with a wide scope in forensic radiology. In the past 20 years, PMMR has been used as both an adjunct and an alternative to autopsy. The role of PMMR in forensic death investigations largely depends on the rules and habits of local jurisdictions, availability of experts, financial resources, and individual case circumstances. PMMR images are affected by post-mortem changes, including position-dependent sedimentation, variable body temperature and decomposition. Investigators must be familiar with the appearance of normal findings on PMMR to distinguish them from disease or injury. Coronal whole-body images provide a comprehensive overview. Notably, short tau inversion–recovery (STIR) images enable investigators to screen for pathological fluid accumulation, to which we refer as “forensic sentinel sign”. If scan time is short, subsequent PMMR imaging may be focussed on regions with a positive forensic sentinel sign. PMMR offers excellent anatomical detail and is especially useful to visualize pathologies of the brain, heart, subcutaneous fat tissue and abdominal organs. PMMR may also be used to document skeletal injury. Cardiovascular imaging is a core area of PMMR imaging and growing evidence indicates that PMMR is able to detect ischaemic injury at an earlier stage than traditional autopsy and routine histology. The aim of this review is to present an overview of normal findings on forensic PMMR, provide general advice on the application of PMMR and summarise the current literature on PMMR imaging of the head and neck, cardiovascular system, abdomen and musculoskeletal system. PMID:24191122
Niyogi, S K
The development of forensic toxicology in the United States is reviewed from colonial times. Medical education started expanding after Independence, but no program in medical jurisprudence existed until 1804, when Dr. James S. Stringham initiated such a teaching program at Columbia University in New York City. Since then, instruction in medical jurisprudence has become more or less a part of the medical school's curriculum. Little has been written in the field of toxicology in contrast to overall European development. With the availability of contributions from European and British authors, the development of chemical toxicology in this country started to take shape, with significant progress occurring after the Civil War. The original contributions in toxicology were done by Drs. Wormley, Reese, and Witthaus. The faults of the coroner system led its replacement in Massachusetts with the office of medical examiner in 1877. The Chief Medical Examiner's Office of New York started functioning in 1918 and a toxicology laboratory was founded under the direction of Dr. Alexander Gettler, whose students spread the ideas of toxicology throughout the country. This institution is regarded as the birthplace of American forensic toxicology. Other significant events include the formation of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences after World War II and the establishment of the American Board of Forensic Toxicology in 1975; both have contributed greatly to the development of forensic toxicology in the United States. PMID:7015839
Tominaga, Mariko; Michiue, Tomomi; Oritani, Shigeki; Ishikawa, Takaki; Maeda, Hitoshi
For drug screening and pharmaco-/toxicokinetic analysis, bile as a major drug excretion route in addition to urine may be used in forensic autopsy cases; however, there are limited published data on correlations between bile and blood or urine drug concentrations. The present study retrospectively investigated drug concentrations in bile, compared with blood and urine concentrations, reviewing forensic autopsy cases during 6 years (January 2009-December 2014). Drugs were analyzed using automated gas chromatography-mass spectrometry following solid-liquid phase extraction. Compared with peripheral blood concentrations, bile concentrations were higher for most drugs; however, caffeine concentrations were similar. Bile concentrations were mostly lower than urine concentrations for amphetamines, caffeine and methylephedrine, but were usually similar to or higher for other drugs. Significant correlations were detected between bile and peripheral blood concentrations for amphetamines, several cold remedies, phenobarbital, phenothiazine derivatives and diazepam, as well as between bile and urine concentrations for amphetamines, caffeine, diphenhydramine, phenobarbital and promethazine derivatives. These findings suggest that bile can provide supplemental data useful in routine forensic toxicology, for the spectrum of drugs mentioned above, as well as for investigating pharmaco-/toxicokinetics and postmortem redistribution when analyzed in combination with drug concentrations at other sites. PMID:27185819
Kochanowski, Maciej; Kała, Maria
Cannabinoids are the natural constituents of marihuana (cannabis). The main of them are delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (9THC)--psychoactive agent, cannabinol (CBN) and cannabidiol (CBD). Cannabis is administered either by smoking or orally. 9THC potency and duration of action as well as its and two of its major metabolites concentrations in organism highly depend on the route of administration. A single active dose of 9THC is estimated on 520 mg. 9THC is rapidly metabolised. It is hydroxylated to an active metabolite, I1 -hydroxy-delta9-tetrahydro-cannabinol (11-OH-THC), then oxidised to an inactive 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THCCOOH), which is conjugated with glucuronic acid and predominantly excreted in the urine. The maximum psychological effect persists for 4-6 h after administration despite of very low 9THC blood concentrations. 9THC plasma concentration declined to values of 2-3 ng/ml during 3-4 h after smoking. Such a low concentration of the active compound in human organism create a demand for use of sensitive analytical methods for detection and determination of 9THC and its metabolites. The most effective techniques for 9THC and related compounds determination in biological material are chromatographic ones (gas and liquid) with mass spectrometric detection and different ionization modes. 9THC and its two metabolites (11-OH-THC and THCCOOH) are present in blood and hair, 9THC in saliva, and THCCOOH in urine. 9THC and related compounds are determined in autopsy material, although deaths by overdose of cannabis are exceptionally rare. Fatalities happen most often after intravenous injection of hashish oil. 9THC and its metabolites determination in different biological materials gives the basis for a wide interpretation of analytical results for clinical and forensic toxicology purposes. PMID:16225128
Schweitzer, Wolf; Schaepman, Michael E.; Ith, Michael; Bruegger, Karin; Thali, Michael J.; Doernhofer, Tanya; Tiefenthaler, Kathrin; Scheurer, Eva; Vock, Peter; Boesch, Chris; Dirnhofer, Richard
We currently evaluate MRI as add-on to dissection. Cases can only build on high evidential values of morphological findings as estimated using Bayesian likelihood-ratios. These values may vary among different cases depending on the quality of the morphology and the discrete hypotheses to be discerned. After scanning 20 bodies using MRI admitted to our institute for autopsy, we reconstructed selected imaging findings from a couple of illustrative cases according to a geometrical model ('Pink Box') designed as an object oriented bridging protocol to enable comparison of autopsy and MRI data. Although it appears obvious that 'three-dimensional imaging yields relevant diagnoses,' comparison of selected findings suggests, that the real evidential value of a postmortem scan depends on basic geometrical features of tissue structures examined. (1) Tissue surfaces are difficult to examine in MRI, including surface features of contact wounds in firearm injuries, lacerations of the pleura, or skin needle marks. (2) Specificity and sensitivity of solid tissue block data depend on contrast and resolution. (3) Tunnels or tubes, such as coronary arteries, linear wound tracks or the aorta offer more degrees of freedom for reconstruction, including spatial reconstruction or cross sectioning in different directions. (4) Three-dimensional rendering of complex objects results in spectacular images. Their evidential value is dependent on the way thresholding of 2D slices is validated. We present illustrative examples which suggest that a possible integration of non-invasive imaging methods into Forensic Pathology in fact need to take basic geometry into consideration when discussing evidential value.
Usui, Akihito; Kawasumi, Yusuke; Hosokai, Yoshiyuki; Kozakai, Masataka; Saito, Haruo; Funayama, Masato
Gunshot injury has always been an important field of investigation in postmortem forensic radiology. The localization and retrieval of the bullet and of potentially important fragments are vital to these cases. Using postmortem multidetector-row computed tomography (MDCT) prior to forensic autopsy, we sought to illustrate the importance of this modality in the noninvasive characterization of gunshot wounds. We obtained and analyzed MDCT images in three cases of gunshot wounds (accidental close-range shotgun shooting, suicidal contact gunshot to the head and accidental long-range buckshot shooting). We discuss the value of postmortem MDCT findings in gunshot wound cases by comparing with forensic autopsy findings in Japan, a developing country with miserably low autopsy rate. PMID:26832386
Ileĭko, V R
With the purpose of studying issues concerning conducting a postmortem forensic psychiatric examination (FPE) in a lawsuit, getting an expert opinion, an analysis was performed of 55 cases of postmortem FPE with respect to those subjects with mental disturbances secondary to vascular affection of the brain (cerebral atherosclerosis and relevant complications), having been within the competence of experts. Measures are submitted designed to do away with the disadvantages spotted. PMID:12587300
Zhao, Hui; Zhuo, Xian-yi; Shen, Bao-hua
Ethyl glucuronide is a specific metabolite of ethanol. There have been plenty of articles referring its pharmacokinetics, detection and application as a specific bio-marker of alcohol intake. This article reviews various analytical methods of EtG, relationship between EtG quantification and ethanol intake, and criteria for determining chronic alcohol abuse, and origin of ethanol found in the cadavers by EtG analysis. EtG has its potential application in forensic toxicology. PMID:19397218
Reisfield, Gary M; Goldberger, Bruce A; Bertholf, Roger L
Urine drug testing (UDT) services are provided by a variety of clinical, forensic, and reference/specialty laboratories. These UDT services differ based on the principal activity of the laboratory. Clinical laboratories provide testing primarily focused on medical care (eg, emergency care, inpatients, and outpatient clinics), whereas forensic laboratories perform toxicology tests related to postmortem and criminal investigations, and drug-free workplace programs. Some laboratories now provide UDT specifically designed for monitoring patients on chronic opioid therapy. Accreditation programs for clinical laboratories have existed for nearly half a century, and a federal certification program for drug-testing laboratories was established in the 1980s. Standards of practice for forensic toxicology services other than workplace drug testing have been established in recent years. However, no accreditation program currently exists for UDT in pain management, and this review considers several aspects of laboratory accreditation and certification relevant to toxicology services, with the intention to provide guidance to clinicians in their selection of the appropriate laboratory for UDT surveillance of their patients on opioid therapy. PMID:25750163
When assessed based on the analysis of postmortem protocols, the successes of forensic thanatology appear to differ from those that might be assumed using as the foundation a review of publications and textbooks. The greatest achievements date back to as early as the 18th and 19th centuries, when the morphological changes observed in the majority of types of deaths resulting from disease-associated and traumatic causes were described. Within the past 130 years, however, or in other words, in the period when autopsy protocols were written that are today collected in the archives of the Krakow Department of Forensic Medicine, the causes and mechanisms of death became understood even when the said factors were associated with discrete postmortem changes only or no no such changes whatsoever were left. At the end of the 19th century and for a long time afterwards, a difficult problem was posed by sudden deaths, where the postmortem examinations demonstrated solely atherosclerosis and the cause of death was described as "heart palsy". As it turned out, a great portion of such deaths represented individuals with myocardial infarction; in spite of its evident macroscopic presentation, the diagnostic management of the disease was progressing very slowly. Myocardial infarction, known at least since 1912, was associated by forensic medicine with the phenomenon of sudden death only in the forties, and the ability to detect myocardial infarction in practice developed only in the fifties of the last century. The achievement of the present dissertation is the formulation of a theory ascribing such a long delay in macroscopic diagnostics of myocardial infarction to forensic medicine specialists being attached to and fond of employing the "in situ" autopsy technique, which was unfavorable from the viewpoint of heart examination, since the organ was not dissected free and removed from the body in the course of a postmortem examination. When autopsies started to concentrate on
James, Joshua Isaac; Gladyshev, Pavel; Zhu, Yuandong
This paper introduces a novel approach to user event reconstruction by showing the practicality of generating and implementing signature-based analysis methods to reconstruct high-level user actions from a collection of low-level traces found during a post-mortem forensic analysis of a system. Traditional forensic analysis and the inferences an investigator normally makes when given digital evidence, are examined. It is then demonstrated that this natural process of inferring high-level events from low-level traces may be encoded using signature-matching techniques. Simple signatures using the defined method are created and applied for three popular Windows-based programs as a proof of concept.
Bévalot, F; Gustin, M P; Cartiser, N; Gaillard, Y; Le Meur, C; Fanton, L; Guitton, J; Malicier, D
Bone marrow (BM) analysis is of forensic interest for postmortem toxicological investigations where blood samples are unavailable or unusable. Due to the lack of studies, it remains difficult to interpret concentrations of xenobiotics measured in this matrix. Based on a statistical approach published previously to interpret meprobamate concentrations in bile and vitreous humor, we propose here a diagnostic test for interpretation of BM meprobamate concentrations from analysis of 99 sets of autopsy data. The mean age was 48 years (range 18-80 years, one unknown) for males and 50 years (range 19-80 years, one unknown) for females, with a male/female ratio at 0.768. A BM concentration threshold of 11.3 μg/g was found to be statistically equivalent to that of a blood meprobamate concentration threshold of 50 μg/ml in distinguishing overdose from therapeutic use. The intrinsic qualities of this diagnostic test were good with sensitivity of 0.82 and specificity of 0.92. Compared to previous tests published with the same objective on vitreous humor and bile, this study shows that BM is a useful alternative matrix to reveal meprobamate overdose when blood, vitreous humor, and bile are not available or unusable. PMID:23400420
Buccelli, C; Della Casa, E; Paternoster, M; Niola, M; Pieri, M
Gender differences in substance use/abuse have been the focus of research in the last 15 years. Initiation, use patterns, acceleration of disease course, and help-seeking patterns are known to be influenced by gender differences with regard to biological, psychological, cultural and socioeconomic factors. This paper presents a systematic review of published data on gender differences in the use/abuse of psychoactive and psychotic drugs, focusing on the importance of a multidisciplinary approach. The basis for this paper was obtained by Medline searches using the search terms "human" and "gender", combined with individual drug names or "drugs of abuse". The reference lists of these papers were further checked for other relevant studies. The gender difference in drug abuse is more evident in adults than in adolescents (13-19 years): adult men are 2-3 times more likely than women to develop drug abuse/dependence disorders and approximately 4 times as likely to have an alcohol use disorder. Such prevalence rates have not been observed in adolescents. Differences between men and women involve: (i) the biological response to the drug, (ii) the progression to drug dependence, and (iii) the comorbid psychiatric diagnoses, which may be due to both sociocultural factors and innate biological differences. A crucial role played by ovarian hormones (oestrogens and progesterone) has been documented in both human and animal model studies. Epidemiological data on how particular psychobiological and physiological characteristics in females influence vulnerability to both drug addiction and toxicological consequences of drugs are still in their infancy. Significant gaps remain in our knowledge, which are primarily attributable to the lack of empirical data that only a systematic and multidisciplinary approach to the topic can generate. The introduction of gender into forensic toxicological evaluations may help elucidate the relationship between the body's absorption of abused drugs
Tagliaro, Franco; Bortolotti, Federica; Pascali, Jennifer P
The current application of capillary electrophoresis in forensic toxicology has been critically reviewed with special focus on the areas where this technique has shown real advantages over chromatographic methods. For example, capillary electrophoresis has been most successfully applied to the chiral analysis of some drugs of forensic interest, including amphetamines and their congeners. Another typical application field of capillary electrophoresis is represented by protein analysis. Recently, special interest has been paid to carbohydrate deficient transferrin (CDT), the most important biological marker of chronic alcohol abuse. Other specific applications of capillary electrophoresis of potential forensic toxicological concern are also discussed. The review includes 62 references. PMID:17572886
Evison, M P; Smillie, D M; Chamberlain, A T
Specimens of human bone, teeth and dried blood spots from 3 months to 91 years old, with a variety of postmortem histories, were used in a comparative study of recovery of single-copy nuclear DNA sequences from forensic material. Sequences of the amelogenin and HLA-DPB1 genes were chosen for their value in sexing and identification. Sequences of the mitochondrial non-coding region V were also amplified to compare the recovery of mitochondrial and single-copy nuclear DNA. A variation of the silica method for DNA extraction was refined for application to the forensic specimens in this sample. Single-copy nuclear DNA was amplified from 100% of recent postoperative bone specimens (n = 6), 80% of forensic teeth and bone specimens (n = 10), 78% of recently extracted teeth (n = 18), 78% of exhumed bone up to 91 years old (n = 37) and 69% of 15 year old bone specimens fixed in 10% formalin (n = 20). Amelogenin sexing was correct in 85% of cases (n = 74) in which the sex of the donor had been recorded. There was no correlation between the age of the specimen and the extent of DNA preservation. PMID:9397544
Sundström, M; Jones, A W; Ojanperä, I
Use and abuse of alcohol are common findings when unnatural deaths are investigated as evidenced by high blood- and urine- alcohol concentrations (BAC and UAC) at autopsy. Because ethanol is metabolized in the liver until the time of death, the autopsy BAC or UAC might be negative even though the deceased had consumed alcohol in the immediate ante-mortem period. Analysis of the non-oxidative metabolite of ethanol [ethyl glucuronide (EtG)] offers a more sensitive test of recent drinking. In this paper, we determined the concentrations of ethanol and EtG in urine samples from 972 consecutive forensic autopsies. In 425 cases (44%) both EtG and ethanol were positive, which supports ante-mortem drinking. In 342 cases (35%), both EtG and ethanol was negative, which speaks against any consumption of alcohol just before death. In 181 cases, ethanol was negative in urine (<0.2 g/kg), whereas EtG was positive (>0.5 mg/L), which points towards ingestion of alcohol some time before death. In these cases, mean and median concentrations of EtG were 53.2 mg/L and 23.7 mg/L, respectively, although there was no mention of alcohol on 131 of the death certificates. Alcohol was mentioned on death certificates as an underlying or immediate cause of death or a contributing factor in 435 (45%) cases, which rose to 566 (58%) cases when positive EtG results were included. This article demonstrates the usefulness of EtG analysis in routine post-mortem toxicology when ante-mortem drinking and alcohol-related deaths are investigated. PMID:24954799
Kerrigan, Sarah; Savage, Megan; Cavazos, Cassandra; Bella, Paige
The synthetic cathinones represent an important class of designer drugs. The widespread attention and publicity associated with these psychostimulants have resulted in numerous legislative actions at state and federal levels throughout the USA. These amphetamine-like compounds are characterized by a β-keto functional group. Although the synthetic cathinones share many properties of their phenethylamine counterparts, the presence of the ketone moiety is responsible for a number of unique and distinct differences in terms of their chemical characteristics and properties. Thermal degradation of methcathinone was first reported several decades ago but has received limited attention. In this study, we identified in situ thermal degradation products for 18 cathinones during gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis. Oxidative degradation arises from the loss of two hydrogens, yielding a characteristic 2 Da mass shift. Degradation products were characterized by prominent iminium base peaks with mass-to-charge ratios 2 Da lower than the parent drug, and in the case of the pyrrolidine-containing cathinones, prominent molecular ions arising from the 2,3-enamine. Chromatographic and mass spectroscopic data are described for 4-ethylmethcathinone, 4-methylethcathinone, buphedrone, butylone, ethcathinone, ethylone, flephedrone, 3,4-methylenedioxy-α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone, 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone, mephedrone, methcathinone, methedrone, methylone, 4-methyl-α-pyrrolidinobutiophenone, naphyrone, pentedrone, pentylone and pyrovalerone. Degradation was minimized by lowering injection temperatures, residence time in the inlet and eliminating active sites during chromatographic analysis. Chromatographic and mass spectral data for the cathinone degradation products are presented and discussed within the context of forensic toxicological analysis, selection of appropriate instrumental methods and implications for the interpretation of results. PMID:26294756
Deeb, Shaza; McKeown, Denise A; Torrance, Hazel J; Wylie, Fiona M; Logan, Barry K; Scott, Karen S
In recent years, there has been a growth in reports of antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) being misused on their own or in combination with other drugs of abuse in a variety of toxicological case types such as drug abuse, suicide, overdose and drug facilitated crime. To our knowledge, there are no simultaneous quantification methods for the analysis of the most commonly encountered AEDs in postmortem whole blood and clinical plasma/serum samples at the same time. A simple, accurate and cost-effective liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometric (LC-MS-MS) method has been developed and validated for the simultaneous quantification of carbamazepine (CBZ) and its metabolite CBZ-10,11-epoxide, eslicarbazepine acetate, oxcarbazepine and S-licarbazepine as a metabolite, gabapentin, lacosamide, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, pregabalin, phenobarbital, phenytoin and its metabolite 5-(p-hydroxyphenyl)-5-phenylhydantoin, retigabine (ezogabine) and its metabolite N-acetyl retigabine, rufinamide, stiripentol, topiramate, tiagabine, valproic acid, vigabatrin and zonisamide in postmortem whole blood, serum and plasma which would be suitable for routine forensic toxicological analysis and therapeutic drug monitoring. All AEDs were detected and quantified within 17 min without endogenous interferences. The correlation coefficient (R(2)) was >0.995 for all AEDs with accuracy ranging from 90 to 113% and precision <13% for all analytes. The recovery ranged from 70 to 98%. No carryover was observed in a blank control injected after the highest standard and the matrix effect was acceptable and ranged from 90 to 120%. The method has been successfully verified using authentic case samples that had previously been quantified using different methods. PMID:25217536
Hammer, U; Boy, D; Rothaupt, D; Büttner, A
The external examination after death requires knowledge in forensics/pathology, dermatology, as well as associated diseases and age-related alterations of the skin. This article highlights some findings with forensic evidence versus dermatological findings. The lectures in forensic medicine should be structured interdisciplinarily, especially to dermatology, internal medicine, surgery, pathology, and toxicology in order to train the overlapping skills required for external and internal postmortem examinations. PMID:26048487
Bernhard, Werner; Keller, Thomas; Regenscheit, Priska
The IMS (Ion Mobility Spectroscopy) instrument 'Ionscan' takes advantage of the fact that trace quantities of illicit drugs are adsorbed on dust particles on clothes, in cars and on other items of evidence. The dust particles are collected on a membrane filter by a special attachment on a vacuum cleaner. The sample is then directly inserted into the spectrometer and can be analyzed immediately. We show casework applications of a forensic chemistry and toxicology laboratory. One new application of IMS in forensic chemistry is the detection of psilocybin in dried mushrooms without any further sample preparation.
Dinis-Oliveira, Ricardo Jorge; Magalhães, Teresa
The low rates of reporting, prosecution and conviction that characterize sexual assault, is likely even more evident in drug-facilitated cases. Typically, in these crimes, victims are incapacitated and left unable to resist sexual advances, unconscious, unable to fight off the abuser or to say "no" and unable to clearly remember the circumstances surrounding the events due to anterograde amnesia. The consequence is the delay in performing toxicological analysis aggravated by the reluctance of the victim to disclose the crime. Moreover since "date rape drugs" are often consumed with ethanol and exhibit similar toxicodynamic effects, the diagnosis is erroneously performed as being classical ethanol intoxication. Therefore, it is imperative to rapidly consider toxicological analysis in drug-facilitated sexual assaults. The major focus of this review is to harmonize practical approaches and guidelines to rapidly uncover drug-facilitated sexual assault, namely issues related to when to perform toxicological analysis, toxicological requests, samples to be collected, storage, preservation and transport precautions and xenobiotics or endobiotics to be analyzed. PMID:23581559
Comment, Lionel; Reggiani Bonetti, Luca; Mangin, Patrice; Palmiere, Cristian
In the realm of forensic pathology, β-tryptase measurement for diagnostic purposes is performed in postmortem serum obtained from femoral blood. This may be partially or completely unavailable in some specific cases, such as infant autopsies and severely damaged bodies. The aim of this study was to investigate the usefulness of determining β-tryptase levels for diagnostic purposes in alternative biological samples. Urine, vitreous humor and pericardial fluid were selected and measured in 94 subjects including: fatal anaphylaxis following contrast material administration (6 cases), hypothermia (10 cases), diabetic ketoacidosis (10 cases), gunshot suicide (10 cases), heroin injection-related deaths (18 cases), trauma (10 cases), sudden death with minimal coronary atherosclerosis (10 cases), severe coronary atherosclerosis without myocardial infarction (10 cases) and severe coronary atherosclerosis with myocardial infarction (10 cases). Postmortem serum and pericardial fluid β-tryptase levels higher than the clinical reference value (11.4ng/ml) were systematically identified in fatal anaphylaxis following contrast material administration and 6 cases unrelated to anaphylaxis. β-tryptase concentrations in urine and vitreous humor were lower than the clinical reference value in all cases included in this study. Determination of β-tryptase in pericardial fluid appears to be a possible alternative to postmortem serum in the early postmortem period when femoral blood cannot be collected during autopsy and biochemical investigations are required to objectify increased β-tryptase levels. PMID:24795293
Guale, Fessessework; Shahreza, Shahriar; Walterscheid, Jeffrey P.; Chen, Hsin-Hung; Arndt, Crystal; Kelly, Anna T.; Mozayani, Ashraf
Liquid chromatography time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC–TOF-MS) analysis provides an expansive technique for identifying many known and unknown analytes. This study developed a screening method that utilizes automated solid-phase extraction to purify a wide array of analytes involving stimulants, benzodiazepines, opiates, muscle relaxants, hypnotics, antihistamines, antidepressants and newer synthetic “Spice/K2” cannabinoids and cathinone “bath salt” designer drugs. The extract was applied to LC–TOF-MS analysis, implementing a 13 min chromatography gradient with mobile phases of ammonium formate and methanol using positive mode electrospray. Several common drugs and metabolites can share the same mass and chemical formula among unrelated compounds, but they are structurally different. In this method, the LC–TOF-MS was able to resolve many isobaric compounds by accurate mass correlation within 15 ppm mass units and a narrow retention time interval of less than 10 s of separation. Drug recovery yields varied among spiked compounds, but resulted in overall robust area counts to deliver an average match score of 86 when compared to the retention time and mass of authentic standards. In summary, this method represents a rapid, enhanced screen for blood and urine specimens in postmortem, driving under the influence, and drug facilitated sexual assault forensic toxicology casework. PMID:23118149
Dabbs, Gretchen R
This study examines the correlation between site-specific and retrospectively collected temperature data from the National Weather Service (NWS) over an extended time period. Using iButtonLink thermochrons (model DS1921G), hourly temperature readings were collected at 15 sites (1 validation; 14 experimental) from December 2010 to January 2012. Comparison between the site-specific temperature data and data retrieved from an official reporter of NWS temperature data shows statistically significant differences between the two in 71.4% (10/14) of cases. The difference ranged between 0.04 and 2.81°C. Examination of both regression and simple adjustment of the mean difference over extended periods (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, & 9 months) suggests that on the timescale typical in forensic anthropology cases neither method of correction is consistent or reliable and that forensic anthropologists would be better suited using uncorrected NWS temperature data when the postmortem interval is extended. PMID:25678225
Musshoff, Frank; Kirschbaum, Katrin M; Madea, Burkhard
The authors report on two cases of suspected Munchausen by proxy syndrome. In a 3-year-old boy, clinical toxicological analyses produced suspicious clues that an antidepressant had been administered, which could not be verified by forensic toxicological investigations. In a 13-month-old boy, the mother was also suspected of having poisoned the child. Initial clinical toxicological examinations failed to explain the observed symptoms (unclear unconsciousness, narrowed pupils). While in the first case, the incorrect interpretation of findings by a laboratory without forensic experience resulted in suspicions against the mother, the cause for the observed symptoms in the second case could be proved by complex analyses not performed before and the suspicion that the clinical picture had been intentionally brought about could be cleared up (use of an antitussive containing clobutinol). The two reports show that especially in cases with a potential forensic background, adequately qualified forensic laboratories with a broad spectrum of analytical methods should be involved. PMID:19216366
Michiue, Tomomi; Sogawa, Nozomi; Ishikawa, Takaki; Maeda, Hitoshi
Previous studies demonstrated possible application of postmortem quantitative CT data analysis of the heart and lung in situ to investigate terminal cardiopulmonary pathophysiology. The present study analyzed virtual CT morphometric and autopsy data of the heart to investigate terminal central congestion in forensic autopsy cases (n=113, within 3 days postmortem); the virtual total heart weight in situ was estimated using CT morphometry, and the difference from and ratio to the measured weight at autopsy were calculated as indicators of heart blood pooling and the cardiac dilatation index (CDI) before dissection, respectively. There were substantial differences between the estimated heart blood pooling in situ and volume recovered at autopsy, including a characteristic decrease in drowning, alcohol/sedative-hypnotic intoxication and sudden cardiac death (SCD), possibly due to blood redistribution after thoracic dissection. The estimated in situ heart blood pool and CDI values were higher in SCD but lower in fatal hemorrhage and hemopericardium, as well as in acute mechanical asphyxiation and hyperthermia (heatstroke). In addition, there was a significant difference in heart blood pooling between mechanical asphyxiation or drowning and SCD. The CDI was significantly lower in fatal hyperthermia (heatstroke) than in drowning, fatal methamphetamine abuse, alcohol/sedative-hypnotic intoxication and SCD. These findings suggest the usefulness of applying the CDI and postmortem heart blood volume in situ as supplementary indicators of terminal central congestion, especially for investigating deaths from hemorrhage, hemopericardium, hyperthermia (heatstroke) and SCD. PMID:27115507
Berger, Florian; Steuer, Andrea E; Rentsch, Katharina; Gascho, Dominic; Stamou, Stamatios; Schärli, Sarah; Thali, Michael J; Krämer, Thomas; Flach, Patricia M
A case of fatal poisoning by ingesting formic acid, diphenhydramine, and ethanol by a 25-year-old woman who committed suicide is presented. Prior to autopsy, postmortem computed tomography and postmortem magnetic resonance tomography were performed and revealed severe damage to the stomach, the left thoracic wall, and parts of the liver. Imaging detected acid-induced fluid-fluid level within the thoracic cavity (fat-equivalent fluid and necrotic pleural effusion). This case report illustrates that postmortem cross-sectional imaging may facilitate dissection of severely damaged or complex regions, and may provide additional information compared to autopsy and toxicological examinations alone. PMID:27427196
Remane, Daniela; Wissenbach, Dirk K; Peters, Frank T
Liquid chromatography (LC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) or tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) is a well-established and widely used technique in clinical and forensic toxicology as well as doping control especially for quantitative analysis. In recent years, many applications for so-called multi-target screening and/or quantification of drugs, poisons, and or their metabolites in biological matrices have been developed. Such methods have proven particularly useful for analysis of so-called new psychoactive substances that have appeared on recreational drug markets throughout the world. Moreover, the evolvement of high resolution MS techniques and the development of data-independent detection modes have opened new possibilities for applications of LC-(MS/MS) in systematic toxicological screening analysis in the so called general unknown setting. The present paper will provide an overview and discuss these recent developments focusing on the literature published after 2010. PMID:27452180
Nishi, Katsuji; Tanegashima, Akio; Yamamoto, Yoshio; Ushiyama, Ikuko; Ikemoto, Keiko; Yamasaki, Shigeru; Nishimura, Akiyoshi; Rand, Steven; Brinkmann, Bernd
We have investigated the deposition of glycoconjugates in human brain tissue with or without brain disorders. In this review we describe the application of lectin-histochemistry techniques to forensic neuropathology. Lectin staining is able to reveal several kinds of carbohydrate-related depositions in addition to the conventional degenerative changes including senile plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and corpora amylacea. The senile plaques and neurofibrillary tangles were clearly stained by Con A, PSA and GSI lectins, the corpora amylacea which is relevant to repeated brain hypoxia and mitochondrial damage was also easily detected by these and many other kinds of lectins. Amorphous spaces were detected around blood vessels and independently from blood vessels by lectin staining in the white matter from patients with brain disorders or severe edema. The white matter lesions were not considered relevant for forensic pathology, until a large group of cerebral white matter lesions were detected in the elderly with increasing frequency by modern neuro-imaging methods. The spherical deposits were newly detected by lectin staining in the molecular layer of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation chiefly from patients with schizophrenia or cognitive dysfunctions. PMID:14568771
In opening the paper, the authors present a brief outline of the fundamentals of nuclear magnetic resonance. Using selected cases from practice, they demonstrate the use of nuclear magnetic resonance for the purpose of forensic toxicologic analysis. The method is particularly suitable for identifying unknown organic compounds and for analysing mixtures of substances. PMID:1242821
On the 30th of April 1943 the waterlogged body of Major William Martin of the Royal Marines drifted toward the shores of the Spanish Atlantic-coast city of Huelva after having been floated from a British submarine. A train of events was set into motion, which helped to change the course of the war. Major Martin, although dead, played a key role in the allied deception operation code-named Mincemeat. Operation Mincemeat has been the subject of several books and a motion picture. The crucial postmortem examination of Major Martin conducted by the Spanish authorities has received surprisingly little attention in the general intelligence literature and details of the medical aspects have to our knowledge never been examined. This article is, in a manner of speaking, a postmortem itself. The events happened 65 years ago and although new material is presented, the interpretation of its significance in the context of the known facts may convince some readers but not others. Nevertheless, we hope that this literary postmortem will fascinate intelligence and medical professionals alike and contribute to the medical and intelligence history of World War II. PMID:19216304
Amendt, Jens; Krettek, Roman; Zehner, Richard
Necrophagous insects are important in the decomposition of cadavers. The close association between insects and corpses and the use of insects in medicocriminal investigations is the subject of forensic entomology. The present paper reviews the historical background of this discipline, important postmortem processes, and discusses the scientific basis underlying attempts to determine the time interval since death. Using medical techniques, such as the measurement of body temperature or analysing livor and rigor mortis, time since death can only be accurately measured for the first two or three days after death. In contrast, by calculating the age of immature insect stages feeding on a corpse and analysing the necrophagous species present, postmortem intervals from the first day to several weeks can be estimated. These entomological methods may be hampered by difficulties associated with species identification, but modern DNA techniques are contributing to the rapid and authoritative identification of necrophagous insects. Other uses of entomological data include the toxicological examination of necrophagous larvae from a corpse to identify and estimate drugs and toxicants ingested by the person when alive and the proof of possible postmortem manipulations. Forensic entomology may even help in investigations dealing with people who are alive but in need of care, by revealing information about cases of neglect.
Belsey, S L; Flanagan, R J
The results of biochemical analyses in specimens obtained postmortem may aid death investigation when diabetic and alcoholic ketoacidosis is suspected, when death may have been the result of drowning, anaphylaxis, or involved a prolonged stress response such as hypothermia, and in the diagnosis of disease processes such as inflammation, early myocardial infarction, or sepsis. There is often cross-over with different disciplines, in particular with clinical and forensic toxicology, since some endogenous substances such as sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and insulin can be used as poisons. The interpretation of results is often complicated because of the likelihood of postmortem change in analyte concentration or activity, and proper interpretation must take into account all the available evidence. The unpredictability of postmortem changes means that use of biochemical measurements in time of death estimation has little value. The use of vitreous humour is beneficial for many analytes as the eye is in a physically protected environment, this medium may be less affected by autolysis or microbial metabolism than blood, and the assays can be performed with due precaution using standard clinical chemistry analysers. However, interpretation of results may not be straightforward because (i) defined reference ranges in life are often lacking, (ii) there is a dearth of knowledge regarding, for example, the speed of equilibration of many analytes between blood, vitreous humour, and other fluids that may be sampled, and (iii) the effects of post-mortem change are difficult to quantify because of the lack of control data. A major limitation is that postmortem vitreous glucose measurements are of no help in diagnosing antemortem hypoglycaemia. PMID:27131037
Phillips, Genevieve; Reith, Frank; Qualls, Clifford; Ali, Abdul-Mehdi; Spilde, Mike; Appenzeller, Otto
Background Trace metal analyses in hair are used in archeological, forensic and toxicological investigations as proxies for metabolic processes. We show metallophilic bacteria mediating the deposition of gold (Au), used as tracer for microbial activity in hair post mortem after burial, affecting results of such analyses. Methodology/Principal Findings Human hair was incubated for up to six months in auriferous soils, in natural soil columns (Experiment 1), soils amended with mobile Au(III)-complexes (Experiment 2) and the Au-precipitating bacterium Cupriavidus metallidurans (Experiment 3), in peptone-meat-extract (PME) medium in a culture of C. metallidurans amended with Au(III)-complexes (Experiment 4), and in non-auriferous soil (Experiment 5). Hair samples were analyzed using scanning electron microscopy, confocal microscopy and inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. In Experiments 1–4 the Au content increased with time (P = 0.038). The largest increase was observed in Experiment 4 vs. Experiment 1 (mean = 1188 vs. 161 µg Kg−1, Fisher's least significance 0.001). The sulfur content, a proxy for hair metabolism, remained unchanged. Notably, the ratios of Au-to-S increased with time (linear trend P = 0.02) and with added Au and bacteria (linear trend, P = 0.005), demonstrating that larger populations of Au-precipitating bacteria and increased availability of Au increased the deposition of Au on the hair. Conclusion/Significance Interactions of soil biota with hair post mortem may distort results of hair analyses, implying that metal content, microbial activities and the duration of burial must be considered in the interpretation of results of archeological, forensic and toxicological hair analyses, which have hitherto been proxies for pre-mortem metabolic processes. PMID:20174476
Stemberga, Valter; Petaros, Anja; Kovacevic, Damir; Coklo, Miran; Simicevic, Neven; Bosnar, Alan
Visual impairment, mostly due to cataracts, has been demonstrated to be an important factor associated with traffic accidents. Although vision screening is standard procedure during licensing in order to prevent motor vehicle accidents, an eye exam is not typically administered after an accident has already occurred. Postmortem assessment of lens opacity in victims of car accidents would provide helpful information for attesting to the liability of the parties in specific accidents, determining the circumstances of the accident, and developing preventive measures for both drivers and pedestrians alike. In this paper, we explore the use of different methods and their limitations for assessing lens opacity postmortem. We discuss the possible use and benefits of a simple, but as-yet untested method: retrobulbar translucency. The method would be based on the recording of shadows formed by opaque regions of the lens while the eye is illuminated from the back with a rigid source of light. The efficacy and objectivity of the method, its reproducibility, and the inter- and intra-observer error should be tested before implementing such a technique to be regularly used to determine lens opacity in cadavers. PMID:24237839
Jones, A W
This article presents review and opinion about the use and abuse of journal impact factors for judging the importance and prestige of scientific journals in the field of forensic science and toxicology. The application of impact factors for evaluating the published work of individual scientists is also discussed. The impact factor of a particular journal is calculated by dividing the number of current year citations to a journal's articles that were published in the previous 2 years by the total number of citable items (articles and reviews) published in the same 2-year period. Journal impact factors differ from discipline to discipline and range from 0 for a journal whose articles are not cited in the previous 2 years to 46 for a journal where the average recent article is cited 46 times per year. The impact factor reflects the citation rate of the average article in a journal and not a specific article. Many parameters influence the citation rate of a particular journal's articles and, therefore, its impact factor. These include the visibility and size of the circulation of the journal including availability of electronic formats and options for on-line search and retrieval. Other things to consider are editorial standards especially rapid and effective peer-reviewing and a short time lag between acceptance and appearance in print. The number of self-citations and citation density (the ratio of references to articles) and also the inclusion of many review articles containing hundreds of references to recently published articles will boost the impact factor. Judging the importance of a scientist's work based on the average or median impact factor of the journals used to publish articles is not recommended. Instead an article-by-article citation count should be done, but this involves much more time and effort. Moreover, some weighting factor is necessary to allow for the number of co-authors on each article and the relative positioning of the individual names
Although being a relatively old phenomenon, drug-facilitated crime has been well described over the past 20 years as being the administration without the knowledge of the victim of a psychoactive substance in criminal purposes (rape, robbery, theft, money extortion, even murder). Drug-facilitated crime involves also mistreatment of older people or children treated by their parents in order to obtain sedation. Drug-facilitated crimes are often difficult to solve mainly due to analytical issues. Since 10 years, we developed and improved specific methods using LC-MS/MS (benzodiazepines, neuroleptics) and GC-MS/MS (GHB, cannabis) to detect the drugs involved in such crimes. After the intake of a low dosage of a particular drug, those methods allow to detect the analyte of interest up to 3-5 days in blood, 10-15 days in urine, and more than 1 year in hair. In drug-facilitated crime cases, blood and urine are frequently collected too late, more than 12 h after the drug intake and in some cases with a delay greater than 48 h after the event. Thus, the most used molecules are undetectable by the techniques classically used in a laboratory of biology. Moreover, a "good" compound that can be used to commit a drug-facilitated crime usually possesses a short elimination half-life and amnesic properties, so that the victim is less able to accurately recall the circumstances under which the offence occurred. The recent progress in analytical toxicology, particularly for laboratories working in the field of forensic toxicology, permits to elucidate many cases of drug-facilitated crimes. Heaven to the introduction of the sequential analysis of hair and the use of sophisticated analytical techniques such as tandem mass-spectrometry for the toxicologist to bring the scientific proof to the applicant authorities in the description of the criminal act and to confuse the offender. The author presents the results of 583 presumed cases of drug-facilitated crimes analyzed by his
Chen, Jian-Hua; Inamori-Kawamoto, Osamu; Michiue, Tomomi; Ikeda, Sayuko; Ishikawa, Takaki; Maeda, Hitoshi
Previous studies suggested possible application of postmortem biochemistry of myocardial biomarkers to the investigation of sudden cardiac death; however, differences from clinical findings should be considered in autopsy materials. The present study involved a comprehensive investigation of cardiac troponin T and I (cTnT and cTnI), and creatine kinase MB (CK-MB) in cardiac and peripheral external iliac venous blood, pericardial fluid (PCF) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) for reassessment, with special regard to the estimated postmortem interval in relation to the cause of death, reviewing a large number of forensic autopsy cases (n=1923). These cardiac biomarkers showed cause-of-death- and postmortem-time-dependent differences: blood and PCF levels of each marker were higher in hyperthermia (heatstroke), bathwater drowning and chronic congestive heart disease in cases of postmortem interval (PMI) <12h. After 12h postmortem, these markers were also higher in fatal drug abuse, spontaneous cerebral/subarachnoid bleeding, electrocution and pulmonary embolism. In addition, most other causes of death, including ischemic heart disease, showed substantial elevations, while these markers remained low in acute hemorrhagic death from sharp instrument injury, hypothermia (cold exposure) and sea-/freshwater drowning during PMI of <48h. CSF cTnI and CK-MB showed similar findings. There was no difference between myocardial infarction and other causes of death to be discriminated, including asphyxiation, drowning and fire fatality. These findings are similar to clinical observations in critical ill patients, suggesting that elevated cardiac biomarkers cannot be a specific finding for death from acute ischemic heart disease, but indicate the severity of myocardial injury in postmortem investigation. PMID:26052007
Toennes, S W; Kauert, G F
The enzymatic degradation of cocaine in blood samples, even during transport to a forensic laboratory, is a common problem in toxicological analysis. This can be avoided by the use of blood-sampling devices such as gray-top Vacutainers containing the cholinesterase inhibitor sodium fluoride. In the present study, which included 147 authentic cases, blood samples were collected into two different tubes, one containing fluoride/oxalate and one without stabilizing agents. In all cases, both samples were analyzed for drugs of abuse using Abbott FPIA immunoassays after precipitation and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for quantitative analysis. The cannabinoid immunoassay showed markedly lower values in the fluoride-containing samples; this was investigated further and could be explained by hemolysis of these samples. In addition, the concentrations of 11-nor-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol-9-carboxylic acid (THCCOOH) were lower in these samples. A stability study with the THCCOOH acyl glucuronide showed that it is unstable in unpreserved serum, which could explain our observation. GC-MS quantitative data for amphetamine and derivatives, opiates, delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol, and 11-hydroxy-delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol were essentially identical; however, they also differed substantially for cocaine, cocaethylene, ecgonine methylester, and benzoylecgonine. Unexpectedly, the concentrations of benzoylecgonine in unpreserved serum were almost half as high as in the fluoride-containing samples. PMID:11499888
Schaefer, Nadine; Wojtyniak, Jan-Georg; Kettner, Mattias; Schlote, Julia; Laschke, Matthias W; Ewald, Andreas H; Lehr, Thorsten; Menger, Michael D; Maurer, Hans H; Schmidt, Peter H
Synthetic cannabinoids (SCs) are gaining increasing importance in clinical and forensic toxicology. They are consumed without any preclinical safety studies. Thus, controlled human pharmacokinetic (PK) studies are not allowed, although being relevant for interpretation of analytical results in cases of misuse or poisoning. As alternative, in a controlled animal experiment, six pigs per drug received a single intravenous dose of 200μg/kg BW each of Δ(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), 4-ethylnaphthalen-1-yl-(1-pentylindol-3-yl)methanone (JWH-210), or 2-(4-methoxyphenyl)-1-(1-pentyl-indol-3-yl)methanone (RCS-4). In addition, six pigs received a combination of the three drugs with the identical dose each. The drugs were determined in serum using LC-MS/MS. A population (pop) PK analysis revealed that a three-compartment model described best the PK data of all three cannabinoids. Central volumes of distribution were estimated at 0.29L/kg, 0.20L/kg, and 0.67L/kg for THC, JWH-210, and RCS-4, respectively. Clearances were 0.042L/min/kg, 0.048L/min/kg, and 0.093L/min/kg for THC, JWH-210, and RCS-4, respectively. The popPK THC pig model was upscaled to humans using allometric techniques. Comparison with published human data revealed that the concentration-time profiles could successfully be predicted. These findings indicate that pigs in conjunction with PK modeling technique may serve as a tool for prediction of human PK of SCs. PMID:27113702
Grapp, Marcel; Maurer, Hans H; Desel, Herbert
Non-targeted screening of body fluids for psychoactive agents is an essential task for forensic toxicology. The challenge is the identification of xenobiotics of interest from background noise and endogenous matrix components. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the use of an Automated Mass Spectral Deconvolution and Identification System (AMDIS) for gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) based toxicological serum screening. One hundred fifty serum samples submitted to the authors´ laboratory for systematic forensic toxicological analysis underwent GC-MS screening after neutral and basic liquid-liquid extraction. Recorded datasets were routinely evaluated both by experienced personnel and automatically using the AMDIS software combined with the Maurer/Pfleger/Weber GC-MS library MPW_2011. The results from manual and automated data evaluation were then systematically compared. AMDIS parameters for data deconvolution and substance identification had been successfully adapted to the GC-MS screening procedure in serum. The number of false positive hits could substantially be reduced without increasing the risk of overlooking relevant compounds. With AMDIS-based data evaluation, additional drugs were identified in 25 samples (17%) that had not been detected by manual data evaluation. Importantly, among these drugs, there were frequently prescribed and toxicologically relevant antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs such as citalopram, mirtazapine, quetiapine, or venlafaxine. For most of the identified drugs, their serum concentrations were in the therapeutic or subtherapeutic range. Thus, our study indicated that automated data evaluation by AMDIS provided reliable screening results. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:26333204
Steger, Julia; Arnhard, Kathrin; Haslacher, Sandra; Geiger, Klemens; Singer, Klaus; Schlapp, Michael; Pitterl, Florian; Oberacher, Herbert
Forensic toxicology and environmental water analysis share the common interest and responsibility in ensuring comprehensive and reliable confirmation of drugs and pharmaceutical compounds in samples analyzed. Dealing with similar analytes, detection and identification techniques should be exchangeable between scientific disciplines. Herein, we demonstrate the successful adaption of a forensic toxicological screening workflow employing nontargeted LC/MS/MS under data-dependent acquisition control and subsequent database search to water analysis. The main modification involved processing of an increased sample volume with SPE (500 mL vs. 1-10 mL) to reach LODs in the low ng/L range. Tandem mass spectra acquired with a qTOF instrument were submitted to database search. The targeted data mining strategy was found to be sensitive and specific; automated search produced hardly any false results. To demonstrate the applicability of the adapted workflow to complex samples, 14 wastewater effluent samples collected on seven consecutive days at the local wastewater-treatment plant were analyzed. Of the 88,970 fragment ion mass spectra produced, 8.8% of spectra were successfully assigned to one of the 1040 reference compounds included in the database, and this enabled the identification of 51 compounds representing important illegal drugs, members of various pharmaceutical compound classes, and metabolites thereof. PMID:26791338
Uekusa, Kyoko; Hayashida, Makiko; Ohno, Youkichi
Forensic toxicological drug analyses of human specimens are usually performed immediately after autopsy or on frozen preserved tissues. Occasionally, cases require analysis of drugs from tissues fixed in formalin solution. To improve the estimation of the level of drug in tissues following formalin fixation, we studied drug concentrations in human tissues, liver and kidney, that were collected from a drug-positive autopsy case. Parts of tissues were preserved in formalin solution for 1, 3, 6 and 13 months. Tissues obtained before and after preservation, along with tissue-exposed fixatives, were assayed using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry; all of the samples were assayed for the presence of drugs and changes in the drug concentrations both before and after preservation in formalin. Concentrations of assayed drugs decreased upon fixation in formalin; levels of these drugs did not necessarily show further decreases during subsequent storage in fixative, up to 13 months. Distinct trends in drug levels were found in liver and kidney. In liver, the levels of chlorpromazine, levomepromazine, and promethazine decreased to 23-39% at 1 month after preservation; all 3 of these drugs were detected at all tested time points of preservation. Bromazepam was not detected at 13 months after preservation. Milnacipran was the most unstable after preservation in formalin solution among all of the assayed drugs. In kidney, all assayed drugs exhibited reduced stability during preservation compared to levels in liver. Methamphetamine and methylenedioxymethamphetamine were not detected in any time points of tissues. The proportions of the drugs that remained within the tissues differed between liver and kidney. Also, S-oxide compounds of chlorpromazine and levomepromazine, which were not observed before preservation, were detected in fixed liver tissues and their fixatives at 3, 6 and 13 months of preservation. These results suggest that analyses in formalin-fixed tissues need to
Bynum, Nichole D; Moore, Katherine N; Grabenauer, Megan
Many forensic laboratories experience backlogs due to increased drug-related cases. Laser diode thermal desorption (LDTD) has demonstrated its applicability in other scientific areas by providing data comparable with instrumentation, such as liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, in less time. LDTD-MS-MS was used to validate 48 compounds in drug-free human urine and blood for screening or quantitative analysis. Carryover, interference, limit of detection, limit of quantitation, matrix effect, linearity, precision and accuracy and stability were evaluated. Quantitative analysis indicated that LDTD-MS-MS produced precise and accurate results with the average overall within-run precision in urine and blood represented by a %CV <14.0 and <7.0, respectively. The accuracy for all drugs in urine ranged from 88.9 to 104.5% and 91.9 to 107.1% in blood. Overall, LDTD has the potential for use in forensic toxicology but before it can be successfully implemented that there are some challenges that must be addressed. Although the advantages of the LDTD system include minimal maintenance and rapid analysis (∼10 s per sample) which makes it ideal for high-throughput forensic laboratories, a major disadvantage is its inability or difficulty analyzing isomers and isobars due to the lack of chromatography without the use of high-resolution MS; therefore, it would be best implemented as a screening technique. PMID:25217542
Son, Gi Hoon; Park, Seong Hwan; Kim, Yunmi; Kim, Ji Yeon; Kim, Jin Wook; Chung, Sooyoung; Kim, Yu-Hoon; Kim, Hyun; Hwang, Juck-Joon; Seo, Joong-Seok
Sudden cardiac death (SCD), which is primarily caused by lethal heart disorders resulting in structural and arrhythmogenic abnormalities, is one of the prevalent modes of death in most developed countries. Myocardial ischemia, mainly due to coronary artery disease, is the most common type of heart disease leading to SCD. However, postmortem diagnosis of SCD is frequently complicated by obscure histological evidence. Here, we show that certain mRNA species, namely those encoding hemoglobin A1/2 and B (Hba1/2 and Hbb, respectively) as well as pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (Pdk4), exhibit distinct postmortem expression patterns in the left ventricular free wall of SCD subjects when compared with their expression patterns in the corresponding tissues from control subjects with non-cardiac causes of death. Hba1/2 and Hbb mRNA expression levels were higher in ischemic SCD cases with acute myocardial infarction or ischemic heart disease without recent infarction, and even in cardiac death subjects without apparent pathological signs of heart injuries, than control subjects. By contrast, Pdk4 mRNA was expressed at lower levels in SCD subjects. In conclusion, we found that altered myocardial Hba1/2, Hbb, and Pdk4 mRNA expression patterns can be employed as molecular signatures of fatal cardiac dysfunction to forensically implicate SCD as the primary cause of death. PMID:24642708
This paper describes some experiments that apply the operant conditioning techniques to forensic toxicological research. These techniques may be useful in investigating the mechanisms of action, toxic symptoms, legal competence and drug metabolism associated with substance abuse such as abuse of alcohol, psychotropic drugs, narcotics, stimulants, and organic solvents. 1) Genetic research on alcohol preference in rats. We applied operant conditioning to investigate alcohol preference in rats and constructed an apparatus for the measurement of discriminated operate responses for water or alcohol reinforcement in rat. This apparatus is a modified Skinner box with a one-lever two-liquid system. Fixed ratio-10 (FR-10) schedules of reinforcement are used to increase the work of the rat before it obtains the reinforcement. The voluntary choice of water or 10% ethanol by the rat can be assessed quantitatively by measuring the lever-pushing responses. It is an extremely useful method for measuring the real alcohol preference of rats. A rat was kept in a Skinner box overnight. The numbers of responses and reinforcement for water and ethanol and the volumes of the two liquids consumed were recorded. The ratio of ethanol reinforcement was defined as the number of ethanol reinforcement to the total number of ethanol and water reinforcement. The ratio of ethanol intake was defined as the volume of ethanol consumed to the volume of water and ethanol consumed. Ethanol consumption per g body weight was calculated from the volume of ethanol consumed by the rat. We used this apparatus to investigate alcohol preference of more than 300 Wistar Albino Rats, and divided them into a high alcohol preference (HAP) group and a low alcohol preference (LAP) group. Inbreeding between littermates was conducted in each of the HAP and LAP groups. The liver tissue of each offspring was obtained and the cytosol fraction was collected and subjected to isoelectric focusing using polyacrylamide gel
Bertomeu-Sánchez, José Ramón
This paper reviews the cultural meanings, social uses and circulations of arsenic in different legal, medical and popular settings. The focus is on nineteenth-century France. In the first section, I review the advent of the Marsh test for arsenic, which is commonly regarded as a milestone in the history of toxicology. I claim that the high sensitivity of the Marsh test introduced puzzling problems for forensic doctors, the most disturbing one being the so-called 'normal arsenic.' I reconstruct early research on normal arsenic and the ensuing controversies in courts, academies and salons. A report from the French Academy of Science converted normal arsenic from a big discovery to an experimental mistake. In the next section, I study how these disturbing conclusions were perceived by toxicologists all over Europe and how normal arsenic disappeared from view by the middle of the nineteenth century. Finally, I review the return of normal arsenic thanks to Armand Gautier and Gabriel Bertrand, who introduced an innovative research framework and so prompted the displacement of arsenic from criminal toxicology to pharmacology and nutrition science. The last section will also show that the issue of normal arsenic was recaptured in public debates concerning criminal poisoning at the beginning of the twentieth century. PMID:27143271
Higgins, Denice; Rohrlach, Adam B.; Kaidonis, John; Townsend, Grant; Austin, Jeremy J.
Major advances in genetic analysis of skeletal remains have been made over the last decade, primarily due to improvements in post-DNA-extraction techniques. Despite this, a key challenge for DNA analysis of skeletal remains is the limited yield of DNA recovered from these poorly preserved samples. Enhanced DNA recovery by improved sampling and extraction techniques would allow further advancements. However, little is known about the post-mortem kinetics of DNA degradation and whether the rate of degradation varies between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA or across different skeletal tissues. This knowledge, along with information regarding ante-mortem DNA distribution within skeletal elements, would inform sampling protocols facilitating development of improved extraction processes. Here we present a combined genetic and histological examination of DNA content and rates of DNA degradation in the different tooth tissues of 150 human molars over short-medium post-mortem intervals. DNA was extracted from coronal dentine, root dentine, cementum and pulp of 114 teeth via a silica column method and the remaining 36 teeth were examined histologically. Real time quantification assays based on two nuclear DNA fragments (67 bp and 156 bp) and one mitochondrial DNA fragment (77 bp) showed nuclear and mitochondrial DNA degraded exponentially, but at different rates, depending on post-mortem interval and soil temperature. In contrast to previous studies, we identified differential survival of nuclear and mtDNA in different tooth tissues. Futhermore histological examination showed pulp and dentine were rapidly affected by loss of structural integrity, and pulp was completely destroyed in a relatively short time period. Conversely, cementum showed little structural change over the same time period. Finally, we confirm that targeted sampling of cementum from teeth buried for up to 16 months can provide a reliable source of nuclear DNA for STR-based genotyping using standard
Zhu, Bao-Li; Ishikawa, Takaki; Quan, Li; Li, Dong-Ri; Zhao, Dong; Michiue, Tomomi; Maeda, Hitoshi
There appears to be very poor investigation of postmortem serum calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) for diagnostic evidence to determine the cause of death. The aim of the present study was a comprehensive analysis of the serum levels in relation to the causes of death in routine casework. Autopsy cases (total, n=360; 5-48 h postmortem), including blunt injury (n=76), sharp injury (n=29), asphyxiation (n=42), drownings (n=28: freshwater, n=11; saltwater, n=17), fire fatalities (n=79), methamphetamine (MA) poisoning (n=8), delayed death from traumas (n=37), and acute myocardial infarction/ischemia (AMI, n=61), were examined. In total cases, there was no significant postmortem time-dependent rise in serum Ca and Mg. Both Ca and Mg levels in the heart and peripheral blood were significantly higher in saltwater drowning compared with those of the other groups. In addition, a significant elevation in the Ca level was observed in freshwater drowning and fire fatalities, and in the Mg level in fatal MA intoxication and asphyxiation. Topographic analyses suggested a rise in serum Ca and Mg due to aspirated saltwater in drowning, that in serum Ca in freshwater drowning and fire fatalities of peripheral skeletal muscle origin and that in serum Mg in MA fatality and asphyxiation of myocardial and/or peripheral origin. These markers may be useful especially for diagnosis and differentiation of salt- and freshwater drownings and may be also helpful to determine the causes of death involving skeletal muscle damage, including burns and MA intoxication. PMID:16216707
Higgins, Denice; Rohrlach, Adam B; Kaidonis, John; Townsend, Grant; Austin, Jeremy J
Major advances in genetic analysis of skeletal remains have been made over the last decade, primarily due to improvements in post-DNA-extraction techniques. Despite this, a key challenge for DNA analysis of skeletal remains is the limited yield of DNA recovered from these poorly preserved samples. Enhanced DNA recovery by improved sampling and extraction techniques would allow further advancements. However, little is known about the post-mortem kinetics of DNA degradation and whether the rate of degradation varies between nuclear and mitochondrial DNA or across different skeletal tissues. This knowledge, along with information regarding ante-mortem DNA distribution within skeletal elements, would inform sampling protocols facilitating development of improved extraction processes. Here we present a combined genetic and histological examination of DNA content and rates of DNA degradation in the different tooth tissues of 150 human molars over short-medium post-mortem intervals. DNA was extracted from coronal dentine, root dentine, cementum and pulp of 114 teeth via a silica column method and the remaining 36 teeth were examined histologically. Real time quantification assays based on two nuclear DNA fragments (67 bp and 156 bp) and one mitochondrial DNA fragment (77 bp) showed nuclear and mitochondrial DNA degraded exponentially, but at different rates, depending on post-mortem interval and soil temperature. In contrast to previous studies, we identified differential survival of nuclear and mtDNA in different tooth tissues. Furthermore histological examination showed pulp and dentine were rapidly affected by loss of structural integrity, and pulp was completely destroyed in a relatively short time period. Conversely, cementum showed little structural change over the same time period. Finally, we confirm that targeted sampling of cementum from teeth buried for up to 16 months can provide a reliable source of nuclear DNA for STR-based genotyping using standard
Tormey, William P
Newspapers devote regular space to inquests in the public interest. Accuracy in determining the causes of death is important for public health. Expert opinion features prominently in press reports and is an important channel of public education. How expert are the experts and how complex are apparently simple cases? Toxicology cases involving cannabis and stroke, 'junk food' diet, unexplained sudden death, potential drug interactions, allergy during caesarean section, and ecstacy-type drugs are used to illustrate the complexities. A template for reform is suggested to reform the Coroners Laws in Ireland to recognise the complexity of forensic toxicology and medicine. PMID:25882150
Marinetti, Laureen J; Antonides, Heather M
To date, the Toxicology Section of the Montgomery County Coroner's Office/Miami Valley Regional Crime Laboratory has identified six synthetic cathinones, commonly found in bath salt products, in 43 cases. Thirty-two cases will be reviewed here, including all of the postmortem cases, all of the human performance cases that had blood specimens submitted, and one urine-only human performance case. The following compounds have been confirmed: 3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone (MDPV), 3,4-methylenedioxymethcathinone (methylone), pyrovalerone, pentylone, alpha-pyrrolidinopentiophenone (alpha-PVP) and methedrone. The method also screens for mephedrone, butylone and 3-fluoromethcathinone. Case demographics show 42 white males and females ranging in age from 19 to 53 years. The remaining case was that of a 34-year-old Hispanic male. The 43 cases represent 17 driving under the influence, two domestic violence, four suicides, 12 overdoses, six accidents, one drug-facilitated assault and one homicide. Data will be presented on the distribution of some of these cathinones in various matrices. After review, blood concentration does not appear to predict outcome regarding fatalities or impairment. The highest MDPV concentration occurred in a suicide by hanging and the highest methylone concentration was in a driver. The confirmation method is a liquid-liquid extraction with detection by liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry using electrospray ionization in multiple reaction monitoring mode. PMID:23361867
Determination of a selection of anti-epileptic drugs and two active metabolites in whole blood by reversed phase UPLC-MS/MS and some examples of application of the method in forensic toxicology cases.
Karinen, Ritva; Vindenes, Vigdis; Hasvold, Inger; Olsen, Kirsten Midtbøen; Christophersen, Asbjørg S; Øiestad, Elisabeth
Quantitative determination of anti-epileptic drug concentrations is of great importance in forensic toxicology cases. Although the drugs are not usually abused, they are important post-mortem cases where the question of both lack of compliance and accidental or deliberate poisoning might be raised. In addition these drugs can be relevant for driving under the influence cases. A reversed phase ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method has been developed for the quantitative analysis of the anti-epileptic compounds carbamazepine, carbamazepine-10,11-epoxide, gabapentin, lamotrigine, levetiracetam, oxcarbazepine, 10-OH-carbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, pregabalin, and topiramate in whole blood, using 0.1 mL sample volume with methaqualone as internal standard. Sample preparation was a simple protein precipitation with acetonitrile and methanol. The diluted supernatant was directly injected into the chromatographic system. Separation was performed on an Acquity UPLC® BEH Phenyl column with gradient elution and a mildly alkaline mobile phase. The mass spectrometric detection was performed in positive ion mode, except for phenobarbital, and multiple reaction monitoring was used for drug quantification. The limits of quantification for the different anti-epileptic drugs varied from 0.064 to 1.26 mg/L in blood, within-day and day-to-day relative standard deviations from 2.2 to 14.7% except for phenobarbital. Between-day variation for phenobarbital was 20.4% at the concentration level of 3.5 mg/L. The biases for all compounds were within ±17.5%. The recoveries ranged between 85 and 120%. The corrected matrix effects were 88-106% and 84-110% in ante-mortem and post-mortem whole blood samples, respectively. PMID:25331692
Favretto, Donata; Pascali, Jennifer P; Tagliaro, Franco
In the recent years, new molecules have appeared in the illicit market, claimed to contain "non-illegal" compounds, although exhibiting important psychoactive effects; this heterogeneous and rapidly evolving class of compounds are commonly known as "New Psychoactive Substances" or, less properly, "Smart Drugs" and are easily distributed through the e-commerce or in the so-called "Smart Shops". They include, among other, synthetic cannabinoids, cathinones and tryptamine analogs of psylocin. Whereas cases of intoxication and death have been reported, the phenomenon appears to be largely underestimated and is a matter of concern for Public Health. One of the major points of concern depends on the substantial ineffectiveness of the current methods of toxicological screening of biological samples to identify the new compounds entering the market. These limitations emphasize an urgent need to increase the screening capabilities of the toxicology laboratories, and to develop rapid, versatile yet specific assays able to identify new molecules. The most recent advances in mass spectrometry technology, introducing instruments capable of detecting hundreds of compounds at nanomolar concentrations, are expected to give a fundamental contribution to broaden the diagnostic spectrum of the toxicological screening to include not only all these continuously changing molecules but also their metabolites. In the present paper a critical overview of the opportunities, strengths and limitations of some of the newest analytical approaches is provided, with a particular attention to liquid phase separation techniques coupled to high accuracy, high resolution mass spectrometry. PMID:23332303
Forensic chemistry is unique among chemical sciences in that its research, practice, and presentation must meet the needs of both the scientific and the legal communities. As such, forensic chemistry research is applied and derivative by nature and design, and it emphasizes metrology (the science of measurement) and validation. Forensic chemistry has moved away from its analytical roots and is incorporating a broader spectrum of chemical sciences. Existing forensic practices are being revisited as the purview of forensic chemistry extends outward from drug analysis and toxicology into such diverse areas as combustion chemistry, materials science, and pattern evidence.
Fernández-Rodríguez, Amparo; Alberola, Juan; Cohen, Marta Cecilia
Post-mortem microbiology is useful in both clinical and forensic autopsies, and allows a suspected infection to be confirmed. Indeed, it is routinely applied to donor studies in the clinical setting, as well as in sudden and unexpected death in the forensic field. Implementation of specific sampling techniques in autopsy can minimize the possibility of contamination, making interpretation of the results easier. Specific interpretation criteria for post-mortem cultures, the use of molecular diagnosis, and its fusion with molecular biology and histopathology have led to post-mortem microbiology playing a major role in autopsy. Multidisciplinary work involving microbiologists, pathologists, and forensic physicians will help to improve the achievements of post-mortem microbiology, prevent infectious diseases, and contribute to a healthier population. PMID:23195835
Morini, Luca; Vignali, Claudia; Tricomi, Paolo; Groppi, Angelo
The body of a 30-year-old woman was found in Como lake at a depth of about 120 meters in her own car after 3 years of immersion. The aim of this study was to evaluate psychoactive drugs as well as alcohol biomarkers in biological matrices. The following analyses were initially performed: GC-MS systematic toxicological analysis on biological fluids and tissues; GC-MS analysis of drugs of abuse on pubic hair; direct ethanol metabolite determination in pubic hair by LC-MS/MS. After 7 years, the samples, that had been stored at -20°C, were re-analyzed and submitted to an LC-MS/MS targeted screening method, using multiple reaction monitoring mode. These analyses detected citalopram (150-3000 ng/mL), desmethylcitalopram (50-2300 ng/mL), clotiapine (20-65 ng/mL), and ethyl glucuronide (97 pg/mg). The methods showed an acceptable reproducibility, and the concentrations of citalopram and desmethylcitalopram calculated through the two analytical techniques did not significantly differ in biological fluids. PMID:26258895
Cechner, R L; Sutheimer, C A
Efficient, accurate, secure, comprehensively audited, and legally defensible maintenance of an electronic chain-of-custody applied to a controlled-substance inventory system in a busy forensic toxicology lab (FTL) has been achieved with custom-written software which is based on a general state-change model. Prior to the use of this program we were unfortunately accustomed to being surprised by incomplete drug use documentation leading to pseudo-shortages, expired or uncertified lots, the lack of an adequate chain of custody, and the risk of legal challenges. This resulted in confusion, delays, and emergency orders, with the inevitable waste of time and money. The control strategy implemented in the INVEN subsystem of our main system, TOXLAB, is based on four principles. First, access to the drug inventory is strictly limited. Second, controlled drugs are dispersed to technical staff only when a computer-authorized request form is presented. Third, every request for addition/subtraction must be pre-authorized by the supervisor. Fourth, the program enforces a strict progression of requests and actions from one state to another and produces request, authorization and certification, and/or approval logs ready for signature at every step. This approach has given us a comprehensive, chronological record of all events involving drug inventory transactions and promises to improve resource utilization. Our system appears to fulfill the basic requirements for the legal adequacy of computer-resident data. PMID:1960978
Hishmat, Asmaa Mohammed; Michiue, Tomomi; Sogawa, Nozomi; Oritani, Shigeki; Ishikawa, Takaki; Fawzy, Irene Atef; Hashem, Mohamed Abdel Mohsen; Maeda, Hitoshi
The application of computed tomography (CT) is useful for the documentation of whole-body anatomical data on routine autopsy, virtual reconstruction of skeletal structure, objective measurements, and reassessment by repetitive analyses. In addition, CT data processing facilitates volumetric and radiographic density analyses. Furthermore, a recently developed automated analysis system markedly improved the performance and accuracy of three-dimensional (3D) reconstruction. The present study investigated virtual CT morphometry of lower limb long bones, including the femur, tibia, fibula, and first metatarsus, to estimate the sex and stature using postmortem CT data of forensic autopsy cases of Japanese over 19 years of age (total n = 259, 150 males and 109 females). Bone mass volumes, lengths, and total CT attenuation values of bilateral femurs, tibias, and fibulas correlated with the stature; however, the mean CT attenuation (HU) values showed age-dependent decreases. Correlations with the stature were similar for the lengths and mass volumes of the femur, tibia, and fibula (r = 0.77-0.85) but were higher for the mass volume of the first metatarsus (r = 0.77 for right and r = 0.58 for left). In addition, the ratio of the bone volume to the length of each bone showed the most significant sex-related differences (males > females with accuracy of 75.8-98.1 %). These findings indicate the usefulness of virtual CT morphometry of individual lower limb long bones, including volumetry, to estimate the sex and stature in identification. PMID:26156452
Kłys, Małgorzata; Rojek, Sebastian; Maciów-Głab, Martyna; Kula, Karol
Most likely, opium was the first narcotic substance discovered at the dawn of mankind. Contemporary drug abuse predominantly poses a social and clinical problem and encompasses among other aspects emergency procedures in cases of intoxication and treatment of addictions. On the other hand, this is also a problem of the judicial system, which implements the rule of apt punishment in criminal cases (rapes, robberies, drivers, production and trade in narcotic substances) and of the necessity of monitoring drug-associates deaths. In all drug-associated cases, investigative capabilities have increased with the introduction of extremely sensitive and specific analytical methods (GC-MS, LC/MS, HPLC/DAD) allowing for detection and identification of multi-component mixtures of xenobiotics found at low concentration levels in complex biological matrices. The history of the Krakow Department of Forensic Medicine dates back to the year 1877, since archival materials have been kept since that time. Isolated deaths resulting from morphine poisoning, mostly involving individuals employed in the health care sector, constituted the subject of medico-legal expert opinions starting at the beginning of the 20th century, but only the eighties did bring the need for multidirectional toxicological examinations of opiates and their metabolites in diversified biological and non-biological materials. The present report, in addition to the historical background of opiate addiction, discusses selected problems derived from published by Department reports on opiates, including cases of fatal intoxication, hair analysis of drug addicts in its various aspects, interactions in cases of poisoning and others. PMID:24847643
Li, Liangliang; Wang, Yu; Wang, Jiangfeng; Ma, Mengyun; Lai, Yue
In forensic entomology, the developmental duration and larval body length of sarcosaprophagous flies are presently the two major approaches to estimate minimal postmortem interval (PMImin). A full characterization of the developmental stages of Calliphoridae, a predominating species on corpses, is especially important for PMI estimation. Chrysomya nigripes Aubertin, which appears on the corpse mainly during the decay and the post-decay stages, is of significant value for PMImin estimation. However, there are limited detailed reports on the development of such species. Hence, this study was conducted to address the development pattern of C. nigripes, in order to provide the basic data related to PMI estimation. In this study, the larvae of C. nigripes were collected from pig carcasses that were placed in the field. The colonies were cultured at constant temperatures of 16, 20, 24, 28, and 32 (±1) °C. The biological features of C. nigripes, the developmental pattern, and the body length with time at different temperatures were studied. The results showed that the average developmental duration of the C. nigripes larvae at 20, 24, 28, and 32 (±1) °C were 608.0 ± 68.0 h, 327.0 ± 53.8 h, 254.0 ± 36.5 h, and 217.0 ± 28.0 h, respectively. There were two phases of body length increment with developmental time: growing phase and plateau phase. The maximal body length was 11-12 mm, and the relationship between body length and developmental time can be simulated using the following equation: L = a + bT + cT(2) + dT(3). The data for developmental duration and larval body length at 16 °C were not obtained. In summary, this study comprehensively studied the developmental biology of C. nigripes, which has a significant value for estimating PMI from highly decayed carcasses. PMID:26872466
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Fonseca, Suzana; Amorim, António; Costa, Heloísa Afonso; Franco, João; Porto, Maria João; Santos, Jorge Costa; Dias, Mário
Tramadol concentrations and analgesic effect are dependent on the CYP2D6 enzymatic activity. It is well known that some genetic polymorphisms are responsible for the variability in the expression of this enzyme and in the individual drug response. The detection of allelic variants described as non-functional can be useful to explain some circumstances of death in the study of post-mortem cases with tramadol. A Sanger sequencing methodology was developed for the detection of genetic variants that cause absent or reduced CYP2D6 activity, such as *3, *4, *6, *8, *10 and *12 alleles. This methodology, as well as the GC/MS method for the detection and quantification of tramadol and its main metabolites in blood samples was fully validated in accordance with international guidelines. Both methodologies were successfully applied to 100 post-mortem blood samples and the relation between toxicological and genetic results evaluated. Tramadol metabolism, expressed as its metabolites concentration ratio (N-desmethyltramadol/O-desmethyltramadol), has been shown to be correlated with the poor-metabolizer phenotype based on genetic characterization. It was also demonstrated the importance of enzyme inhibitors identification in toxicological analysis. According to our knowledge, this is the first study where a CYP2D6 sequencing methodology is validated and applied to post-mortem samples, in Portugal. The developed methodology allows the data collection of post-mortem cases, which is of primordial importance to enhance the application of these genetic tools to forensic toxicology and pathology. PMID:26926096
Best-practices approach to determination of blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at specific time points: Combination of ante-mortem alcohol pharmacokinetic modeling and post-mortem alcohol generation and transport considerations.
Cowan, Dallas M; Maskrey, Joshua R; Fung, Ernest S; Woods, Tyler A; Stabryla, Lisa M; Scott, Paul K; Finley, Brent L
Alcohol concentrations in biological matrices offer information regarding an individual's intoxication level at a given time. In forensic cases, the alcohol concentration in the blood (BAC) at the time of death is sometimes used interchangeably with the BAC measured post-mortem, without consideration for alcohol concentration changes in the body after death. However, post-mortem factors must be taken into account for accurate forensic determination of BAC prior to death to avoid incorrect conclusions. The main objective of this work was to describe best practices for relating ante-mortem and post-mortem alcohol concentrations, using a combination of modeling, empirical data and other qualitative considerations. The Widmark modeling approach is a best practices method for superimposing multiple alcohol doses ingested at various times with alcohol elimination rate adjustments based on individual body factors. We combined the selected ante-mortem model with a suggestion for an approach used to roughly estimate changes in BAC post-mortem, and then analyzed the available data on post-mortem alcohol production in human bodies and potential markers for alcohol production through decomposition and putrefaction. Hypothetical cases provide best practice approaches as an example for determining alcohol concentration in biological matrices ante-mortem, as well as potential issues encountered with quantitative post-mortem approaches. This study provides information for standardizing BAC determination in forensic toxicology, while minimizing real world case uncertainties. PMID:27041394
In postmortem toxicology, it is important to know what the usual drug level is in blood under ordinary therapy to make correct interpretations with regard to the possible occurrence of poisoning. A commonly used source is The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) list of drug concentrations providing therapeutic drug levels, usually measured in serum. In this article, published postmortem-derived blood drug reference concentration intervals were related to therapeutic serum levels of drugs from the TIAFT list to assess agreement or discrepancies with focus on the importance of postmortem redistribution. The ratio between the upper limits was evaluated. This ratio ranged from 0.13 to 11.3 for 57 compounds with a median value of 1.5. For about a third of the compounds the ratio exceeded three. There was a tendency that for highly water-soluble drugs with a low propensity for redistribution, the ratio was generally low. For example, for pentobarbital, carisoprodol, meprobamate, carbamazepine, phenazone and theophylline, the ratio ranged from 0.14 to 1.1 with a median of 0.4. For the 15 antidepressants considered, on the other hand, the ratio was relatively high, ranging from 0.6 to 4.7 (median 2.4). For antipsychotics, the ratio ranged from 0.2 to 11.3 with a median of 1.4. In conclusion, there were generally wide discrepancies between serum-based intervals as presented in the TIAFT list and published postmortem blood-based drug reference intervals. More focus on postmortem-derived intervals is encouraged, so that those that have been estimated are cited in reference publications and so that further intervals are estimated. Ultimately, a reliable database of postmortem blood-based drug reference intervals for use by the forensic community is desirable. PMID:22687764
Arthurs, Owen J; van Rijn, Rick R; Whitby, Elspeth H; Johnson, Karl; Miller, Elka; Stenzel, Martin; Watt, Andrew; Taranath, Ajay; Perry, David H
A new task force on postmortem imaging was established at the annual meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Radiology (ESPR) in Graz, Austria, in 2015. The postmortem task force is separate from the child abuse task force as it covers all aspects of fetal, neonatal and non-forensic postmortem imaging. The main focus of the task force is the guidance and standardization of non-radiographic postmortem imaging, particularly postmortem CT and postmortem MRI. This manuscript outlines the starting point of the task force, with a mission statement, outline of current experience, and short- and long-term goals. PMID:27412272
Hasegawa, Iwao; Heinemann, Axel; Jahnke, Philipp; Wilke, Nadine; Kammal, Michael; Püschel, Klaus
The presented case reports illustrate the value of post-mortem computed tomography in cases of homicide in which the body was hidden in a container or packaging material and could not be inspected directly from outside. In Case 1, the body was forced into a suitcase, which was then thrown into a flood basin. Post-mortem computed tomography (PMCT) visualized the compressed and extremely flexed body inside the suitcase as well as fractures of the left temporal bone, the left ulna and the left side of the mandible. After recovery of the body, the consequences of long-term immersion in fresh water became visible. At autopsy, a laceration in the left temporal region and a temporal bone fracture were observed. The fractures of the left ulna and the left jaw were associated with moderate hematoma. In Case 2, the body of an 11-year-old girl was retrieved from a plastic bag concealed in a garden shed. The cause of death was ligature strangulation. In the presented cases, PMCT was performed as part of the police investigations for reliable primary documentation of the contents of the containers without further manipulation. Thus the human body, its position inside the container and the presence of bone injuries could be demonstrated before opening the container. In such cases, post-mortem imaging provides reliable and rapid information to the investigating authorities before autopsy already. PMID:26548018
Levy, Angela D; Harcke, Howard Theodore; Mallak, Craig T
Multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) has emerged as an effective imaging technique to augment forensic autopsy. Postmortem change and decomposition are always present at autopsy and on postmortem MDCT because they begin to occur immediately upon death. Consequently, postmortem change and decomposition on postmortem MDCT should be recognized and not mistaken for a pathologic process or injury. Livor mortis increases the attenuation of vasculature and dependent tissues on MDCT. It may also produce a hematocrit effect with fluid levels in the large caliber blood vessels and cardiac chambers from dependent layering erythrocytes. Rigor mortis and algor mortis have no specific MDCT features. In contrast, decomposition through autolysis, putrefaction, and insect and animal predation produce dramatic alterations in the appearance of the body on MDCT. Autolysis alters the attenuation of organs. The most dramatic autolytic changes on MDCT are seen in the brain where cerebral sulci and ventricles are effaced and gray-white matter differentiation is lost almost immediately after death. Putrefaction produces a pattern of gas that begins with intravascular gas and proceeds to gaseous distension of all anatomic spaces, organs, and soft tissues. Knowledge of the spectrum of postmortem change and decomposition is an important component of postmortem MDCT interpretation. PMID:20010292
Margalho, Cláudia; Corte-Real, Francisco; López-Rivadulla, Manuel; Gallardo, Eugenia
The identification and quantitation of the main psychoactive component of Salvia divinorum (salvinorin A) in biological specimens are crucial in forensic and clinical toxicology. Despite all the efforts made, its uncontrolled abuse has increased quickly, exposing its users' health to serious risks both in the short and long term. The use of alternative biological matrices in toxicological analyzes can be advantageous as complementary postmortem samples, or in situations when neither blood nor urine can be collected; they may be useful tools in those determinations, providing important information about prior exposure. The aim of this article is to present a brief summary of legal aspects of Salvia divinorum and salvinorin A, including the methods used for the determination of the latter in biological matrices. PMID:27277872
Wille, Sarah M R; De Letter, Els A; Piette, Michel H A; Van Overschelde, Lien K; Van Peteghem, Carlos H; Lambert, Willy E
A gas chromatographic-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) method in positive ion chemical ionization mode in combination with a solid phase extraction was optimized for new-generation antidepressants and their metabolites in postmortem blood, brain tissue, and hair. Twelve antidepressants and their active metabolites (i.e., mirtazapine, viloxazine, venlafaxine, citalopram, mianserin, reboxetine, fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, sertraline, maprotiline, melitracen, paroxetine, desmethylfluoxetine, desmethylmianserin, desmethylmirtazapine, desmethylsertraline, desmethylmaprotiline, desmethylcitalopram, and didesmethylcitalopram) could be quantified. In this article, in addition to the validation of the GC-MS method, four postmortem cases are discussed to demonstrate the usefulness of the described method in forensic toxicology. In these cases, sertraline, fluoxetine, citalopram, and trazodone in combination with their active metabolites were quantified. Blood concentrations ranged from subtherapeutic to toxic concentrations, while brain to plasma ratios ranged from 0.8 to 17. Hair concentrations ranged from 0.4 to 2.5 ng/mg depending on the compound and hair segment. PMID:18839201
Palmiere, Cristian; Egger, Coraline; Grabherr, Silke; Jaton-Ogay, Katia; Greub, Gilbert
Despite the undeniable advantages of postmortem angiography, numerous questions have arisen concerning the influence that the injected contrast media may exercise on biological fluids and tissues collected for toxicological and biochemical investigations. Moreover, cardiac blood for microbiological investigations cannot be obtained post-angiography. In this study, we examined whether the peripheral blood collected prior to postmortem angiography, using percutaneous access to femoral vessels after skin surface disinfection, could be suitable for microbiological investigations when postmortem angiography with femoral vessel cannulation is also performed. A total of 66 cases were included in the study and were divided into two subgroups (angiography and bacteriology group, 33 cases and control group, 33 cases). Autopsies, histology, toxicology, bacteriology, and biochemical investigations (procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, and soluble triggering receptors expressed on myeloid cells type 1) were performed in all cases. No statistically significant differences between the two groups were noted, and identified category distribution (death unrelated to infection, true infection, false positive, and undetermined) was rather similar in both studied populations. These preliminary results suggest that postmortem angiography using a femoral approach does not constitute an impediment to the collection of peripheral blood for microbiology and vice versa. Moreover, the use of femoral blood for microbiology does not lead to an increased risk of doubtful results. PMID:25381195
Castro, André L; Dias, Mário; Reis, Flávio; Teixeira, Helena M
Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB) is an endogenous compound with a story of clinical use, since the 1960's. However, due to its secondary effects, it has become a controlled substance, entering the illicit market for recreational and "dance club scene" use, muscle enhancement purposes and drug-facilitated sexual assaults. Its endogenous context can bring some difficulties when interpreting, in a forensic context, the analytical values achieved in biological samples. This manuscript reviewed several crucial aspects related to GHB forensic toxicology evaluation, such as its post-mortem behaviour in biological samples; endogenous production values, whether in in vivo and in post-mortem samples; sampling and storage conditions (including stability tests); and cut-off reference values evaluation for different biological samples, such as whole blood, plasma, serum, urine, saliva, bile, vitreous humour and hair. This revision highlights the need of specific sampling care, storage conditions, and cut-off reference values interpretation in different biological samples, essential for proper practical application in forensic toxicology. PMID:25287794
[The analysis of the articles concerning toxicological (forensic) chemistry published in the journal "Sudebno-meditsinskaya ekspertiza (Forensic Medical Expertise)" during the period from 2004 to 2013. Part 2. The analysis and assessment of the publications, peculiarities of the development of investigations].
Orlova, A M
The author presents the results of the analysis of the publications concerning toxicological (forensic) chemistry issues published in the journal "Sudebno-meditsinskaya ekspertiza" during the period from 2004 to 2013 with their assessment making use of scientometrical methods. Special emphasis is laid on the publications devoted to the development and improvement of the approaches to the investigation into narcotic and psychotropic drugs as well as other toxic substances. Specific features of such investigations are described. PMID:27144265
Cardoza, Anthony R; Wood, James D
Forensic dental identification specialists are typically the last conventional option for postmortem identification. Forensic dental identification is most often accomplished by comparing radiographs of the decedent's teeth with the dental radiographs obtained from the dentist of the suspected victim. Unfortunately, antemortem dental radiographs are not always available. When presented with this challenge, the authors of this article have been successful in completing identifications using means other than dental radiographic comparison. PMID:26126345
Busardò, Francesco P.; Jones, Alan W.
The illicit recreational drug of abuse, γ-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a potent central nervous system depressant and is often encountered during forensic investigations of living and deceased persons. The sodium salt of GHB is registered as a therapeutic agent (Xyrem®), approved in some countries for the treatment of narcolepsy-associated cataplexy and (Alcover®) is an adjuvant medication for detoxification and withdrawal in alcoholics. Trace amounts of GHB are produced endogenously (0.5-1.0 mg/L) in various tissues, including the brain, where it functions as both a precursor and a metabolite of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Available information indicates that GHB serves as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator in the GABAergic system, especially via binding to the GABA-B receptor subtype. Although GHB is listed as a controlled substance in many countries abuse still continues, owing to the availability of precursor drugs, γ-butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4-butanediol (BD), which are not regulated. After ingestion both GBL and BD are rapidly converted into GHB (t½ ~1 min). The Cmax occurs after 20-40 min and GHB is then eliminated from plasma with a half-life of 30-50 min. Only about 1-5% of the dose of GHB is recoverable in urine and the window of detection is relatively short (3-10 h). This calls for expeditious sampling when evidence of drug use and/or abuse is required in forensic casework. The recreational dose of GHB is not easy to estimate and a concentration in plasma of ~100 mg/L produces euphoria and disinhibition, whereas 500 mg/L might cause death from cardiorespiratory depression. Effective antidotes to reverse the sedative and intoxicating effects of GHB do not exist. The poisoned patients require supportive care, vital signs should be monitored and the airways kept clear in case of emesis. After prolonged regular use of GHB tolerance and dependence develop and abrupt cessation of drug use leads to unpleasant
Lacassie, E; Marquet, P; Gaulier, J M; Dreyfuss, M F; Lachâtre, G
Original and sensitive multiresidue methods are presented for the detection and quantitation, in human biological matrices, of 61 pesticides of toxicological significance in human. These methods involved rapid solid-phase extraction using new polymeric support (HLB and MCX) OASIS cartridges. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was used for volatile (organophosphate, organochlorine, phtalimide, uracil) pesticides and liquid chromatography-ionspray-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) for thermolabile and polar pesticides (carbamates, benzimidazoles). Acquisition was performed in the selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. Extraction recovery varied owing to the nature of pesticides, but was satisfactory for all. Limits of detection (LODs) and limits of quantitation (LOQs) ranged, respectively, from 2.5 to 20 and from 5 to 50ng/ml. An excellent linearity was observed from LOQs up to 1000ng/ml for all the pesticides studied. The proposed procedures yielded reproducible results with good inter-assay accuracy and precision. A few cases of intoxication are presented to demonstrate the diagnostic interest of these methods: in two cases were determined lethal concentrations of endosulfan and carbofuran; in four other cases, the procedures helped diagnose intoxication with, respectively, parathion-ethyl, the association of bromacil and strychnine, bifenthrin and aldicarb. PMID:11516896
Froidevaux, Pascal; Bochud, François; Baechler, Sébastien; Castella, Vincent; Augsburger, Marc; Bailat, Claude; Michaud, Katarzyna; Straub, Marietta; Pecchia, Marco; Jenk, Theo M; Uldin, Tanya; Mangin, Patrice
The late president of the Palestinian Authority, Yasser Arafat, died in November 2004 in Percy Hospital, one month after having experienced a sudden onset of symptoms that included severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pain and which were followed by multiple organ failure. In spite of numerous investigations performed in France, the pathophysiological mechanisms at the origin of the symptoms could not be identified. In 2011, we found abnormal levels of polonium-210 ((210)Po) in some of Arafat's belongings that were worn during his final hospital stay and which were stained with biological fluids. This finding led to the exhumation of Arafat's remains in 2012. Significantly higher (up to 20 times) activities of (210)Po and lead-210 ((210)Pb) were found in the ribs, iliac crest and sternum specimens compared to reference samples from the literature (p-value <1%). In all specimens from the tomb, (210)Po activity was supported by a similar activity of (210)Pb. Biokinetic calculations demonstrated that a (210)Pb impurity, as identified in a commercial source of 3MBq of (210)Po, may be responsible for the activities measured in Arafat's belongings and remains 8 years after his death. The absence of myelosuppression and hair loss in Mr Arafat's case compared to Mr Litvinenko's, the only known case of malicious poisoning with (210)Po, could be explained by differences in the time delivery-scheme of intake. In conclusion, statistical Bayesian analysis combining all the evidence gathered in our forensic expert report moderately supports the proposition that Mr Arafat was poisoned by (210)Po. PMID:26707208
Maublanc, Julie; Dulaurent, Sylvain; Morichon, Julien; Lachâtre, Gérard; Gaulier, Jean-michel
Despite a non-invasive sampling, hair samples are generally collected in limited amounts for an obvious esthetic reason. In order to reduce the required quantity of samples, a multianalytes method allowing simultaneous identification and quantification of 35 psychoactive drugs was developed. After incubation of 50 mg of hair in a phosphate buffer pH 5 for one night at room temperature, the substances of interest were extracted by a simple liquid-liquid extraction step, with a dichloromethane/ether mixture (70:30, v/v). After evaporation under a gentle stream of nitrogen and reconstitution in formate buffer (2 mM, pH 3)/acetonitrile (90:10, v/v), twenty microliter were injected into the LC-MS/MS system for a chromatographic run of 29 min using an Atlantis T3 column (150 × 2.1 mm, 3 μm) (Waters Corp, Milford, USA) and a gradient mixture of 2 mM, pH 3.0 ammonium formate, and 2 mM, pH 3.0 ammonium formate/acetonitrile. The data acquisition was performed in scheduled MRM mode. Intra- and inter-day precisions, estimated using the coefficient of variation and relative bias, were lower than 20 % for all concentration levels, except for two compounds. The limits of detection and quantification ranged from 0.5 to 10 pg/mg. After complete validation, this method has been successfully used in several forensic cases, three of which are reported. PMID:24777658
Schmedes, Sarah E; Sajantila, Antti; Budowle, Bruce
Microbial forensics has been defined as the discipline of applying scientific methods to the analysis of evidence related to bioterrorism, biocrimes, hoaxes, or the accidental release of a biological agent or toxin for attribution purposes. Over the past 15 years, technology, particularly massively parallel sequencing, and bioinformatics advances now allow the characterization of microorganisms for a variety of human forensic applications, such as human identification, body fluid characterization, postmortem interval estimation, and biocrimes involving tracking of infectious agents. Thus, microbial forensics should be more broadly described as the discipline of applying scientific methods to the analysis of microbial evidence in criminal and civil cases for investigative purposes. PMID:26912746
Gowda, B. K. Charan; Sundharam, B. Sivapatha; Mahadesh, Jyothi; Mukund
Forensic toxicology deals with the investigation of toxic substances, poisonous products or with the environmental chemicals. This field of science helps to identify poison substance and hazardous chemicals. Forensic toxicology deals with the way that substances are absorbed, distributed or eliminated in the body – the metabolism of substances. This paper reviews the manifestations that each poisonous substance presents concentrating toward the commonly used poisonous substance especially in India. It also explains the Indian Penal Code, which is main criminal code intended to cover all substantive aspects of criminal law regarding poison. PMID:24696586
Chen, Jian-Hua; Michiue, Tomomi; Inamori-Kawamoto, Osamu; Ikeda, Sayuko; Ishikawa, Takaki; Maeda, Hitoshi
The serum glucose level is regulated within a narrow range by multiple factors under physiological conditions, but is greatly modified in the death process and after death. The present study comprehensively investigated glucose levels in blood and body fluids, including pericardial fluid (PCF), cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and vitreous humor, reviewing forensic autopsy cases (n=672). Right heart blood glucose level was often higher than at other sites, and the CSF glucose level was the lowest, showing greater dissociation in acute/subacute death cases. The glucose level was higher in the diabetic (high HbA1c) than in the non-diabetic (low HbA1c) group at each site (p<0.01-0.0001). Fatal diabetic ketoacidosis cases had evidently high glucose levels at each site; whereas in the non-diabetic group, blood glucose level was higher in fatal alcohol abuse, saltwater drowning, electrocution, cerebrovascular disease and sudden cardiac death due to ischemic heart disease. Fatal methamphetamine (MA) abuse, sepsis, malnutrition (starvation) and hypoglycemia due to antidiabetics showed markedly lower blood glucose levels. Ketones in bilateral cardiac blood and PCF were increased in diabetic ketoacidosis and fatal alcohol abuse as well as in most cases of hyperthermia (heatstroke), hypothermia (cold exposure) and malnutrition. These findings suggest that combined analysis of glucose, HbA1c and ketones in blood and body fluids is useful to investigate not only fatal diabetic metabolic disorders but also death processes due to other causes, including alcohol and MA abuse, as well as thermal disorders, sepsis and malnutrition. PMID:26593993
Wong, S H
In meeting the challenges of toxicology, clinical and forensic toxicologists should expand their services and engage in research and development to meet changing needs. Expanding roles could potentially derive from the threat of terrorism, genotyping for interpretation of potential toxic drug interactions, and criminalistic testings. At the threshold of the next millennium, terrorism via weapons of mass destruction (WMD) has migrated from the war zones to civilian settings. These WMD may be in the form of nuclear, biological, and chemical devices (NBC). Recently, the possible use of chemical/biological weapons in the Middle East conflicts, the use of sarin in a Tokyo subway station, and the unregulated availability of nuclear fuel in some countries all have heightened the potential for international and domestic NBC. In preparation for NBC, both government and civilians in major American cities have been trained for safe handling of patients and casualties. Forensic and clinical toxicologists should be knowledgeable about the clinical pharmacology, safe samples processing, and possible screening and/or analysis of samples exposed to or containing: vesicants; cyanide; and nerve, riot control, and pulmonary agents. These samples may be transported for further analysis and confirmed by designated central laboratories. In criminal/correctional settings, toxicologists should engage in quality assurance and consultation with attorneys, judges, and correctional professionals. With the emergence of pharmacogenetics, genotyping may enhance rational drug therapy for enhanced patient care, and may explain adverse or fatal drug reactions in postmortem analysis. PMID:10688259
Baker, William P.; DeBeus, Elizabeth; Jones, Carleton
Understanding natural and human-induced hazards is an important part of the standards-based science curriculum. Experience, however, indicates that the topic is a difficult one for many students. We have developed an exciting investigative laboratory exercise that uses simulated food-based case studies to promote critical thinking and improve…
Chaturvedi, Arvind K
Aviation combustion toxicology is a subspecialty of the field of aerospace toxicology, which is composed of aerospace and toxicology. The term aerospace, that is, the environment extending above and beyond the surface of the Earth, is also used to represent the combined fields of aeronautics and astronautics. Aviation is another term interchangeably used with aerospace and aeronautics and is explained as the science and art of operating powered aircraft. Toxicology deals with the adverse effects of substances on living organisms. Although toxicology borrows knowledge from biology, chemistry, immunology, pathology, physiology, and public health, the most closely related field to toxicology is pharmacology. Economic toxicology, environmental toxicology, and forensic toxicology, including combustion toxicology, are the three main branches of toxicology. In this overview, a literature search for the period of 1960-2007 was performed and information related to aviation combustion toxicology collected. The overview included introduction; combustion, fire, and smoke; smoke gas toxicity; aircraft material testing; fire gases and their interactive effects; result interpretation; carboxyhemoglobin and blood cyanide ion levels; pyrolytic products of aircraft engine oils, fluids, and lubricants; and references. This review is anticipated to be an informative resource for aviation combustion toxicology and fire-related casualties. PMID:20109297
Oshima, Toru; Yoshikawa, Hiroshi; Ohtani, Maki; Mimasaka, Sohtaro
The postmortem retinal fold has been previously documented, but its mechanism of formation is not known. All previous studies of the fold involved invasive techniques and the postmortem ocular fundus has yet to be non-invasively examined. Our study used the non-invasive techniques of monocular indirect ophthalmoscopy and ocular echography to examine 79 postmortem eyes of 42 bodies. We examined whether the postmortem retinal fold was associated with postmortem time, position, and/or age. Age was significantly associated with postmortem retinal fold formation (Mann-Whitney U test, P = 0.013), which led us to examine the effect of posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) on retinal folds. The absence of a PVD was statistically associated with the presence of a retinal fold (Fisher's exact test, P < 0.0001). Interestingly, the presence of a PVD was also significantly correlated with retinal fold height (Mann-Whitney U test, P < 0.0001). Therefore, we hypothesized that retinal folds result from postmortem vitreoretinal traction caused by eyeball flaccidity. We also believe that the loss of retinochoroidal hydrostatic pressure plays a role. It is important that forensic pathologists not confuse a postmortem retinal fold with traumatic retinal detachment or perimacular retinal folds caused by child abuse. When child abuse is suspected, forensic pathologists should perform enucleation and a subsequent histological examination for confirmation. PMID:25623189
Michaud, Katarzyna; Grabherr, Silke; Jackowski, Christian; Bollmann, Marc Daniel; Doenz, Franceso; Mangin, Patrice
Postmortem imaging is increasingly used in forensic practice in cases of natural deaths related to cardiovascular diseases, which represent the most common causes of death in developed countries. While radiological examination is generally considered to be a good complement for conventional autopsy, it was thought to have limited application in cardiovascular pathology. At present, multidetector computed tomography (MDCT), CT angiography, and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are used in postmortem radiological investigation of cardiovascular pathologies. This review presents the actual state of postmortem imaging for cardiovascular pathologies in cases of sudden cardiac death (SCD), taking into consideration both the advantages and limitations. The radiological evaluation of ischemic heart disease (IHD), the most frequent cause of SCD in the general population of industrialized countries, includes the examination of the coronary arteries and myocardium. Postmortem CT angiography (PMCTA) is very useful for the detection of stenoses and occlusions of coronary arteries but less so for the identification of ischemic myocardium. MRI is the method of choice for the radiological investigation of the myocardium in clinical practice, but its accessibility and application are still limited in postmortem practice. There are very few reports implicating postmortem radiology in the investigation of other causes of SCD, such as cardiomyopathies, coronary artery abnormalities, and valvular pathologies. Cardiomyopathies representing the most frequent cause of SCD in young athletes cannot be diagnosed by echocardiography, the most widely available technique in clinical practice for the functional evaluation of the heart and the detection of cardiomyopathies. PMCTA and MRI have the potential to detect advanced stages of diseases when morphological substrate is present, but these methods have yet to be sufficiently validated for postmortem cases. Genetically determined
Manigandan, T.; Sumathy, C.; Elumalai, M.; Sathasivasubramanian, S.; Kannan, A.
Radiography can play an important part in forensic odontology, mainly to establish identification. This may take the precise form of comparison between antemortem and postmortem radiographs. Radiographs may also be taken to determine the age of a minor victim and even help in the assessment of the sex and ethnic group. Comparable radiographs are an essential factor to confirm identification in a mass disaster. PMID:26015728
George, Alan A; Hargrove, Veronica M; Molina, D Kimberley
Propofol has gained notoriety in recent years because of its involvement in high-profile deaths and has increasingly become a drug of misuse and abuse particularly by health care personnel with easy access to it. In addition, propofol has also been used for more nefarious purposes such as murder and suicide. These, coupled with the drug's routine use for both major and minor medical procedures, provide ample opportunities for it to be implicated as a cause of death or contributing factor. In such instances, forensic investigators may be faced with the task of not only detecting the presence of propofol on postmortem toxicology screening, but also determining if it was indeed responsible for the decedent's demise. While propofol has a high volume of distribution, it is thought to equilibrate and be eliminated rapidly and not show significant tissue accumulation. However, this article presents a case illustrating that propofol can accumulate in the tissues and may be found up to a week after administration. This capacity to accumulate implies that postmortem detection does not necessarily confirm administration near the time of death, and further investigation needs to be undertaken to determine the timeline of events in order to rule out other factors, such as recent medical interventions, before attributing the cause of death to the presence of the drug. PMID:26513757
Shrivastava, Prabha; Som, Debasish; Nandy, Saswati; Saha, Indranil; Pal, Parag Baran; Ray, Tapobrata Guha; Haldar, Swaraj
A record based cross-sectional study of postmortems performed at the mortuary attached to the forensic medicine and toxicology department of RG Kar Medical College and Hospital from March 2008 to February 2009 comprising 1900 cases was conducted to determine the sociodemographic profile and to assess the nature and cause of such deaths. Bodies of 5 foetuses were decomposed which were excluded from the study. Out of a total of 1895 postmortems analysed, 23 autopsies were performed of limbs where the subjects were alive. Out of 1872 cases in 325 (17.4%) the manner of death was natural, whereas in 1547 cases (82.6%) it was unnatural. Accidents, suicides, homicides and undetermined deaths were 63.1%, 29.8%, 2.8% and 4.3% respectively. Among the natural deaths, evidence of pulmonary tuberculosis and coronary heart disease was found in 141 (43.4%) and 124 (38.2%) cases respectively. Burn injuries (22.6%) were the most common cause of unnatural deaths and occurred in 77.4% females. Rail track injuries and road traffic injuries were responsible for 21.9% and 14% of unnatural deaths. Hanging, poisoning and self-immolation were responsible for 48.4%, 28.9% and 19.7% of suicidal deaths respectively. PMID:21510567
Tettamanti, Camilla; Hervet, Tania; Grabherr, Silke; Palmiere, Cristian
In the present study, the levels of NT-proBNP, troponin T, and troponin I were measured in postmortem serum from femoral blood in a series of sepsis-related fatalities that had undergone forensic autopsies. We aimed to assess whether a possible increase in the concentrations of these biomarkers was correlated to macroscopic or microscopic observations that suggest myocardial damage or cardiac dysfunction. Two study groups were retrospectively formed, a sepsis-related fatalities group and a control group. Both groups consisted of 16 forensic autopsy cases. Unenhanced computed tomography scan, autopsy, histological, toxicological, microbiological, and biochemical analyses were performed for all cases in both groups. Levels of procalcitonin, C-reactive protein, NT-proBNP, troponin T, and troponin I were systematically measured in postmortem serum from femoral blood. The preliminary results suggest that the postmortem serum troponin I, troponin T, and NT-proBNP levels are increased in sepsis-related deaths in the absence of any relevant coronary artery disease, myocardial ischemia, or signs of heart failure. These findings corroborate clinical data from previous studies pertaining to the usefulness of troponins and natriuretic peptides as indicators of toxic and inflammatory damage to the heart in cases of severe sepsis and septic shock without concomitant underlying coronary syndromes. PMID:27002627
Marinetti, Laureen J; Ehlers, Brooke J
The Montgomery County Coroner's Office Toxicology Section and the Miami Valley Regional Crime Lab (MVRCL) Drug Chemistry Section have been receiving case work in drug seizures, death cases and human performance cases involving products marketed as heroin or as illicit fentanyl. Upon analysis by the Drug Chemistry Section, these products were found to contain various drug(s) including illicit fentanyl only, illicit fentanyl and heroin, illicit fentanyl and cocaine and illicit fentanyl, heroin and cocaine. Both the Chemistry and Toxicology Sections began seeing these combinations starting in late October 2013. The percentage of the combinations encountered by the MVRCL as well as the physical appearance of the product, and the results of presumptive screening tests will be discussed. The demographics of the users and the results of toxicology and autopsy findings on the decedents will also be discussed. According to regional drug task force undercover agents, there is evidence that some of the products are being sold as illicit fentanyl and not just as a heroin product. Also, there is no evidence to support that the fentanyl source is being diverted from pharmaceutical grade fentanyl. The chemistry section currently has over 109 confirmed cases, and the toxicology section currently has 81 confirmed drug deaths, 8 driving under the influence of drugs and 1 suicidal hanging. Both sections are continuing to see these cases at the present time. PMID:25217552
Brettell, T. A.; Saferstein, R.
Presents a review of articles appealing to forensic practitioners. Topics include: drugs and poisons, forensic biochemistry, and trace evidence. Lists noteworthy books published on forensic science topics since 1986. (MVL)
... Careers Career Profiles Forensics Investigator Overview Description Forensic science technicians investigate crimes by collecting and analyzing physical evidence. Often, they specialize in areas such as ...
Carter, David O; Metcalf, Jessica L; Bibat, Alexander; Knight, Rob
Body-associated microbes were recently shown to change significantly during decomposition, undergoing an ecological succession in experimental conditions using rodent and swine models. We investigated microbial succession in soils associated with swine carcasses under experimental field conditions in summer and winter. We demonstrate that these postmortem microbial communities change in a specific, reproducible fashion, and that soil microbes represent a significant component of the postmortem microbial community, contrary to widespread belief in forensic science. However, the effects of decomposition on soil microbial communities were different in summer and winter. We suggest that the microbial ecological succession will be useful in medicolegal death investigation; however, observations in winter might not be applicable to summer, which indicates a need for a greater understanding of the seasonality of decomposition. PMID:25737335
Steiner, Irina; Brauers, Gernot; Temme, Oliver; Daldrup, Thomas
We present the determination of the alkaloid hordenine and its forensic relevance as a qualitative and quantitative marker for beer consumption. A simple, rapid and sensitive ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC)-tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) method for the determination of hordenine in human serum samples was developed and validated. The application was tested with serum samples after enzymatic cleavage. After addition of the synthesized internal standard hordenine-D 4, a liquid-liquid extraction with dichloromethane and diethyl ether was performed. Chromatographic separation was conducted with a Waters Acquity® UPLC system with gradient elution on an Agilent Eclipse XDB-C18 column (4.6 mm × 150 mm, 5-μm particle size). For quantification, a Waters Acquity® TQ detector (version SNC 627) with a positive electrospray ionization probe and multiple reaction monitoring mode was used. A flow rate of 0.4 ml/min was applied. The retention time for both the analyte and the internal standard was 3.67 min. Linearity was demonstrated from 0.2 to 16 ng/ml (R(2) > 0.999). The lower limit of quantification was 0.3 ng/ml in serum. Matrix effects and extraction recoveries for low and high concentrations were within acceptable limits of 75-125% and 50%, respectively. To the best of our knowledge there is no corresponding method for the determination of hordenine by UPLC-MS/MS in serum. By our drinking studies we demonstrate that beer consumption leads to detectable hordenine concentrations in serum and observed a linear elimination of total hordenine correlating to blood alcohol concentration, which shows that hordenine can be used as a reliable qualitative and quantitative marker for beer consumption. The validated method was successfully applied to serum from actual forensic cases. PMID:26869341
[An entomological case report during the winter months: estimation of the post-mortem interval considering the influence of cold temperatures on the development of the forensically important blowfly Calliphora vomitoria].
Wetzel, Waltraud; Reibe, Saskia; Madea, Burkhard
The authors describe a case report with entomological estimation of the post-mortem interval in the winter months. In early December 2007, the body of a suicide was discovered not far from a lake near Bonn in North Rhine-Westphalia four weeks after the man had disappeared from a hospital. The corpse was very well preserved and did not show any signs of advanced putrefaction. The stage of decomposition did not allow a correct estimation of the time since death. Infestation of insect larvae of the species Calliphora vomitoria was detected in the oral cavity as well as in the self-inflicted deep cut to the throat responsible for death. The age of the larvae was determined by considering the specific minimum threshold of the species (minimum temperature necessary for development). To estimate the time until the blowflies detect the body and start to oviposit, the authors ran an experiment with a pig in a comparable environment with similar temperatures. Altogether, these investigations suggested that the man had committed suicide shortly after disappearing from the hospital. Without the entomological evaluation it would have been very difficult to narrow down the post-mortem interval correctly. PMID:19432091
Over the last several years, there has been increased pressure to utilize novel technologies derived from computational chemistry, molecular biology and systems biology in toxicological risk assessment. This new area has been referred to as "Computational Toxicology". Our resear...
Islam, Muhammad Nurul; Islam, Mohammed Nasimul
In this paper, we discuss the current medico-legal practice and future plan to improve the medico-legal service of Bangladesh which is rooted in the remnants of British medical jurisprudence. It includes clinical forensic medicine and forensic pathology. In Bangladesh all unnatural deaths are to be reported at the nearest police station and an appointed police officer should visit the scene of crime for investigation and to arrange postmortem if required. The forensic services of the country are delivered partly by academic staffs of Government Medical Colleges and the rest by the Civil Surgeons. Sometimes, residential medical officers in the district hospitals perform the medico-legal work. Most of them have no forensic qualifications except a long exposure in the medico-legal field. Currently academic and professional postgraduate courses are available. The chemical examiner's laboratory is situated at Dhaka with the facility of quantitative tests only. The Government of Bangladesh is trying to standardize the existing system. A Workshop on medico-legal services has been organized regularly by The Medico-legal Society of Bangladesh. A DNA profiling laboratory at the Dhaka Medical College is in the process of being set up. Such progress will be a milestone in the development of the medico-legal service in Bangladesh. However, with a few exceptions, teaching and training facilities are still lacking. PMID:12935633
Castillo-Peinado, L S; Luque de Castro, M D
The revulsive publications during the last years on the precariousness of forensic sciences worldwide have promoted the move of major steps towards improvement of this science. One of the steps (viz. a higher involvement of metabolomics in the new era of forensic analysis) deserves to be discussed under different angles. Thus, the characteristics of metabolomics that make it a useful tool in forensic analysis, the aspects in which this omics is so far implicit, but not mentioned in forensic analyses, and how typical forensic parameters such as the post-mortem interval or fingerprints take benefits from metabolomics are critically discussed in this review. The way in which the metabolomics-forensic binomial succeeds when either conventional or less frequent samples are used is highlighted here. Finally, the pillars that should support future developments involving metabolomics and forensic analysis, and the research required for a fruitful in-depth involvement of metabolomics in forensic analysis are critically discussed. PMID:27188312
Brooks, J W
A thorough understanding of the physical and chemical changes that occur in the body after death is critical for accurate interpretation of gross and microscopic pathology at autopsy. Furthermore, knowledge of the postmortem processes and the factors that affect them will aid in the estimation of the postmortem interval (PMI). The estimation of the PMI is important in many human and animal death investigations. Despite many decades of research, accuracy in estimation of the time of death has not significantly improved, and no single method can be reliably used to accurately estimate the time of death. Great care should be taken when formulating such an estimate, for it is dependent on multiple circumstantial and environmental factors, and the accuracy and precision of the estimate decrease as the PMI increases. The majority of the research in the field has been conducted on human bodies, but many relevant conclusions may be drawn regarding the expected postmortem changes in animals and the estimation of the PMI. The veterinary pathologist must use great caution when attempting to extrapolate data and apply formulas designed for use in humans. Methods reviewed include gross changes, microscopic changes, temperature-based methods, postmortem chemistry, molecular methods, microbial assay, ocular changes, radiography, entomology, and others. Although only several of these methods are currently practical for use in the workup of cases, it is expected that future research will result in improved techniques with enhanced accuracy in the estimation of the PMI, which will benefit both human and veterinary forensic investigations. PMID:26945004
Long-term storage of authentic postmortem forensic blood samples at -20°C: measured concentrations of benzodiazepines, central stimulants, opioids and certain medicinal drugs before and after storage for 16-18 years.
Karinen, Ritva; Andresen, Wenche; Smith-Kielland, Anne; Mørland, Jørg
The long-term stability of benzodiazepines, opioids, central stimulants and medicinal drugs in authentic postmortem blood samples was studied. All together, 73 samples were reanalyzed after storage at -20°C for 16-18 years. At reanalysis samples containing diazepam, nordiazepam and flunitrazepam demonstrated only small changes during long-term storage when mean and median drug concentrations were compared, while clonazepam concentrations tended to decrease. Samples containing amphetamine, morphine, codeine and 'acidic' medicinal drugs as paracetamol and meprobamate also showed small changes over 16-18 years in mean and median drug concentrations at a group level. For many drugs, however, single samples could demonstrate marked concentration changes, both increases and decreases during storage. For 'alkaline' medicinal drugs, concentration losses were observed in most cases. PMID:25015743
Screening approach by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry for the blood quantification of thirty-four toxic principles of plant origin. Application to forensic toxicology.
Carlier, Jérémy; Guitton, Jérôme; Romeuf, Ludovic; Bévalot, Fabien; Boyer, Baptiste; Fanton, Laurent; Gaillard, Yvan
Plant poisonings have left their mark on history and still cause many deaths, whether intentional or accidental. The means to show toxicological evidence of such poisonings should be implemented with great care. This article presents a technique for measuring thirty-nine toxic principles of plant origin in the blood, covering a large amount of toxins from local or exotic plants: α-lobeline, α-solanine, aconitine, ajmaline, atropine, brucine, cephalomannine, colchicine, convallatoxin, cymarine, cytisine, digitoxin, digoxin, emetine, gelsemine, ibogaine, jervine, kavain, lanatoside C, lupanine, mitragynine, neriifolin, oleandrin, ouabain, paclitaxel, physostigmine, pilocarpine, podophyllotoxin, proscillaridin A, reserpine, retrorsine, ricinine, scopolamine, senecionine, sparteine, strophanthidin, strychnine, veratridine and yohimbine. Analysis was carried out using an original ultra-high performance liquid chromatography separation coupled with tandem mass spectrometry detection. Extraction was a standard solid phase extraction performed on Oasis(®) HLB cartridge. Thirty-four of the thirty-nine compounds were put through a validation procedure. The assay was linear in the calibration curve range from 0.5 or 5 μg/L to 1000 μg/L according to the compounds. The method is sensitive (LOD from 0.1 to 1.6 μg/L). The within-day precision of the assay was less than 22.5% at the LLOQ, and the between-day precision was less than 21.5% for 10 μg/L for all the compounds included. The assay accuracy was in the range of 87.4 to 119.8% for the LLOQ. The extraction recovery and matrix effect ranged from 30 to 106% and from -30 to 14%, respectively. It has proven useful and effective in several difficult forensic cases. PMID:25438245
Vey, Eric L; Kovelman, Inna
Duloxetine, a dual acting norepinephrine serotonin reuptake inhibitor, is a relatively new pharmacologic agent utilized in the treatment of depression, as well as diabetic neuropathic pain, fibromyalgia, and female stress urinary incontinence. This expanding scope of usage will inevitably lead to its eventual appearance during routine post-mortem toxicologic assays. Currently there is a paucity of post-mortem toxicologic data concerning duloxetine. The current report provides six additional case reports of post-mortem duloxetine levels, along with a review of duloxetine's pharmacokinetics, and the toxicologic manifestations which have been reported in the literature. The post-mortem levels reported, including the highest level recorded to date, are integrated with previously published reports to generate a foundation for a nascent guide to the interpretation of post-mortem duloxetine levels that could be encountered during routine post-mortem toxicologic analyses, and establish a basis upon which the establishment of toxic and lethal thresholds for this compound can be further elucidated with greater clarity. PMID:20382351
Cobb, P. G. W.
Summarizes the type of work carried out by forensic chemists and the minimum qualification needed for appointment. Indicates that there are eight Home Office regional forensic science laboratories in addition to the Central Research Establishment at Aldermaston. (CC)
Levy, Gad; Goldstein, Liav; Blachar, Arye; Apter, Sara; Barenboim, Erez; Bar-Dayan, Yaron; Shamis, Ari; Atar, Eli
A thorough medical inquiry is included in every aviation mishap investigation. While the gold standard of this investigation is a forensic pathology examination, numerous reports stress the important role of computed tomography in the postmortem evaluation of trauma victims. To characterize the findings identified by postmortem CT and compare its performance to conventional autopsy in victims of military aviation mishaps, we analyzed seven postmortem CT examinations. Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for 57.8% of the traumatic findings identified by postmortem CT. The most frequent findings were fractures of the rib (47%), skull (9.6%) and facial bones (8.6%). Abnormally located air accounted for 24% of findings, for which CT was superior (3.5% detected by autopsy, 100% by postmortem CT, P < 0.001). The performance of autopsy in detecting injuries was superior (autopsy detected 85.8% of all injuries, postmortem CT detected 53.9%, P < 0.001), especially in the detection of superficial lesions (100% detected by autopsy, 10.5% by postmortem CT, P < 0.001) and solid organ injuries (100% by autopsy, 18.5% by postmortem CT, P < 0.001). Performance in the detection of musculoskeletal injuries was similar (91.3% for autopsy, 90.3% for postmortem CT, P = not significant). Postmortem CT and autopsy have distinct performance profiles, and although the first cannot replace the latter it is a useful complementary examination. PMID:17987755
Krabseth, Hege; Mørland, Jørg; Høiseth, Gudrun
Postmortem ethanol formation is a well-known problem in forensic toxicology. The aim of this study was to interpret findings of ethanol in blood, in a large collection of forensic autopsy cases, by use of the nonoxidative ethanol metabolites, ethyl glucuronide (EtG), and ethyl sulfate (EtS). In this study, according to previously published literature, antemortem ethanol ingestion was excluded in EtS-negative cases. Among 493 ethanol-positive forensic autopsy cases, collected during the study period, EtS was not detected in 60 (12 %) of the cases. Among cases with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of ≤ 0.54 g/kg, antemortem ethanol ingestion was excluded in 38 % of the cases, while among cases with a BAC of ≥ 0.55 g/kg, antemortem ethanol ingestion was excluded in 2.2 % of the cases. For all cases where ethanol was measured at a concentration >1.0 g/kg, EtS was detected. The highest blood ethanol concentration in which EtS was not detected was 1.0 g/kg. The median concentrations of EtG and EtS in blood were 9.5 μmol/L (range: not detected (n.d.) 618.1) and 9.2 μmol/L (range: n.d. 182.5), respectively. There was a statistically significant positive correlation between concentration levels of ethanol and of EtG (Spearman's rho=0.671, p<0.001) and EtS (Spearman's rho=0.670, p<0.001), respectively. In conclusion, this study showed that in a large number of ethanol-positive forensic autopsy cases, ethanol was not ingested before the time of death, particularly among cases where ethanol was present in lower blood concentrations. Routine measurement of EtG and EtS should therefore be recommended, especially in cases with BAC below 1 g/kg. PMID:24935750
Launiainen, Terhi; Ojanperä, Ilkka
Therapeutic drug concentrations measured in plasma are of limited value as reference intervals for interpretation in post-mortem (PM) toxicology. In this study, drug concentration distributions were studied in PM femoral venous blood from 57 903 Finnish autopsy cases representing all causes of death during an 11-year period. Cause-of-death information was obtained from death certificates issued by forensic pathologists. Median, mean, and upper percentile (90th, 95th, 97.5th) concentrations were calculated for 129 drugs. To illustrate how PM median concentrations relate to established therapeutic ranges in plasma, a PM blood/plasma relationship was calculated for each drug. Males represented 75% of the subjects and showed a lower median age (55 yrs) than females (59 yrs). In 43% of these cases, blood alcohol concentration was higher than 0.2‰, and the median was 1.8‰. Sixty-one (47%) of the 129 drugs showed a PM blood/plasma relationship of 1. For 22 drugs (17%), the relationship was <1, and for 46 drugs (35%), the relationship was >1. No marked correlation was found between the PM blood/plasma relationship and the volume of distribution (Vd). For 36 drugs, more than 10% of cases were fatal poisonings attributed to this drug as the main finding. These drug concentration distributions based on a large database provide a helpful reference not only to forensic toxicologists and pathologists but also to clinical pharmacologists in charge of interpreting drug concentrations in PM cases. © 2013 The Authors. Drug Testing and Analysis published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. PMID:23881890
Gerdin, J A; McDonough, S P
Submission of cases of suspected animal abuse and neglect (AAN) to veterinary pathologists is increasingly frequent. These cases require modification of postmortem procedures and written reports, as the questions asked by courts typically differ from those asked in routine diagnostic cases. Here we review the practice of veterinary forensic pathology as it applies to cases of companion AAN, as well as the fundamental principles of forensic pathology, the components of a forensic necropsy, and the goals of the necropsy in cases of blunt-force trauma, projectile wounds, and starvation. Future directions and endeavors in veterinary forensic pathology are broached. PMID:23686766
Offiah, Curtis E; Dean, Jonathan
Post-mortem cross-sectional imaging in the form of CT and, less frequently, MRI is an emerging facility in the evaluation of cause-of-death and human identification for the coronial service as well as in assisting the forensic investigation of suspicious deaths and homicide. There are marked differences between the radiological evaluation and interpretation of the CT and MRI features of the live patient (i.e. antemortem imaging) and the evaluation and interpretation of post-mortem CT and MRI appearances. In addition to the absence of frequently utilized tissue enhancement following intravenous contrast administration in antemortem imaging, there are a number of variable changes which occur in the tissues and organs of the body as a normal process following death, some of which are, in addition, affected significantly by environmental factors. Many patients and victims will also have undergone aggressive attempts at cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the perimortem period which will also significantly alter post-mortem CT and MRI appearances. It is paramount that the radiologist and pathologist engaged in the interpretation of such post-mortem imaging are familiar with the appropriate non-pathological imaging changes germane to death, the post-mortem interval and cardiopulmonary resuscitation in order to avoid erroneously attributing such changes to trauma or pathology. Some of the more frequently encountered radiological imaging considerations of this nature will be reviewed. PMID:26562099
Gautam, L; Shanmuganathan, A; Cole, M D
In the past decade there has been a significant increase in the popularity of synthetic cathinones in the illegal drug market. They have been easily available from Internet-based vendors as well as at "head shops" and "smart shops". The recent prominence of synthetic cathinones can be attributed to their stimulatory properties similar to those of amphetamines. This paper provides a review on the current popular cathinone derivatives, their history and prevalence in the illegal drug market, legislation of these drugs in various countries, pharmacology, toxicology, and metabolism studies, analysis of toxicology samples (blood, urine, and hair) and criminalistic samples (seized, purchased via the Internet, and synthesized). From the reviewed literature, it is concluded that the products sold as "legal highs" do not only contain cathinone but also cathinone derivatives, and adulterants such as caffeine, lidocaine, and inorganic materials. Full toxicity data is currently unavailable for this drug class and hence more research is required with regard to their analysis and metabolism. Moreover, clandestine chemists are constantly synthesizing new derivatives and hence forensic chemists often need to synthesize and characterize these drugs to confirm the identity of the seized samples. This is expensive as well as time-consuming. Therefore, there is a need for national and international collaboration among forensic chemists to overcome this difficulty. PMID:26226850
Developmental toxicology encompasses the study of developmental exposures, pharmacokinetics, mechanisms, pathogenesis, and outcomes potentially leading to adverse health effects. Manifestations of developmental toxicity include structural malformations, growth retardation, functi...
‘Computational toxicology’ is a broad term that encompasses all manner of computer-facilitated informatics, data-mining, and modeling endeavors in relation to toxicology, including exposure modeling, physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modeling, dose-response modeling, ...
This viewgraph presentation provides a review of NASA Johnson Space Center's Toxicology program. The mission of this program is to protect crews from toxic exposures during spaceflight. The presentation reviews some of the health hazards. A toxicological hazard level chart is presented that reviews the rating of hazard level, irritancy, systemic effects and containability. The program also participates in the Lunar Airborne Dust Toxicity Advisory Group.
Dolný, A; Buchtová, M; Loyka, S
Experimental detection of deadly toxic cantharidin C10H12O4 by chemical analysis was performed in imagoes of two species of cryptotoxic Meloidae beetles--Lytta vesicatoria and Mylabris variabilis. Samples were processed by extraction and sublimation and analyzed by gas chromatography. Graphic documentation proved the presence of cantharidin. A part of microcristalline sublimate was studied microscopically and determinant features of crystalline cantharidin were identified. Moreover, cantharidin levels in single body parts of the beetle were investigated. PMID:1480980
Kanchan, Tanuj; Menezes, Ritesh G; Manipady, Shahnavaz
We present a case where a 54-year-old man suffering from haemorrhoids, committed suicide by hanging. Gravitational forces due to the upright position of the body facilitated post-mortem per-rectal bleeding from the ulcerated haemorrhoids. The bleeding stained his under garment and wrap around cloth. Frank blood was also seen on the floor beneath the hanging body. The blood at the crime scene was wrongly interpreted by the investigating police as that due to self-inflicted injury or possibly case of homicide followed by post-mortem suspension of the body. Observation of the crime scene by forensic medicine experts and subsequent autopsy findings revealed that the bleeding was from the haemorrhoids. This case is reported for its rarity, for the awareness of the possible post-mortem haemorrhoidal bleeding artefact, to explain the circumstances of such a possibility, and to emphasize the importance of involving forensic medicine experts as a part of the crime scene investigation team. PMID:16442833
Mata, Dani C; Davis, John F; Figueroa, Ariana K; Stanford, Mary June
An ultra performance liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) method for the quantification of 14 benzodiazepines and three sedative hypnotics is presented. The fast and inexpensive assay was developed for California's Orange County Crime Lab for use in antemortem (AM) and postmortem casework. The drugs were rapidly cleaned up from AM blood, postmortem blood, urine, liver, brain and stomach contents using DPX(®) Weak Anion Exchange (DPX WAX) tips fitted on a pneumatic extractor, which can process up to 48 samples at one time. Assay performance was determined for validation based on recommendations by the Scientific Working Group for Forensic Toxicology for linearity, limit of quantitation, limit of detection, bias, precision (within run and between run), dilution integrity, carry-over, selectivity, recovery, ion suppression and extracted sample stability. Linearity was verified using the therapeutic and toxic ranges of all 17 analytes. Final verification of the method was confirmed by four analysts using 20 blind matrix matched samples. All results were within 20% of each other and the expected value. PMID:26374882
Prieto, José L; Magaña, Concepción; Ubelaker, Douglas H
Estimating time since death is especially difficult in the examination of poorly preserved cadavers and depends on the experience of the examiner and comparison with previously documented cases showing similar characteristics. The present study reports on information obtained over the past ten years through the work of the Laboratorio de Antropología y Odontología Forense (LAF) of the Instituto Anatómico Forense de Madrid, Spain, in particular evaluating how the type of fracture influences postmortem change. From the original 225 forensic cases examined between 1992 and 2002 in the LAF, a sample of 29 cases were selected from various regions of the Spanish mainland. A data collection protocol was established to reflect factors which the existing specialized literature, documenting the relation existing in the sample analyzed between time since death and the extent of postmortem change, which in the environments examined are distributed into the following phases: Phase 1 (putrefaction): one week to one month on the surface and two months in water. Phase 2 (initial skeletonization): two months on the surface and five to six months in water. Phase 3 (advanced skeltonization): six months to 1.5 years on the surface and 2.5 years buried. Phase 4 (complete skeletonization): about one year on the surface and three years buried. This paper also provide useful information on the impact of carrion insect activity, location, climate, seasonality, and predator. PMID:15461090
From antiquity up to the present time the history of medicine contains innumerable examples of the different attitude of human beings in dealing with the death of children. This is paradigmatically described for the death of neonates and infants, with special consideration of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and selected forensic-criminalistic aspects. Against the historical background of forensic postmortem examination and forensic paidopathology the development of the autopsy is also outlined. PMID:12134760
Grimm, J; Dominguez, A; Vanhaebost, J; Mangin, P
Performing a post-mortem multidetector CT (MDCT) scan has already become routine in some institutes of forensic medicine. To better visualize the vascular system, different techniques of post-mortem CT-angiography have been explored, which can essentially be divided into partial- and whole-body angiography techniques. Probably the most frequently applied technique today is the so-called multiphase post-mortem CT-angiography (MPMCTA) a standardized method for investigating the vessels of the head, thorax and abdomen. Different studies exist, describing its use for medicolegal investigations, and its advantages as well as its artefacts and pitfalls. With the aim to investigate the performance of PMCTA and to develop and validate techniques, an international working group was created in 2012 called the “Technical Working Group Post-mortem Angiography Methods” (TWGPAM). Beyond its primary perspective, the goals of this group include creating recommendations for the indication of the investigation and for the interpretation of the images and to distribute knowledge about PMCTA. This article provides an overview about the different approaches that have been developed and tested in recent years and an update about ongoing research in this field. It will explain the technique of MPMCTA in detail and give an outline of its indications, application, advantages and limitations. PMID:24234582
Martínez-Ramírez, Jorge A; Strien, Juliane; Walther, Grit; Peters, Frank T
Fungi colonizing cadavers are capable of drug metabolism and may thus change the metabolite pattern or concentration of drugs in forensic postmortem samples. The purpose of this study was to check for the presence of such changes by searching fungi-specific metabolites of four model drugs (amitriptyline, metoprolol, mirtazapine, and zolpidem) in decomposed postmortem blood samples from 33 cases involving these drugs. After isolation and identification of fungal strains present in the samples, each isolate was incubated in Sabouraud medium at 25°C for up to 120h with each model drug. One part of the supernatants was directly analyzed by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), another after liquid-liquid extraction with chlorobutane and concentration. From 21 out of 33 decomposed postmortem blood samples (64%) a total of 30 different strains could be isolated, one from the class of Ascomycete and the rest belonging to 15 species from 8 different genera (number of species): Aspergillus (2), Botrytis (1), Candida (8), Fusarium (1), Mucor (1), Penicillium (1), and Rodothorula (1). In the in vitro studies, these microorganisms were found capable of N-demethylation and N-oxidation of amitriptyline and mirtazapine, O-demethylation followed by side chain oxidation of metoprolol as well as hydroxylation of all four-model drugs. In two of the postmortem blood samples, from which the fungi Aspergillus jensenii, Candida parapsilosis. and Mucor circinelloides had been isolated, a fungi-specific hydroxy zolpidem metabolite was detected. The presence of this metabolite in postmortem samples likely indicates postmortem fungal biodegradation. PMID:27022860
Mauf, Sabrina; Jentzsch, Thorsten; Laberke, Patrick J; Thali, Michael J; Bartsch, Christine
The prevalence of cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs), pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs) is increasing. However, postmortem analysis of CIEDs is not performed routinely. Fourteen consecutive CIEDs were analyzed. The indication for and date of implantation, technical data, CIED reprogramming, heart rhythm disturbances, patient demographics and medical consultations were investigated. Death during the first year after implantation was seen in 54%, whereof 71% consulted a physician within 10 days before death. The time of death was attributed to a particular day in 29%. There was a relationship between CIEDs and cause/manner of death in 50%. Although limited by a small sample size, this study advocates the routine postmortem CIED analysis for forensic and clinical purposes in selected cases. Patients with CIEDs seem to show an increased risk of death during the first year after implantation. The analysis of CIEDs can be helpful in evaluating the time/cause/manner of death. PMID:27364278
Cappella, Annalisa; Amadasi, Alberto; Castoldi, Elisa; Mazzarelli, Debora; Gaudio, Daniel; Cattaneo, Cristina
The distinction between perimortem and postmortem fractures is an important challenge for forensic anthropology. Such a crucial task is presently based on macro-morphological criteria widely accepted in the scientific community. However, several limits affect these parameters which have not yet been investigated thoroughly. This study aims at highlighting the pitfalls and errors in evaluating perimortem or postmortem fractures. Two trained forensic anthropologists were asked to classify 210 fractures of known origin in four skeletons (three victims of blunt force trauma and one natural death) as perimortem, postmortem, or dubious, twice in 6 months in order to assess intraobserver error also. Results show large errors, ranging from 14.8 to 37% for perimortem fractures and from 5.5 to 14.8% for postmortem ones; more than 80% of errors concerned trabecular bone. This supports the need for more objective and reliable criteria for a correct assessment of peri- and postmortem bone fractures. PMID:24990801
Berry, Keith O.; Nigh, W. G.
A course is described, which was given during an interim, with an enrollment of 41 students. The course involved an in-depth study of forensic science, involving students with the methodology of science. (DF)
Liquid chromatography, in combination with a quadrupole time-of-flight instrument (LC QTOF), with sequential window acquisition of all theoretical fragment-ion spectra (SWATH) acquisition: systematic studies on its use for screenings in clinical and forensic toxicology and comparison with information-dependent acquisition (IDA).
Roemmelt, Andreas T; Steuer, Andrea E; Poetzsch, Michael; Kraemer, Thomas
Forensic and clinical toxicological screening procedures are employing liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) techniques with information-dependent acquisition (IDA) approaches more and more often. It is known that the complexity of a sample and the IDA settings might prevent important compounds from being triggered. Therefore, data-independent acquisition (DIA) methods should be more suitable for systematic toxicological analysis (STA). The DIA method sequential window acquisition of all theoretical fragment-ion spectra (SWATH), which uses Q1 windows of 20-35 Da for data-independent fragmentation, was systematically investigated for its suitability for STA. Quality of SWATH-generated mass spectra were evaluated with regard to mass error, relative abundance of the fragments, and library hits. With the Q1 window set to 20-25 Da, several precursors pass Q1 at the same time and are fragmented, thus impairing the library search algorithms to a different extent: forward fit was less affected than reverse fit and purity fit. Mass error was not affected. The relative abundance of the fragments was concentration dependent for some analytes and was influenced by cofragmentation, especially of deuterated analogues. Also, the detection rate of IDA compared to SWATH was investigated in a forced coelution experiment (up to 20 analytes coeluting). Even using several different IDA settings, it was observed that IDA failed to trigger relevant compounds. Screening results of 382 authentic forensic cases revealed that SWATH's detection rate was superior to IDA, which failed to trigger ∼10% of the analytes. PMID:25329363
de Siqueira, Adriana; Rodrigues, Karina Borges Almeida; Gonçalves-Júnior, Vagner; Calefi, Atilio Sersun; Fukushima, André Rinaldi; Cuevas, Silvia Elena Campusano; Spinosa, Helenice de Souza; Maiorka, Paulo César
Exhumation is required for the investigation of suspicions deaths when a body is buried and is usually performed under court order. Exhumation of animals is not a routine practice in forensic pathology. In this study, 30 male 70-day-old Wistar rats were experimentally exposed to the carbamate pesticides aldicarb and carbofuran. Toxicological, macroscopic and microscopic examinations were performed. Groups of 3 animals (2 exposed and 1 control) were evaluated at 24h, 3days, 5days, 7days and 10days post-mortem. In histopathological examination, the brain, liver, lungs and kidneys were assessed, and for toxicological analysis, the gastric contents, liver, vitreous humor, skeletal muscle and larvae (when available) were collected. The pesticides were detected by HPLC and quantified in the analyzed matrices, and a possible delay in tissue putrefaction due to the pesticides was observed. This study has revealed that it is possible to exhume animals for investigations of possible poisoning by carbamates and has demonstrated that the exhumation of an animal in a suspected case of poisoning should not be ruled out. The increasing demand for investigations of suspicious animal deaths, e.g., in cases of poisoning, will likely lead to an increase in the use of this type of procedure in veterinary pathology. PMID:27020045
Yadav, Achla Bharti; Angadi, Punnya V; Kale, Alka D; Yadav, Sumit Kumar
Estimating the time after death is an important aspect of the role of a forensic expert. After death, the body undergoes substantial changes in its chemical and physical composition which can prove useful in providing an indication of the post-mortem interval. The most accurate estimate of the time of death is best achieved early in the post-mortem interval before the many environmental variables are able to affect the result. Whilst dependence on macroscopic observations was the foundation of the past practice, the application of histological techniques is proving to be an increasingly valuable tool in forensic research. The present study was conducted to evaluate the histologic post-mortem changes that take place in human gingival tissues and to correlate these changes with the time interval after death. Thirty one samples of post-mortem human gingival tissues were obtained from a pool of decedents at varied post-mortem intervals (0-8 hrs, 8-16 hrs, 16-24 hrs). Ante-mortem samples of gingival tissues for comparison were obtained from patients undergoing crown lengthening procedure. Histological changes in the epithelium (cytoplasmic and nuclear) and connective tissue were assessed. The initial epithelial changes observed were homogenization and eosinophilia while cytoplasmic vacuolation and other alterations, including shredding of the epithelium, ballooning, loss of nuclei and suprabasilar split were noticed in late post-mortem interval (16-24 hrs). Nuclear changes such as vacuolation, karyorrhexis, pyknosis and karyolysis became increasingly apparent with lengthening post-mortem intervals. Homogenizations of collagen and fibroblast vacuolation were also observed. To conclude; the initiation of decomposition at cellular level appeared within 24 hours of death and other features of decomposition were observed subsequently. Against this background, histological changes in the gingival tissues may be useful in estimating the time of death in the early post-mortem
Usui, Akihito; Kawasumi, Yusuke; Hosokai, Yoshiyuki; Ishizuka, Yuya; Ikeda, Tomoya; Saito, Haruo; Funayama, Masato
This report describes the case of a man who developed fatal sigmoid volvulus that was identified on postmortem radiography before forensic autopsy. Postmortem radiography is useful for visualizing the body prior to autopsy. We discuss postmortem multidetector computed tomography that was tailored for optimum image quality to allow reconstruction of the fatal findings in multiple axes and in three dimensions, helping to pinpoint the anatomical sites of interest. This involves techniques such as manipulation of the scanning beam pitch and overlapping CT section acquisition. These techniques are best performed by personnel with CT technology training. PMID:26980251
Forensic medicine incorporates research, teaching and professional service. In the routine practice this encompasses interdisciplinary cooperation with physicians, natural scientists and the legal profession. Lectures in forensic medicine include the correct performance of an external examination of corpses, which every physician must be capable of, just as medical questions and the evidential documentation of injuries. Clinical forensic medicine encompasses the examination and documentation of living victims of physical and/or sexual violence. For further training to become a specialist for forensic medicine it is mandatory to undertake a 6-month training period in pathology. Fatalities with an unclear or unnatural manner of death must be registered with the police. On suspicion of third party involvement the public prosecutor will request a legal autopsy, which is carried out and documented by two physicians in accordance with the penal code. Imaging procedures are standard for an autopsy. Extensive samples are taken for additional testing, such as toxicological and molecular biological investigations. PMID:20424845
Okuda, Katsuhiro; Maseda, Chikatoshi; Asari, Masaru; Isozaki, Shotaro; Kiya, Hiroshi; Yajima, Daisuke; Shiono, Hiroshi; Shimizu, Keiko
Blood and tissue samples from a forensic autopsy of a man in his late 60s, who developed dementia and died of multiple head traumas due to a fall from a moving vehicle, contained certain amounts of n-butane and i-butane. The concentration of n-butane was in the range of 0.48-70.5 μL/g, which would be considered as toxic or lethal levels. We had to distinguish whether the cause of his unexplained behavior was due to his pre-existing condition (dementia), or from a confused state induced by butane abuse. No traces of butane use were found at the scene. Police investigation revealed that a propellant used in an anticontagious plugging spray had been administered to him during a postmortem treatment in the emergency hospital. In order to prove the postmortem butane diffusion had resulted from the spray administration and to estimate the diffused concentration, experimental simulation was conducted by using rats. As a result of postmortem treatment with the spray, n-butane at concentrations of 0.54-15.5 μL/mL or g were found in the rat blood and tissues. In this case, we provided further evidence that the postmortem butane diffusion, caused by using the anticontagious plugging spray containing butane gas as a propellant administered to a cadaver during a postmortem procedure prior to forensic autopsy, should be distinguished from cases of actual butane poisoning. PMID:26318540
We now have a confusing set of five commonly used terms for the application of Earth evidence in forensic science. This confusion is resulting in Earth scientists who use these methods mentioning different terms, sometimes for the same type of study. Likewise, forensic scientists, police/law enforcement officers and those employed by courts of law are becoming confused as to what each term means. A nomenclatural framework (based on the first use of each term) is proposed to encourage consistency in the use of terminology. Generally, the number of Earth science applications has grown through time, from soil and sediment analysis to remote sensing and GIS. The issue of where forensic biology and microbiology sits with these uses of Earth evidence is considered. PMID:20430544
In 2008, the concept of hebephilia, which denotes an erotic preference for "pubescent children," was suggested by Blanchard and his team for inclusion in the DSM-5 (Blanchard et al., 2009). Four years later, the APA's Board of Trustees opted for the status quo and rejected that proposal. This essay sheds light on the reason for this rejection. I consider three important questions related to hebephilia: Does hebephilia exist? Is it a disease? And what would have been the social consequences of including it in the DSM? I argue that if Blanchard failed to convince others that hebephilia should be included in the DSM-5, it is not because he focused too much on the first question and was unable to offer a convincing answer to the second one, but because he made the mistake of dismissing the third one as extraneous. The DSM is not intended to be a pure research manual, and a category like hebephilia cannot be evaluated without taking into account its potential forensic impact. In part or in whole, the decision to include a new diagnostic category in the DSM is, and always should be, a political decision. PMID:25894647
Palmiere, Cristian; Tettamanti, Camilla; Augsburger, Marc; Burkhardt, Sandra; Sabatasso, Sara; Lardi, Christelle; Werner, Dominique
Significantly increased blood ketone body levels can be occasionally observed in the forensic setting in situations other than exposure to cold, diabetic or alcoholic ketoacidosis. Though infrequent, these cases do occur and deserve thorough evaluation in order to establish appropriate differential diagnoses and quantify the role that hyperketonemia may play in the death process. Starvation ketoacidosis is a rare cause of metabolic acidosis and is a phenomenon that occurs normally during fasting, as the body switches from carbohydrate to lipid energy sources. The levels of ketonemia in starvation ketoacidosis is usually mild in comparison to those seen in diabetic or alcoholic ketoacidosis. In the clinical setting, several cases of starvation-induced ketoacidosis mainly associated with gastric banding, pregnancy, malnutrition and low-carbohydrate diets have been reported. However, starvation ketosis causing severe metabolic acidosis has been rarely described in the medical literature. In the realm of forensic pathology, starvation-induced hyperketonemia has been rarely described. In this paper we present the postmortem biochemical results observed in situations of suspected starvation-induced hyperketonemia that underwent medico-legal examination. In all these cases, the diagnosis of starvation induced-hyperketonemia and the subsequent ketoacidosis was established per exclusionem based on all postmortem investigation findings. A review of the literature pertaining to the clinical diagnosis of starvation ketoacidosis is also provided. PMID:27239954
Andersson, M Gunnar; Sundström, Anders; Lindström, Anders
In the aftermath of a CBRN incident, there is an urgent need to reconstruct events in order to bring the perpetrators to court and to take preventive actions for the future. The challenge is to discriminate, based on available information, between alternative scenarios. Forensic interpretation is used to evaluate to what extent results from the forensic investigation favor the prosecutors' or the defendants' arguments, using the framework of Bayesian hypothesis testing. Recently, several new scientific disciplines have been used in a forensic context. In the AniBioThreat project, the framework was applied to veterinary forensic pathology, tracing of pathogenic microorganisms, and forensic entomology. Forensic entomology is an important tool for estimating the postmortem interval in, for example, homicide investigations as a complement to more traditional methods. In this article we demonstrate the applicability of the Bayesian framework for evaluating entomological evidence in a forensic investigation through the analysis of a hypothetical scenario involving suspect movement of carcasses from a clandestine laboratory. Probabilities of different findings under the alternative hypotheses were estimated using a combination of statistical analysis of data, expert knowledge, and simulation, and entomological findings are used to update the beliefs about the prosecutors' and defendants' hypotheses and to calculate the value of evidence. The Bayesian framework proved useful for evaluating complex hypotheses using findings from several insect species, accounting for uncertainty about development rate, temperature, and precolonization. The applicability of the forensic statistic approach to evaluating forensic results from a CBRN incident is discussed. PMID:23971824
Development and validation of a dynamic range-extended LC-MS/MS multi-analyte method for 11 different postmortem matrices for redistribution studies applying solvent calibration and additional (13)C isotope monitoring.
Staeheli, Sandra N; Poetzsch, Michael; Kraemer, Thomas; Steuer, Andrea E
Postmortem redistribution (PMR) is one of numerous problems in postmortem toxicology making correct interpretation of measured drug concentrations difficult or even impossible. Time-dependent PMR in peripheral blood and especially in tissue samples is still under-explored. For further investigation, an easy applicable method for the simultaneous quantitation of over 80 forensically relevant compounds in 11 different postmortem matrices should be developed and validated overcoming the challenges of high inter-matrix and intra-matrix concentration variances. Biopsy samples (20 mg) or body fluids (20 μL) were spiked with an analyte mix and deuterated internal standards, extracted by liquid-liquid extraction, and analyzed by liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). For highest applicability, an easy solvent calibration was used. Furthermore, time-consuming dilution of high concentration samples showing detector saturation was circumvented by two overlapping calibration curves using (12)C isotope monitoring for low concentrations and (13)C isotopes for high concentration, respectively. The method was validated according to international guidelines with modifications. Matrix effects and extraction efficiency were strongly matrix and analyte dependent. In general, brain and adipose tissue produced the highest matrix effects, whereas cerebrospinal fluid showed the least matrix effects. Accuracy and precision results were rather matrix independent with some exceptions. Despite using an external solvent calibration, the accuracy requirements were fulfilled for 66 to 81 % of the 83 analytes. Depending on the matrix, 75-93 % of the analytes showed intra-day precisions at <20 %. (12)C and (13)C calibrations gave comparable results and proved to be a useful tool in expanding the dynamic range. PMID:26396081
Madadi, Parvaz; Kelly, Lauren E; Ross, Colin J; Kepron, Charis; Edwards, James N; Koren, Gideon
There is a paucity of data to aid in assessing whether postmortem methadone findings in breastfed infants are clinically and/or toxicologically significant. Two cases are reported in which methadone was detected in deceased neonates whose mothers were enrolled in methadone maintenance programs and were breastfeeding. In addition to a complete autopsy and toxicological testing for alcohol, prescription medications, and drugs of abuse, pharmacogenetic analysis was performed for variants in genes related to methadone metabolism and response. In both cases, the postmortem methadone concentration measured in neonatal heart blood was higher than the maximum serum methadone concentration reported in living breastfed infants whose mothers were receiving methadone. However, additional analysis of antemortem blood indicated postmortem redistribution of methadone. Pharmacogenetic results were suggestive of a potential predisposition to methadone toxicity based on studies in adults; the significance of these findings in breastfed neonates requires further research. The medical cause of death was unascertained in both cases. PMID:26513313
Açikgöz, Halide Nihal
Odour of the animal or human corpses immediately after death is very attractive for insects and other invertebrates. Blue and green bottle flies from the Calliphoridae family are the first colonizers of cadaver and immediately later necrophagous Diptera from the Sarcophagidae family settle on the same corpse. It is essential to determine the time past after death for elucidating the event in case of the homicide or suspicious death, and it is directly proportional to the post mortem interval expected time, which is based upon the speed of the larval growth. In this article, we purposed to stress the special interest of forensic entomology for the scientists who will apply this science in their forensic researches and case studies, and also to provide information to our judges, prosecutors and law enforcement agents in order to consider the entomological samples to be reliable and applicable evidences as biological stains and hairs. We are of the opinion that if any forensic entomologist is called to the crime scene or if the evidences are collected and then delivered to an entomologist, the forensic cases will be elucidated faster and more accurately. PMID:20954127
Hauther, Kathleen A; Cobaugh, Kelly L; Jantz, Lee Meadows; Sparer, Tim E; DeBruyn, Jennifer M
Postmortem succession of human-associated microbial communities ("human microbiome") has been suggested as a possible method for estimating postmortem interval (PMI) for forensic analyses. Here we evaluate human gut bacterial populations to determine quantifiable, time-dependent changes postmortem. Gut microflora were repeatedly sampled from the proximal large intestine of 12 deceased human individuals as they decayed under environmental conditions. Three intestinal bacterial genera were quantified by quantitative PCR (qPCR) using group-specific primers targeting 16S rRNA genes. Bacteroides and Lactobacillus relative abundances declined exponentially with increasing PMI at rates of Nt=0.977e(-0.0144t) (r2=0.537, p<0.001) and Nt=0.019e(-0.0087t) (r2=0.396, p<0.001), respectively, where Nt is relative abundance at time (t) in cumulative degree hours. Bifidobacterium relative abundances did not change significantly: Nt=0.003e(-0.002t) (r2=0.033, p=0.284). Therefore, Bacteroides and Lactobacillus abundances could be used as quantitative indicators of PMI. PMID:26096156
Ferner, R E
Clinical pharmacology assumes that deductions can be made about the concentrations of drugs from a knowledge of the pharmacokinetic parameters in an individual; and that the effects are related to the measured concentration. Post-mortem changes render the assumptions of clinical pharmacology largely invalid, and make the interpretation of concentrations measured in post-mortem samples difficult or impossible. Qualitative tests can show the presence of substances that were not present in life, and can fail to detect substances that led to death. Quantitative analysis is subject to error in itself, and because post-mortem concentrations vary in largely unpredictable ways with the site and time of sampling, as a result of the phenomenon of post-mortem redistribution. Consequently, compilations of ‘lethal concentrations’ are misleading. There is a lack of adequate studies of the true relationship between fatal events and the concentrations that can be measured subsequently, but without such studies, clinical pharmacologists and others should be wary of interpreting post-mortem measurements. PMID:18637886
Metcalf, Jessica L; Wegener Parfrey, Laura; Gonzalez, Antonio; Lauber, Christian L; Knights, Dan; Ackermann, Gail; Humphrey, Gregory C; Gebert, Matthew J; Van Treuren, Will; Berg-Lyons, Donna; Keepers, Kyle; Guo, Yan; Bullard, James; Fierer, Noah; Carter, David O; Knight, Rob
Establishing the time since death is critical in every death investigation, yet existing techniques are susceptible to a range of errors and biases. For example, forensic entomology is widely used to assess the postmortem interval (PMI), but errors can range from days to months. Microbes may provide a novel method for estimating PMI that avoids many of these limitations. Here we show that postmortem microbial community changes are dramatic, measurable, and repeatable in a mouse model system, allowing PMI to be estimated within approximately 3 days over 48 days. Our results provide a detailed understanding of bacterial and microbial eukaryotic ecology within a decomposing corpse system and suggest that microbial community data can be developed into a forensic tool for estimating PMI. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01104.001 PMID:24137541
Kunsman, G W; Presses, C L; Rodriguez, P
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning remains a common cause of both suicidal and accidental deaths in the United States. As a consequence, determination of the percent carboxyhemoglobin (%COHb) level in postmortem blood is a common analysis performed in toxicology laboratories. The blood specimens analyzed are generally preserved with either EDTA or sodium fluoride. Potentially problematic scenarios that may arise in conjunction with CO analysis are a first analysis or a reanalysis requested months or years after the initial toxicology testing is completed; both raise the issue of the stability of carboxyhemoglobin in stored postmortem blood specimens. A study was conducted at the Bexar County Medical Examiner's Office to evaluate the stability of CO in blood samples collected in red-, gray-, and purple-top tubes by comparing results obtained at the time of the autopsy and after two years of storage at 3 degrees C using either an IL 282 or 682 CO-Oximeter. The results from this study suggest that carboxyhemoglobin is stable in blood specimens collected in vacutainer tubes, with or without preservative, and stored refrigerated for up to two years. PMID:11043662
Staeheli, Sandra N; Gascho, Dominic; Fornaro, Juergen; Laberke, Patrick; Ebert, Lars C; Martinez, Rosa Maria; Thali, Michael J; Kraemer, Thomas; Steuer, Andrea E
The postmortem redistribution (PMR) phenomenon complicates interpretation in forensic toxicology. Human data on time-dependent PMR are rare and only exist for blood so far. A new method for investigation of time-dependent PMR in blood as well as in alternative body fluids and tissues was developed and evaluated using automated biopsy sampling. At admission of the bodies, introducer needles were placed in liver, lung, kidney, muscle, spleen, adipose tissue, heart, femoral vein, and lumbar spine using a robotic arm guided by a computed tomography scanner (CT). Needle placement accuracy was analyzed and found to be acceptable for the study purpose. Tissue biopsies and small volume body fluid samples were collected in triplicate through the introducer needles. At autopsy (around 24 h after admission), samples from the same body regions were collected. After mastering of the technical challenges, two authentic cases were analyzed as a proof of concept. Drug concentrations of venlafaxine, O-desmethylvenlafaxine, bromazepam, flupentixol, paroxetine, and lorazepam were determined by LC-MS/MS, and the percentage concentration changes between the two time points were calculated. Concentration changes were observed with both increases and decreases depending on analyte and matrix. While venlafaxine, flupentixol, paroxetine, and lorazepam generally showed changes above 30% and more, O-desmethylvenlafaxine and bromazepam did not undergo extensive PMR. The presented study shows that CT-controlled biopsy collection provides a valuable tool for systematic time-dependent PMR investigation, demanding only minimal sample amount and causing minimal damage to the body. PMID:26677021
Vanin, S; Tasinato, P; Ducolin, G; Terranova, C; Zancaner, S; Montisci, M; Ferrara, S D; Turchetto, M
The aim of this study was to highlight the importance of evaluating entomological evidence in forensic investigations on a regional scale. To evaluate climatic, geographical and environmental influences on the selection of carrion-breeding fauna in Northern Italy and consequently on inferred forensic data (post-mortem intervals and post-mortem transfer), we present details of six indoor-outdoor cases. Results show that the most abundant species was Lucilia sericata, together with other fly species of entomo-forensic interest, belonging to the Calliphoridae and Sarcophagidae families. In particular, for the first time in Italy, we report finding Phormia regina, Lucilia ampullacea, Lucilia caesar and Sarcophaga (Pandelleana) protuberans on fresh cadavers. The active period of L. sericata in Northern Italy, according to previous findings in Southern Europe, revealing clearcut differences with phenologies in Northern Europe, has important consequences in estimating the period (season, months) of death in cases of long post-mortem intervals (several months or years) if empty puparia of this fly are found. According to our results, the distribution of L. sericata in areas with urban sprawl, like Northern Italian regions, cannot be used to evaluate post-mortem transfer from an urban area to a rural one. PMID:18079080
Yagmur, Gulhan; Sav, Hafize; Ziyade, Nihan; Elgormus, Neval; Sen, Sumeyye; Akkoyun Bilgi, Esma; Atan, Yusuf; Buyuk, Yalcin; Kiraz, Nuri
Invasive fungal infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients, especially in cases requiring a prolonged stay in the intensive care unit. A total of 99 yeast strains were isolated from 42 postmortem cases. In this study, virulence factors and antifungal susceptibility of these species were evaluated. The isolates were identified as Candida albicans (54), C. tropicalis (15), C. glabrata (12), C. parapsilosis (6), C. lipolytica (3), C. utilis (3), C. krusei (2), C. kefyr (1), and Cryptococcus neoformans (3). The most commonly isolated species was C. albicans, and no resistant species were determined. Despite the equal number of specimens, no secretion of significant virulence factors was associated with the postmortem specimen in the Candida species. Postmortem fungal investigations in forensic autopsies are useful in explaining cause of death in such cases, also may lead to protocols for the treatment of fungal infections and contribute to fungal pathogenesis and epidemiological data. PMID:27364280
Ruffell, Alastair; McKinley, Jennifer
Geomorphology plays a critical role in two areas of geoforensics: searching the land for surface or buried objects and sampling scenes of crime and control locations as evidence. Associated geoscience disciplines have substantial bodies of work dedicated to their relevance in forensic investigations, yet geomorphology (specifically landforms, their mapping and evolution, soils and relationship to geology and biogeography) have not had similar public exposure. This is strange considering how fundamental to legal enquiries the location of a crime and its evolution are, as this article will demonstrate. This work aims to redress the balance by showing how geomorphology featured in one of the earliest works on forensic science methods, and has continued to play a role in the sociology, archaeology, criminalistics and geoforensics of crime. Traditional landscape interpretation from aerial photography is used to demonstrate how a geomorphological approach saved police time in the search for a clandestine grave. The application geomorphology has in military/humanitarian geography and environmental/engineering forensics is briefly discussed as these are also regularly reviewed in courts of law.
Brough, A L; Morgan, B; Rutty, G N
Radiography has been used for identification since 1927, and established a role in mass fatality investigations in 1949. More recently, postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) has been used for disaster victim identification (DVI). PMCT offers several advantages compared with fluoroscopy, plain film and dental X-rays, including: speed, reducing the number of on-site personnel and imaging modalities required, making it potentially more efficient. However, there are limitations that inhibit the international adoption of PMCT into routine practice. One particular problem is that due to the fact that forensic radiology is a relatively new sub-speciality, there are no internationally established standards for image acquisition, image interpretation and archiving. This is reflected by the current INTERPOL DVI form, which does not contain a PMCT section. The DVI working group of the International Society of Forensic Radiology and Imaging supports the use of imaging in mass fatality response and has published positional statements in this area. This review will discuss forensic radiology, PMCT, and its role in disaster victim identification. PMID:26108152
Blau, Soren; Robertson, Shelley; Johnstone, Marnie
Mass fatalities can present the forensic anthropologist and forensic pathologist with a different set of challenges to those presented by a single fatality. To date radiography has played an important role in the disaster victim identification (DVI) process. The aim of this paper is to highlight the benefits of applying computed tomography (CT) technology to the DVI process. The paper begins by reviewing the extent to which sophisticated imaging techniques, specifically CT, have been increasingly used to assist in the analysis of deceased individuals. A small scale case study is then presented which describes aspects of the DVI process following a recent Australian aviation disaster involving two individuals. Having grided the scene of the disaster, a total of 41 bags of heavily disrupted human remains were collected. A postmortem examination was subsequently undertaken. Analysis of the CT images of all body parts (n = 162) made it possible not only to identify and side differentially preserved skeletal elements which were anatomically unrecognizable in the heavily disrupted body masses, but also to observe and record useful identifying features such as surgical implants. In this case the role of the forensic anthropologist and CT technology were paramount in facilitating a quick identification, and subsequently, an effective and timely reconciliation, of body parts. Although this case study is small scale, it illustrates the enormous potential for CT imaging to complement the existing DVI process. PMID:18547358
Hartung, Thomas; van Vliet, Erwin; Jaworska, Joanna; Bonilla, Leo; Skinner, Nigel; Thomas, Russell
The need for a more mechanistic understanding of the ways in which chemicals modulate biological pathways is urgent if we are to identify and better assess safety issues relating to a wide range of substances developed by the pharmaceutical, chemical, agri-bio, and cosmetic industries. Omics technologies provide a valuable opportunity to refine existing methods and provide information for so-called integrated testing strategies via the creation of signatures of toxicity. By mapping these signatures to underlying pathways of toxicity, some of which have been identified by toxicologists over the last few decades, and bringing them together with pathway information determined from biochemistry and molecular biology, a "systems toxicology" approach will enable virtual experiments to be conducted that can improve the prediction of hazard and the assessment of compound toxicity. PMID:22562485
James, John T.
Safe breathing air for space faring crews is essential whether they are inside an Extravehicular Mobility Suit (EMU), a small capsule such as Soyuz, or the expansive International Space Station (ISS). Sources of air pollution can include entry of propellants, excess offgassing from polymeric materials, leakage of systems compounds, escape of payload compounds, over-use of utility compounds, microbial metabolism, and human metabolism. The toxicological risk posed by a compound is comprised of the probability of escaping to cause air pollution and the magnitude of adverse effects on human health if escape occurs. The risk from highly toxic compounds is controlled by requiring multiple levels of containment to greatly reduce the probability of escape; whereas compounds that are virtually non-toxic may require little or no containment. The potential for toxicity is determined by the inherent toxicity of the compound and the amount that could potentially escape into the breathing air.
der Burgt, Guda van
Pets and pony camp, and a wish for a career that involved working with her hands, led Guda van der Burgt to study veterinary medicine at Utrecht. Starting her working life with a cattle breeding company, she moved into large animal work, industry and state veterinary medicine, all of which gave her the skills to set up a postmortem examination service. PMID:27339933
Böhme, Rainer; Freiling, Felix C.; Gloe, Thomas; Kirchner, Matthias
The recent popularity of research on topics of multimedia forensics justifies reflections on the definition of the field. This paper devises an ontology that structures forensic disciplines by their primary domain of evidence. In this sense, both multimedia forensics and computer forensics belong to the class of digital forensics, but they differ notably in the underlying observer model that defines the forensic investigator’s view on (parts of) reality, which itself is not fully cognizable. Important consequences on the reliability of probative facts emerge with regard to available counter-forensic techniques: while perfect concealment of traces is possible for computer forensics, this level of certainty cannot be expected for manipulations of sensor data. We cite concrete examples and refer to established techniques to support our arguments.
Garber, Mitchell A; Canfield, Dennis V; Lewis, Russell J; Simmons, Samuel D; Radisch, Deborah L
The pilot of a light aircraft that crashed after a loss of power was found to have ethanol in the vitreous and the blood, but almost none in the urine. The globes of the eyes were intact, and the body was refrigerated after recovery until the autopsy was performed the following morning. The pilot was described as a "nondrinker," and additional specialized toxicology testing results were inconsistent with ethanol ingestion. The pilot's body was extensively exposed to fuel during the prolonged extraction. Investigation determined that the aircraft had been fueled with gasoline that contained 10% ethanol. Although exposure to automotive fuel has not been previously described as a source of ethanol in postmortem specimens, it may represent a source for the ethanol detected during postmortem toxicology testing in this case, and this finding may be relevant to other cases with similar exposure. PMID:22835972
Germerott, Tanja; Todt, Melanie; Bode-Jänisch, Stefanie; Albrecht, Knut; Breitmeier, Dirk
The external post-mortem examination, its deficient quality and possible causes have been the subject of numerous political and professional discussions. The external post-mortem examination is the basis for the decision whether further criminal investigations are required to clarify the cause of death. It is thus an essential instrument to ensure legal certainty. Before cremation, a second external post-mortem examination is performed by a public medical officer to make sure that errors of the first post-mortem are corrected. In the present study, cases were retrospectively analyzed in which a forensic autopsy had been ordered on the basis of the results of the post-mortem examination performed before cremation. The entries on the death certificate regarding the manner and cause of death were compared with the autopsy results. Between 1998 and 2007, 387 autopsies were ordered after external examination before cremation. In 55 cases (14.2%), the autopsy revealed a non-natural death, although a natural death had been attested on the death certificate. In descending order, a wrong manner of death was attested by clinicians, general practitioners and emergency physicians. With regard to the place where the first external post-mortem had been performed the lowest error rate was seen in nursing homes. Concerning the cause of death, discrepancies between the first post-mortem and autopsy were found in 59.4% of the cases. In this respect, general practitioners and clinicians were ranking first, whereas in nursing homes the cause of death was wrongly assessed in over 70% of cases. At present, the medical post-mortem does not meet the required quality standards, especially with regard to legal certainty. Determination of the cause of death on the basis of the external post-mortem examination is a challenging task even for the experienced medical examiner. As to the categorization of the manner of death it has to be stated that non-natural deaths are often not recognized or
The diagnosis of anaphylaxis in a pre- or post-mortal phase involves the formulation of problems not yet solved by the international scientific literature, due to the complexity of pathogenic factors and pathophysiological processes that characterizes it. For forensic autopsies, further problems of differential diagnosis arise and often leave the forensic pathologist unable to express an opinion of certainty, as a result of lack of case history, circumstantial and autoptical-histopathological data. Nevertheless, in routine cases the postmortem diagnosis of anaphylactic death continues to be based on exclusion and circumstantial evidence. The author, after an extensive review of the literature relating to deaths from anaphylaxis of forensic pathological interest, and a discussion of the microscopical and biochemical findings, proposes a diagnostic protocol for forensic purposes and evaluates the diagnostic perspectives enabled by the newly available analytic techniques and markers. Maybe, the application of omics methodologies could help in the future for anaphylaxis diagnosis. PMID:27591544
Magalhães, Teresa; Dinis-Oliveira, Ricardo Jorge; Santos, Agostinho
The University of Porto (UP) provides education in Forensic Medicine (FM) through the 1st, 2nd and 3rd cycle of studies, post-graduation and continuing education courses. This education is related to forensic pathology, clinical forensic medicine (including forensic psychology and psychiatry), forensic chemistry and toxicology, forensic genetics and biology, and criminalistics. With this work we intent to reflect on how we are currently teaching FM in the UP, at all levels of university graduation. We will present our models, regarding the educational objectives, curricular program and teaching/learning methodologies of each cycle of studies as well as in post-graduate and continuing education courses. Historically, and besides related administratively to the Ministry of Justice, the Portuguese Medico-Legal Institutes (since 1918) and more recently the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF) also have educational and research responsibilities. Thus, it lends space and cooperates with academic institutions and this contribution, namely regarding teaching forensic sciences in Portugal has been judged as an example for other Countries. This contribution is so important that in UP, the Department of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of the Faculty of Medicine (FMUP) shares, until now, the same physical space with North Branch of the INMLCF, which represents a notorious advantage, since it makes possible the "learning by doing". PMID:24931860
At the beginning of a new millennium it seems a good idea to stop for a moment and take stock of the current state of forensic science. As a field of scientific research and scientific application, forensic science is a little more than a century old. Forensic science may be said to have begun in 1887 with the simultaneous publication of A. Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet and Hans Gross's Handbuch f1/4r Untersuchungsrichter. Conan Doyle's novel introduced to the world the character of Sherlock Holmes, whose literary career would popularize the use of physical evidence in criminal investigations. Gross's manual for examining magistrates suggests ways in which the expertise of chemists, biologists, geologists, and other natural scientists could contribute to investigations. Gross's book was translated into a number of languages and went through various updated editions during the course of the century. The intervening century saw the development and application of fingerprinting, firearm and tool mark identification, forensic chemistry, forensic biology, forensic toxicology, forensic odontology, forensic pathology, and forensic engineering. Increasingly, the judicial systems of the industrial nations of the world have come to rely upon the expertise of scientists in a variety of disciplines. In most advanced countries, virtually all criminal prosecutions now involve the presentation of scientific testimony. This has had the beneficial effect of diminishing the reliance of courts on eyewitness testimony and defendant confessions. PMID:12805857
Taylor, Carol Louise; Popovsky, Barbara; Frincke, Deborah A.
In this paper we present an approach to digital forensics specification based on forensic policy definition. Our methodology borrows from computer security policy specification, which has accumulated a significant body of research over the past 30 years. We first define the process of specifying forensics properties through a forensics policy and then present an example application of the process. This approach lends itself to formal policy specification and verification, which would allow for more clarity and less ambiguity in the specification process
Amendt, J; Richards, C S; Campobasso, C P; Zehner, R; Hall, M J R
Forensic entomology is the science of collecting and analysing insect evidence to aid in forensic investigations. Its main application is in the determination of the minimum time since death in cases of suspicious death, either by estimating the age of the oldest necrophagous insects that developed on the corpse, or by analysing the insect species composition on the corpse. In addition, toxicological and molecular examinations of these insects may help reveal the cause of death or even the identity of a victim, by associating a larva with its last meal, for example, in cases where insect evidence is left at a scene after human remains have been deliberately removed. Some fly species can develop not only on corpses but on living bodies too, causing myiasis. Analysis of larvae in such cases can demonstrate the period of neglect of humans or animals. Without the appropriate professional collection of insect evidence, an accurate and convincing presentation of such evidence in court will be hampered or even impossible. The present paper describes the principles and methods of forensic entomology and the optimal techniques for collecting insect evidence. PMID:21213072
Byard, Roger W; Tsokos, Michael
Diogenes syndrome is a syndrome described in the clinical literature in elderly individuals characterized by social isolation and extreme squalor. A number of typical features are found in the forensic evaluation of these deaths as the cases usually initiate medicolegal investigations due to the circumstances and the lack of recorded medical histories. Examinations of the death scenes are often difficult as victim's houses are in a state of disrepair, with filth and clutter, and pet dogs may resent the intrusion of strangers. Bodies are often filthy, with parasitic infestations, and are often putrefied due to the social isolation of the deceased and the delay in the finding of the corpse. Bodies may be traumatized from postmortem animal depredation by rodents or pets (eg, cats, dogs), and injuries such as bruises and lacerations may be present from falls associated with terminal illnesses or alcoholism. Blood or putrefactive fluids may be spread throughout the house by pets. Treatable medical conditions are often present in advanced stages, and features of hypothermia may be found. Attending police may suspect robbery due to disarray of the house and homicide due to apparent "bleeding" around the body from purging of putrefactive fluids, injuries from falls, or postmortem animal activity and "blood stains" throughout the house from antemortem injuries and/or fluid spread by animals. Finally, the identification of the deceased may be compromised by decay and/or postmortem animal activity. Thus, in addition to having typical clinical manifestations, such individuals appear to form a distinct subset of forensic cases having characteristic death scene and autopsy features and presenting particular difficulties in postmortem evaluations. PMID:17525574
Zhu, Bao-Li; Ishikawa, Takaki; Michiue, Tomomi; Quan, Li; Maeda, Hitoshi
Serum endotoxin is a clinical marker of sepsis. However, it is vulnerable to bacterial contamination, and the postmortem stability has not been established. In the present study, to evaluate the forensic pathological significance of postmortem endotoxemia in relation to the causes of death, we investigated a series of 111 autopsy cases (postmortem interval<48 h), in part, using bacteriological investigations. Systemic endotoxemia involving both the cardiac and peripheral blood was observed in some specific causes of death, including pneumonia (n=1/3), peritonitis (n=2/5), delayed traumatic death with severe secondary infection (n=7/33), drownings (freshwater, n=3/9; saltwater, n=3/16), fire deaths (n=3/16), and also in protracted deaths under critical medical care (n=2). Most cases of fatal blunt injury (n=4/5) showed sporadic endotoxemia in cardiac or peripheral blood, whereas there was no elevation of serum endotoxin in acute hemorrhagic death from sharp instrument injury (n=6). The bacteriological investigation showed some characteristic profiles in infections and drownings. These observations suggested that, although endotoxin is a vulnerable serum marker to ante and postmortem interference, systemic postmortem endotoxemia involving peripheral blood may be a possible indicator of antemortem bacteremia related to some specific causes of death accompanied by advanced infection or pulmonary alveolar damage in the dying process especially due to drownings and fires. PMID:15708333
Gulumian, Mary . E-mail: email@example.com; Ginsburg, Carren; Stewart, Michael J.
Degrees and diplomas as well as certificates that are granted by universities and technikons in South Africa in scientific disciplines, such as forensic medicine, pharmacology, marine and veterinary sciences, environmental health, and occupational hygiene, include toxicology as one of the subjects in their overall syllabus. However, aspects of toxicology included in each of these courses are biased towards that particular subdiscipline and basic level of toxicology may be taught. Educational needs in toxicology in South Africa can be summarized as follows: (a) recognition of toxicology as a discipline in its own right at these tertiary education institutions and (b) creation of opportunities to study and obtain higher degrees in one or more of the many subdisciplines of toxicology. The results from a survey conducted on the toxicology syllabi offered at these tertiary education institutions are used to substantiate these needs.
Joynt, B P
Triazolam has been a controversial drug since its appearance on world markets as a hypnotic more than ten years ago. Whole blood concentrations of triazolam as found in forensic cases are cited in several categories; that is, impaired driving: 17 cases; sexual assault: four cases; death due to drugs: 45 cases; drug-related death (drugs contributed to the death but were not the ultimate cause): 20 cases; drug-involved death (drugs were present but were not felt to be a contributing factor): six cases; miscellaneous: one case. The data was gleaned from a forensic toxicology database designed and used by the Forensic Toxicology Sections of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) laboratories in Canada. Triazolam concentrations from selected references are included for comparison. PMID:8336491
Hamm, Catherine E; Gary, Ray D; McIntyre, Iain M
Gabapentin is a widely prescribed medication used primarily for the treatment of epilepsy and neuropathic pain. Gabapentin has a favorable adverse effect profile in therapeutic dosing with the most common reported effects being dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness, weight gain, and peripheral edema. Even with intentional self-poisonings, serious effects are generally rare. In this report, gabapentin analyses were performed on 30 postmortem cases that had peripheral blood, central blood and liver tissue. Overall the central to peripheral blood (C/P) ratio mean was 0.90±0.24 (mean±standard deviation), and a median of 0.97. The liver to peripheral blood (L/P) ratio mean was 0.68±0.26L/kg (mean±standard deviation), and a median of 0.65L/kg. An additional case, where both antemortem blood and postmortem peripheral blood specimens were available, revealed the same gabapentin concentration in both specimens. Taken together, the data presented suggests that gabapentin is unlikely to show postmortem redistribution. PMID:27038659
Diabetes mellitus has become a major cause of death worldwide and diabetic ketoacidosis is the most common cause of death in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Acute complications of diabetes mellitus as causes of death may be difficult to diagnose due to missing characteristic macroscopic and microscopic findings. Biochemical analyses, including vitreous glucose, blood (or alternative specimen) beta-hydroxybutyrate, and blood glycated hemoglobin determination, may complement postmortem investigations and provide useful information for determining the cause of death even in corpses with advanced decompositional changes. In this article, we performed a review of the literature pertaining to the diagnostic performance of classical and novel biochemical parameters that may be used in the forensic casework to identify disorders in glucose metabolism. We also present a review focusing on the usefulness of traditional and alternative specimens that can be sampled and subsequently analyzed to diagnose acute complications of diabetes mellitus as causes of death. PMID:26088843
Maurer, H H; Meyer, Markus R
This paper reviews high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) approaches using time-of-flight or Orbitrap techniques for research and application in various toxicology fields, particularly in clinical toxicology and forensic toxicology published since 2013 and referenced in PubMed. In the introduction, an overview on applications of HRMS in various toxicology fields is given with reference to current review articles. Papers concerning HRMS in metabolism, screening, and quantification of pharmaceuticals, drugs of abuse, and toxins in human body samples are critically reviewed. Finally, a discussion on advantages as well as limitations and future perspectives of these methods is included. PMID:27369376
Jotterand, M; Doenz, F; Grabherr, S; Faouzi, M; Boone, S; Mangin, P; Michaud, K
In clinical practice, the cardiothoracic ratio (CTR) was first utilized on plain chest radiography, and subsequently with computed tomography (CT) to diagnose cardiomegaly with a threshold of 0.5. Using CTR in forensic practice could help to detect cardiomegaly on post-mortem CT (PMCT) prior to the autopsy. However, an adaption of the threshold could be necessary because of post-mortem changes. Our retrospective study aimed to measure the CTR on PMCT and test the possible influence of variables. We selected 109 autopsy cases in which the heart weight was within normal limits. A forensic pathologist and a radiologist measured separately the CTR on axial and scout views on PMCT. We tested the statistical concordance between the two readers and between the axial and scout view and identified factors that could be associated with a modification of the CTR. The CTR measurements revealed an overestimation of the measurements made on scout compared to axial view. The inter-reader correlation was very high for both views. Among the different variables statistically tested, heart dilatation and body mass index (BMI) were the only two factors statistically associated with an augmentation of the CTR. The CTR can be useful in the diagnosis of cardiomegaly on PMCT. However, dilatation of the cardiac chambers caused by acute heart failure may be misinterpreted radiographically as cardiomegaly. Inter-observer reliability in our study was very high. CTR may be overestimated when measured on the scout view. Further investigations with larger cohorts, including cases with cardiac hypertrophy, are necessary to better understand the relationship between radiological CTR and the morphology of the heart. PMID:26886107
Biomarkers are a means to evaluate chemical exposure and/or the subsequent impacts on toxicity pathways that lead to adverse health outcomes. Computational toxicology can integrate biomarker data with knowledge of exposure, chemistry, biology, pharmacokinetics, toxicology, and e...
TOXLINE? (TOXicology information onLINE) are the National Library of Medicines extensive collection of online bibliographic information covering the pharmacological, biochemical, physiological, and toxicological effects of drugs and other chemicals. TOXLINE and TOXLINE65 together...
Kučerová, Stěpánka; Safr, Miroslav; Ublová, Michaela; Urbanová, Petra; Hejna, Petr
X-ray is the most common, basic and essential imaging method used in forensic medicine. It serves to display and localize the foreign objects in the body and helps to detect various traumatic and pathological changes. X-ray imaging is valuable in anthropological assessment of an individual. X-ray allows non-invasive evaluation of important findings before the autopsy and thus selection of the optimal strategy for dissection. Basic indications for postmortem X-ray imaging in forensic medicine include gunshot and explosive fatalities (identification and localization of projectiles or other components of ammunition, visualization of secondary missiles), sharp force injuries (air embolism, identification of the weapon) and motor vehicle related deaths. The method is also helpful for complex injury evaluation in abused victims or in persons where abuse is suspected. Finally, X-ray imaging still remains the gold standard method for identification of unknown deceased. With time modern imaging methods, especially computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging, are more and more applied in forensic medicine. Their application extends possibilities of the visualization the bony structures toward a more detailed imaging of soft tissues and internal organs. The application of modern imaging methods in postmortem body investigation is known as digital or virtual autopsy. At present digital postmortem imaging is considered as a bloodless alternative to the conventional autopsy. PMID:25186776
TOXNET (Toxicology Data Network) is a computerized system of files oriented to toxicology and related areas. It is managed by the National Library of Medicines Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) and runs on a series of microcomputers in a networked cl...
Dinis-Oliveira, Ricardo Jorge; Carvalho, Felix; Moreira, Roxana; Duarte, Jose Alberto; Proenca, Jorge Brandao; Santos, Agostinho; Magalhaes, Teresa
For a good performance in Clinical and Forensic Toxicology it is important to be aware of the biological and non-biological signs and symptoms related to xenobiotic exposure. This manuscript highlights and analyzes clinical and forensic imaging related to opioids abuse critically. Particularly, respiratory depression, track marks and hemorrhages, skin "popping", practices of phlebotomy, tissue necrosis and ulceration, dermatitis, tongue hyperpigmentation, "coma blisters", intra-arterial administration, candidiasis, wounds associated with anthrax or clostridium contaminated heroin, desomorphine related lesions and characteristic non-biological evidences are some commonly reported findings in opioids abuse, which will be discussed. For this purpose, clinical and forensic cases from our database (National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, North Branch, Portugal), in addition to literature data, are reviewed. PMID:23170787
This series is based upon fact, experience, and some personal views of the author and gives a brief glimpse of forensic odontological issues with regard to the identification of human remains (to include mass fatality incidents), biting injuries and child abuse. The aim of the first paper is to give the reader greater understanding of the role of the forensic odontologist in the identification of human remains, and emphasise the importance of keeping good quality, accurate and comprehensive dental records. Identification of the deceased greatly assists families and friends at this difficult time, as well as aiding law enforcement agencies; getting it wrong is devastating to families and unacceptable. The dental identification process must be carefully undertaken and relies upon the comparison of information from the antemortem record with findings from the postmortem examination, and the efficiency of this process is dependent on the quality and availability of the dental record. As dental team members it is our responsibility to keep and maintain accurate records of our patients. The resilience of the dental structures to postmortem assault, denture labelling, and teeth as a source of DNA, all contribute to making identification successful. Dental identification is widely used, not only in the single fatality situation, but also in mass fatality incidents and cases of missing persons. PMID:21394152
Funkhouser, John; Deslich, Barbara J.
Explains the implementation of forensic science in an integrated curriculum and discusses the advantages of this approach. Lists the forensic science course syllabi studied in three high schools. Discusses the unit on polymers in detail. (YDS)
Budowle, Bruce; Murch, Randall; Chakraborty, Ranajit
Pathogens and toxins can be converted to bioweapons and used to commit bioterrorism and biocrime. Because of the potential and relative ease of an attack using a bioweapon, forensic science needs to be prepared to assist in the investigation to bring perpetrators to justice and to deter future attacks. A new subfield of forensics--microbial forensics--has been created, which is focused on characterization of evidence from a bioterrorism act, biocrime, hoax, or an inadvertent release. Forensic microbiological investigations are essentially the same as any other forensic investigation regarding processing. They involve crime scene(s) investigation, chain of custody practices, evidence collection, handling and preservation, evidence shipping, analysis of evidence, interpretation of results, and court presentation. In addition to collecting and analyzing traditional forensic evidence, the forensic investigation will attempt to determine the etiology and identity of the causal agent, often in a similar fashion as in an epidemiologic investigation. However, for attribution, higher-resolution characterization is needed. The tools for attribution include genetic- and nongenetic-based assays and informatics to attempt to determine the unique source of a sample or at least eliminate some sources. In addition, chemical and physical assays may help determine the process used to prepare, store, or disseminate the bioweapon. An effective microbial forensics program will require development and/or validation of all aspects of the forensic investigative process, from sample collection to interpretation of results. Quality assurance (QA) and QC practices, comparable to those used by the forensic DNA science community, are being implemented. Lastly, partnerships with other laboratories will be requisite, because many of the necessary capabilities for analysis will not reside in the traditional forensic laboratory. PMID:15821943
Inokuchi, Go; Makino, Yohsuke; Yajima, Daisuke; Motomura, Ayumi; Chiba, Fumiko; Torimitsu, Suguru; Hoshioka, Yumi; Iwase, Hirotaro
Acute subdural hematoma (ASDH) is mostly caused by head trauma, but intrinsic causes also exist such as aneurysm rupture. We describe here a case involving a man in his 70s who was found lying on the bedroom floor by his family. CT performed at the hospital showed ASDH and a forensic autopsy was requested. Postmortem cerebral angiography showed dilatation of the bifurcation of the middle cerebral artery, which coincided with the dilated part of the Sylvian fissure. Extravasation of contrast medium into the subdural hematoma from this site was suggestive of a ruptured aneurysm. Autopsy revealed a fleshy hematoma (total weight 110 g) in the right subdural space and findings of brain herniation. As indicated on angiography, a ruptured saccular aneurysm was confirmed at the bifurcation of the middle cerebral artery. Obvious injuries to the head or face could not be detected on either external or internal examination, and intrinsic ASDH due to a ruptured middle cerebral artery aneurysm was determined as the cause of death. One of the key points of forensic diagnosis is the strict differentiation between intrinsic and extrinsic onset for conditions leading to death. Although most subdural hematomas (SDH) are caused by extrinsic factors, forensic pathologists should consider the possibility of intrinsic SDH. In addition, postmortem angiography can be useful for identifying vascular lesions in such cases. PMID:26362305
Wright, B. M.; Slavin, G.; Kreel, L.; Callan, K.; Sandin, Brenda
Wright, B. M., Slavin, G., Kreel, L., Callan, K., and Sandin, Brenda (1974).Thorax, 29, 189-194. Postmortem inflation and fixation of human lungs. A method of fixing lungs by inflating them with heated formalin vapour is described. This method facilitates postmortem correlations between radiographic and histological appearances. Images PMID:4598582
Desai, Nandini J.; Gupta, B.D.; Patel, Pratik N.
Introduction The major cause of death in the burn patients includes multiple organ failure and infection but, sometimes the exact cause of death in many fatally burned patients is difficult to detect. Many times in medico-legal post-mortem examinations in cases of burns, histopathological examination of organs is requested. Aim The aim was to study various histopathological changes in kidneys in the post-mortem cases of burns, by using routine Haematoxylin and Eosin stain (H&E stain), special Periodic and Schiff’s Stain (PAS) stain, to study the role of acridine orange fluorescence study, to explore the forensic utility of this microscopic study and to find out the relationship between duration of survival and histopathological changes observed. Materials and Methods An experimental longitudinal prospective study from October 2010 to September 2012. Total 32 cases of death due to burns were autopsied at mortuary, the Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology in our hospital. Bilateral kidneys were removed and preserved in 10% formalin solution. These were forwarded to Department of Pathology for histopathological examination. Routine microscopic examination by H&E stain as well as PAS stain and fluorescence study by acridine orange stain were done in all cases. Results It was observed that in 21 (65.63%) cases gross findings in kidneys were normal, in 06 (18.75%) were grossly pale and in 05 (15.62%) heavy & congested. Sections taken from kidneys and studied by H&E stain showed overlapping histopathological changes in all cases. In 26 (81.25%) cases, changes of Acute Tubular Necrosis (ATN) while in remaining 06 (18.75%), changes of cloudy swelling were observed. The sections stained by acridine orange and observed under fluorescent microscope were lightly positive in 15 (46.88%), brightly positive in 08 (25.00%) whereas, negative in 09 (28.12%). Conclusion Microscopy by various methods helps in getting specific lesions in kidney due to burns. However, it does
Herold, Lynne D.
Criminalistics, one of the many sub-divisions of forensic science, is an applied science in which items of evidence are analyzed to provide investigative information and scientific evidence to be used in courts of law. Laboratories associated with governmental public agencies are typically involved in criminal cases as opposed to civil cases, and those types of cases that fall within the jurisdiction of the particular agency. Common analytical divisions within criminalistics laboratories include blood alcohol testing, toxicology, narcotics, questioned documents, biology, firearms, latent fingerprints, physical and trace evidence sections. Specialized field investigative services may be provided in the areas of clandestine drug laboratories and major crimes (firearms, biology, trace, arson/explosives). Forensic science best practice requires the use of non-destructive testing whenever reasonably possible. Several technically difficult situations (bodies and evidence encased in cement and metal) are presented as a challenge to audience.
Rendle, David F
Acts of terrorism, an increase in the use of firearms, drug abuse, the use of so-called date-rape drugs, and driving whilst under the influence of drugs, are just some of the subjects frequently in the news. In the absence of fingermarks and of material leading to the recovery of DNA, the forensic scientist has to rely upon chemical analysis of trace amounts of materials including explosives, drugs, toxicological specimens, firearms discharge residues, fibres, glass, paint, soil etc., in order to establish or eliminate links between suspect and victim and/or scene. This tutorial review describes analytical problems facing the forensic chemist, and the current methods and techniques employed to tackle them. PMID:16284668
Napoli, Pietro Emanuele; Nioi, Matteo; d’Aloja, Ernesto; Fossarello, Maurizio
The purpose of this study was to determine the repeatability and reproducibility of post-mortem central corneal thickness (CCT) measurements by using a real-time, portable optical coherence tomography (OCT) system on an animal model, and to prospectively evaluate the time-course of post-mortem changes in CCT. Forty-six ocular globes of sheep (Ovis aries) were analyzed with a portable spectral-domain OCT device by two operators at different postmortem intervals (PMIs) as follows: immediately (i.e. within 10 minutes), at the 30th minute, at the 1st, 6th, 12th, 24th and 48th hour, and later (up to the 96th hour). The coefficient of repeatability ranged from 0.3% to 3.5%, and coefficients of reproducibility ranged from 0.2% to 3.7% in the central region of the cornea. The intraclass correlation coefficients were particularly high at different PMIs, thus confirming good measurement reliability with the portable OCT. The average CCT decreased immediately and then increased thereafter, with two peaks at 6 and 24 hours after death. Our results suggest that portable OCT is a reliable tool for monitoring CCT variations after death and may be useful in characterizing corneas before explantation, detecting quantitative variations during post-mortem corneal degeneration or assessing changes in CCT for forensic implications. PMID:27457021
Napoli, Pietro Emanuele; Nioi, Matteo; d'Aloja, Ernesto; Fossarello, Maurizio
The purpose of this study was to determine the repeatability and reproducibility of post-mortem central corneal thickness (CCT) measurements by using a real-time, portable optical coherence tomography (OCT) system on an animal model, and to prospectively evaluate the time-course of post-mortem changes in CCT. Forty-six ocular globes of sheep (Ovis aries) were analyzed with a portable spectral-domain OCT device by two operators at different postmortem intervals (PMIs) as follows: immediately (i.e. within 10 minutes), at the 30(th) minute, at the 1(st), 6(th), 12(th), 24(th) and 48(th) hour, and later (up to the 96(th) hour). The coefficient of repeatability ranged from 0.3% to 3.5%, and coefficients of reproducibility ranged from 0.2% to 3.7% in the central region of the cornea. The intraclass correlation coefficients were particularly high at different PMIs, thus confirming good measurement reliability with the portable OCT. The average CCT decreased immediately and then increased thereafter, with two peaks at 6 and 24 hours after death. Our results suggest that portable OCT is a reliable tool for monitoring CCT variations after death and may be useful in characterizing corneas before explantation, detecting quantitative variations during post-mortem corneal degeneration or assessing changes in CCT for forensic implications. PMID:27457021
Young, Robert R
Genetic toxicology is the scientific discipline dealing with the effects of chemical, physical and biological agents on the heredity of living organisms. The Internet offers a wide range of online digital resources for the field of Genetic Toxicology. The history of genetic toxicology and electronic data collections are reviewed. Web-based resources at US National Library of Medicine (NLM), including MEDLINE, PUBMED, Gateway, Entrez, and TOXNET, are discussed. Search strategies and Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) are reviewed in the context of genetic toxicology. The TOXNET group of databases are discussed with emphasis on those databases with genetic toxicology content including GENE-TOX, TOXLINE, Hazardous Substances Data Bank, Integrated Risk Information System, and Chemical Carcinogenesis Research Information System. Location of chemical information including chemical structure and linkage to health and regulatory information using CHEMIDPLUS at NLM and other databases is reviewed. Various government agencies have active genetic toxicology research programs or use genetic toxicology data to assist fulfilling the agency's mission. Online resources at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program (NTP) are outlined. Much of the genetic toxicology for pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and pesticides that is performed in the world is regulatory-driven. Regulatory web resources are presented for the laws mandating testing, guidelines on study design, Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations, and requirements for electronic data collection and reporting. The Internet provides a range of other supporting resources to the field of genetic toxicology. The web links for key professional societies and journals in genetic toxicology are listed. Distance education, educational media resources, and job placement services are also
Bell, Lynne S
A number of papers have been published over a 100 year period describing postmortem microstructural change to bone and teeth in humans and other mammals. Much of the work is descriptive and has used a number of microscopic methods, which introduce changes during preparation, and are limited by the resolving power of that technique. Backscattered electron imaging in a scanning electron microscope (BSE/SEM) has been used successfully applied to on normal skeletal tissues and is an excellent method to document postmortem changes to bone and tooth microstructure. In forensic science, archaeology, and paleontology there is a collective interest in understanding early death history and subsequent treatment and deposition of the body. To this end the main microstructural changes are provided as a means of identification, and practical suggestions to circumvent misinterpretation due to artifacts created by employing the BSE imaging method. PMID:22907409
Brundage, A; Byrd, J H
Forensic entomology can be useful to the veterinary professional in cases of animal cruelty. A main application of forensic entomology is to determine the minimum postmortem interval by estimating the time of insect colonization, based on knowledge of the rate of development of pioneer colonizers and on insect species succession during decomposition of animal remains. Since insect development is temperature dependent, these estimates require documentation of the environmental conditions, including ambient temperature. It can also aid in the detection and recognition of wounds, as well as estimate the timing of periods of neglect. Knowledge of the geographic distribution of insects that colonize animal remains may suggest that there has been movement or concealment of the carcass or can create associations between a suspect, a victim, and a crime scene. In some instances, it can aid in the detection of drugs or toxins within decomposed or skeletonized remains. During animal cruelty investigations, it may become the responsibility of the veterinary professional to document and collect entomological evidence from live animals or during the necropsy. The applications of forensic entomology are discussed. A protocol is described for documenting and collecting entomological evidence at the scene and during the necropsy, with additional emphasis on recording geographic location, meteorological data, and collection and preservation of insect specimens. PMID:27480760
De Angelis, Danilo; Cattaneo, Cristina
Odontological identification consists of the comparison of antemortem dental information regarding a missing person with postmortem data from an unidentified corpse or human remains. Usually, the comparison concerns morphologic features that the operator chooses among all the visible characteristics because of inter-individual uniqueness; for this reason, implants can be of enormous assistance. A case concerning the recovery of a burnt oral implant, connected to a bone fragment, among 2780 charred bone fragments, suspected to have belonged to a victim of homicide, is presented to demonstrate that dental implants and their site of bone integration represent a very precious element for personal forensic identification. Because of their morphological invariability in time and because of their morphologic uniqueness, they were used as evidence to associate unidentified human charred remains to a missing person where DNA analysis failed to do so. The case illustrates the fundamental contribution, not yet described in literature, given by the clinical aspects of tooth replacement with dental implants to a forensic discipline. Clinical practitioners should therefore be aware of the great importance of their work and of dental records in a forensic identification scenario. PMID:25387697
One key aspect in maintaining crew health and performance during spaceflight missions is the provision of a habitable environment with acceptably low concentrations of microbiological and toxicolog...
Humphreys, Michael K; Panacek, Edward; Green, William; Albers, Elizabeth
Protocols for determining postmortem submersion interval (PMSI) have long been problematic for forensic investigators due to the wide variety of factors affecting the rate of decomposition of submerged carrion. Likewise, it has been equally problematic for researchers to develop standardized experimental protocols to monitor underwater decomposition without artificially affecting the decomposition rate. This study compares two experimental protocols: (i) underwater in situ evaluation with photographic documentation utilizing the Heaton et al. total aquatic decomposition (TAD) score and (ii) weighing the carrion before and after submersion. Complete forensic necropsies were performed as a control. Perinatal piglets were used as human analogs. The results of this study indicate that in order to objectively measure decomposition over time, the human analog should be examined at depth using the TAD scoring system rather than utilizing a carrion weight evaluation. The acquired TAD score can be used to calculate an approximate PMSI. PMID:23278272
The National Toxicology Program (NTP) was established in 1978 by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to coordinate toxicological testing programs within the department, strengthen the science base in toxicology; develop and validate improved testing methods; and pr...
... Scientific Meeting — New Orleans, Louisiana 2017 Discover More Forensic Science Education Programs Accreditation Commission (FEPAC) Read More So You Want to Be a Forensic Scientist! Read More ‹ › The American Academy of Forensic ...
Finley, Sheree J; Benbow, M Eric; Javan, Gulnaz T
Most forensic research that is used to better understand how to estimate the postmortem interval (PMI) entails the study of the physiochemical characteristics of decomposition and the effects that environmental factors have on the decomposition process. Forensic entomology exploits the life cycles of arthropods like Diptera (blow flies or flesh flies) and Coleoptera (beetles) deposited on the decaying carcass to determine PMI. Forensic taphonomy, from the Greek word taphos meaning burial, studies the creation of the fossils of decomposed cadavers to ascertain information as to the nature and time of death. Compared to other areas of taphonomy, there have been relatively few forensic science studies that have investigated the impact of human decomposition on the microbial changes occurring on or in a corpse or in the soil communities underneath a body. Such research may facilitate the critical determination of PMI. Therefore, the scope of this review is to provide a concise summary of the current progress in the newly emerging field of microbial diversity and the next-generation metagenomic sequencing approaches for assessing these communities in humans and in the soil beneath decomposing human. PMID:25129823
Liebrock, Lorie M.; Duggan, David Patrick
This report documents the architecture and implementation of a Parallel Digital Forensics infrastructure. This infrastructure is necessary for supporting the design, implementation, and testing of new classes of parallel digital forensics tools. Digital Forensics has become extremely difficult with data sets of one terabyte and larger. The only way to overcome the processing time of these large sets is to identify and develop new parallel algorithms for performing the analysis. To support algorithm research, a flexible base infrastructure is required. A candidate architecture for this base infrastructure was designed, instantiated, and tested by this project, in collaboration with New Mexico Tech. Previous infrastructures were not designed and built specifically for the development and testing of parallel algorithms. With the size of forensics data sets only expected to increase significantly, this type of infrastructure support is necessary for continued research in parallel digital forensics. This report documents the implementation of the parallel digital forensics (PDF) infrastructure architecture and implementation.
Dixon, Robert L.
Issues and topics related to educational challenges in toxicology at all levels are discussed. They include public awareness and understanding, general approach to toxicology, quality structure-activity relationships, epidemiological studies, quantification of risk, and the types of toxicants studied. (JN)
Titz, Bjoern; Elamin, Ashraf; Martin, Florian; Schneider, Thomas; Dijon, Sophie; Ivanov, Nikolai V.; Hoeng, Julia; Peitsch, Manuel C.
Current toxicology studies frequently lack measurements at molecular resolution to enable a more mechanism-based and predictive toxicological assessment. Recently, a systems toxicology assessment framework has been proposed, which combines conventional toxicological assessment strategies with system-wide measurement methods and computational analysis approaches from the field of systems biology. Proteomic measurements are an integral component of this integrative strategy because protein alterations closely mirror biological effects, such as biological stress responses or global tissue alterations. Here, we provide an overview of the technical foundations and highlight select applications of proteomics for systems toxicology studies. With a focus on mass spectrometry-based proteomics, we summarize the experimental methods for quantitative proteomics and describe the computational approaches used to derive biological/mechanistic insights from these datasets. To illustrate how proteomics has been successfully employed to address mechanistic questions in toxicology, we summarized several case studies. Overall, we provide the technical and conceptual foundation for the integration of proteomic measurements in a more comprehensive systems toxicology assessment framework. We conclude that, owing to the critical importance of protein-level measurements and recent technological advances, proteomics will be an integral part of integrative systems toxicology approaches in the future. PMID:25379146
... p.m. Webinar 6: 21st Century Testing Approaches Scientific Advisory Committee on Alternative Toxicological Methods (SACATM) Sept. 27, 2016 8:30 a.m. – ... Biennial Progress Report now available 08/24/2016 Scientific Advisory Committee ... Toxicological Methods Meeting September 27, 2016 08/19/2016 NTP ...
Munro, R; Munro, H M C
Forensic veterinary pathology is a diverse discipline that is in an early phase of its development. Common challenges include estimation of the age of skin wounds and bruises, the diagnosis of drowning and estimation of the time since death. However, many details of the pathological findings related to these various aspects await validation. The 'multispecies' nature of veterinary pathology, combined with the preponderance of published observations originating from animal experimentation, rather than casework, poses two challenges. Firstly, extrapolation of results between species may jeopardize the reliability (and credibility) of the forensic opinion. Secondly, experimental studies may not truly reflect the spectrum of changes seen in actual cases (e.g. extent of injuries, infection, age and health of victim). With regard to drowning, diagnosis based on post-mortem findings remains problematical. Methods for estimation of the time since death (also known as the post-mortem interval) continue to be a major focus of study, with fresh avenues such as post-mortem diagnostic imaging offering interesting possibilities. PMID:23153727
Benecke, M; Lessig, R
Close co-operation between forensic scientists, medico-legal doctors, and police forces made it possible to estimate not only the post-mortem interval but also the time since a child was neglected. On the skin surface under the diaper (anal-genital area), third instar larvae of the false stable fly Muscina stabulans FALLEN, and the lesser house fly Fannia canicularis L. were found. F. canicularis adults are attracted to both feces and urine. From the face, larvae of the bluebottle fly Calliphora vomitoria L. were collected. C. vomitoria maggots are typical early inhabitants of corpses. From the developmental times of the flies, it was estimated that the anal-genital area of the child had not been cleaned for about 14 days (7-21 day range), and that death occurred only 6-8 days prior to discovery of the body. This is the first report where an examination of the maggot fauna on a person illustrated neglect that had occurred prior to death. PMID:11457624
Arroyo, Amparo; Rodrigo, Carlos; Marrón, M Teresa
Intoxications in infancy require urgent medical treatment within national health systems. In our country they represent 0.3% of paediatric urgencies. Most of them are accidental intoxications but is not infrequent to find some related to child abuse or to suicidal intentions, especially in adolescence. The objectives of the study are to evaluate both clinical health care and medical legal aspects in intoxications in infancy. Medical assistance is described and it includes clinical diagnosis, typology of the more common toxics, percentages and referral to social work and emergency care equipment units of the Ministry of Social Welfare and the Department of Health or, where appropriate, directly to prosecutors and courts for their intervention. In cases of detection of alcohol, drugs or medication in infants, the importance of the correct interpretation of the results of toxicological findings is discussed. Several studies for the interpretation of results concerning the detection of these toxics are reported. Both legal aspects and the forensic medical opinion are assessed. The findings will be analysed by the judicial authority in order to circumscribe responsibilities or to take appropriate decisions concerning the protection of infants' interests. In conclusion intoxication in infancy can lead to legal proceedings requiring specific actions for their protection. Both physicians and hospitals must comply with the legal requirement of the submission to the court of judicial parties. On the other hand, this information is an interesting step toward reinforcing public health surveillance. PMID:24913753
Chang, Ya-Shiou; Hsu, Dun-Hui; Stromer, Mavin H; Chou, Rong-Ghi R
The objective of this study was to study the postmortem calpain change in ostrich muscle. Iliotibialis cranialis and Obturatorius medialis muscles were removed from the both sides of carcasses (n=8). The muscles from the left side were sampled after 0, 1, 2, 3, and 7days of storage at 5°C, while the right-side muscles were taken at 1-, 3-, and 7-day postmortem for shear force measurements. The results showed that the calpain-1 activity was not detected in ostrich muscle during the entire 7-day postmortem storage period, while the calpain-11 was. The unautolyzed calpain-11 activity decreased and the autolyzed calpain-11 activity increased with time postmortem. Desmin content and shear force did not change during postmortem storage although a minor degradation of desmin was observed. Therefore, our results suggest that limited postmortem proteolysis (as suggested by the limited degradation of desmin) and tenderization might be due to the lack of calpain-1 and/or insufficient calpain-11 activity present in ostrich muscle. PMID:26971307
Skov, Louise; Johansen, Sys Stybe; Linnet, Kristian
Brain tissue is a useful alternative to blood in postmortem forensic investigations, but scarcity of information on reference concentrations in brain tissue makes interpretation challenging. Here we present a study of 43 cases where the antipsychotic drug quetiapine was quantified in brain tissue and related to concentrations in postmortem blood. For cases, where quetiapine was unrelated to the cause of death (N = 36), the 10-90 percentiles for quetiapine concentrations in brain tissue were 0.030-1.54 mg/kg (median 0.48 mg/kg, mean 0.79 mg/kg). Corresponding blood 10-90 percentile values were 0.007-0.39 mg/kg (median 0.15 mg/kg, mean 0.19 mg/kg), giving brain-blood ratio 10-90 percentiles of 2.31-6.54 (median 3.87, mean 4.32). Both correspond well to the limited amount of data found in the literature. For cases where quetiapine was a contributing factor to death (N = 5), the median value in brain tissue of 8.02 mg/kg (range 2.69-22.98 mg/kg) was more than 15 times higher than the median of the nontoxic values, and about the same relationship occurred for blood with a median of 3.19 mg/kg (range 1.00-6.90 mg/kg). The brain-blood ratios for toxic concentrations were in the range of 2.08-6.05, which correspond to those of the nontoxic concentrations. A single case, where quetiapine was ruled as the sole cause of death, a suicide by quetiapine overdose, had an even higher value of 25.74 mg/kg in brain tissue. The blood concentration was 8.99 mg/kg, giving a brain-blood ratio of 2.86. Thus, on average the brain concentrations were about four times the blood concentrations. The brain concentrations of quetiapine observed in cases, where quetiapine was unrelated to death, may serve as a reference, when evaluating postmortem cases with no blood available. The recorded concentrations, where quetiapine was contributing to death, give an indication of likely toxic concentrations. PMID:26159868
Skov, Louise; Holm, Karen Marie Dollerup; Johansen, Sys Stybe; Linnet, Kristian
To interpret postmortem toxicology results, reference concentrations for non-toxic and toxic levels are needed. Usually, measurements are performed in blood, but because of postmortem redistribution phenomena this may not be optimal. Rather, measurement in the target organ of psychoactive drugs, the brain, might be considered. Here we present reference concentrations of femoral blood and brain tissue of selected benzodiazepines (BZDs). Using LC-MS/MS, we quantified alprazolam, bromazepam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, and the metabolites desmethyldiazepam, oxazepam and temazepam in postmortem femoral blood and brain tissue in 104 cases. BZDs were judged to be unrelated to the cause of death in 88 cases and contributing to death in 16 cases. No cases were found with cause of death solely attributed to BZD poisoning. All BZDs investigated tended to have higher concentrations in brain than in blood with median brain-blood ratios ranging from 1.1 to 2.3. A positive correlation between brain and blood concentrations was found with R(2) values from 0.51 to 0.95. Our reported femoral blood concentrations concur with literature values, but sparse information on brain concentration was available. Drug-metabolite ratios were similar in brain and blood for most compounds. Duplicate measurements of brain samples showed that the pre-analytical variation in brain (5.9%) was relatively low, supporting the notion that brain tissue is a suitable postmortem specimen. The reported concentrations in both brain and blood can be used as reference values when evaluating postmortem cases. PMID:27416838
Tech Directions, 2010
Forensic science technicians, also called crime laboratory technicians or police science technicians, help solve crimes. They examine and identify physical evidence to reconstruct a crime scene. This article discusses everything students need to know about careers for forensic science technicians--wages, responsibilities, skills needed, career…
Hassan, Tariq; Nizami, Asad Tamizuddin; Hirji, Sarah
This article reviews existing forensic psychiatric services in Pakistan highlighting the role played by the judicial and the medical fraternity in managing the legal and forensic issues of the population of patients with mental illnesses. Until 2001, all legal and forensic issues were dealt with the mental health legislation of 1912, the Lunacy Act of 1912. This was inherited from the British rulers in the Sub-Continent at the time. The Mental Health Ordinance of 2001 could not sustain following the 18th constitutional amendment in 2010, whereby psychiatric healthcare was devolved to the provinces from the previous federal authority. The article also highlights the difficulties and the barriers in implementation of the forensic psychiatric services in Pakistan at various levels within the healthcare system. This article also delves into the current framework of training in forensic psychiatry for postgraduates as well as the assessments and management schedules for the mentally ill offenders at tertiary care institutions in Pakistan. PMID:26024984
Petkovits, T; Bohn, G; Brinkmann, B
Two cases of poisoning with 2-propanol (isopropylalcohol) are reported. In one case, nail polish remover was drunk by a 2-year-old child. The concentration of 2-propanol and its metabolite acetone in the blood could be observed over a period of approximately 50 h. The highest concentration of 2-propanol determined was 4.22 g/l. Acetone reached a maximum value of 2.27 g/l 12 h after ingestion. The child survived without any observable after-effects. In the second case, a 35-year-old man drank ethanol in addition to 2-propanol. The poisoning was lethal. The possible time of intake before death is discussed in relation to the estimated levels of ethanol, 2-propanol and acetone found in the blood and urine. The histomorphological findings are often important as well with regard to time of intake. PMID:2922960
Foltz, Rodger L.
This review encompasses applications of mass spectrometry reported during the years 1989, 1990 and 1991 for the analysis of cannabinoids, cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), and their metabolites in physiological specimens.
This report includes the results of five toxicological studies of pesticide compounds conducted by the Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb, Yugoslavia. In the first study, the reactions of two groups of esterases (cholinesterases and arylesterases) with...
Haley, T.J.; Berndt, W.O.
This book discusses the ongoing battle against the effects of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and other toxic agents. It points out gaps in present-day research, illustrate other diseases that can mimic chemical toxicity, and emphasize thorough consideration of all aspects in a given incident prior to administering an antidote. The book offers a compiled data on target organ toxicity involving the liver, kidneys, and lungs - detailing the rapid, recent progress in this area. The coverage also highlights reproductive toxicology, food additives, asphixiant gases, and pulmonary toxicology. The partial contents are: Absorption, distribution, Biotransformation, Conjugation, and Excretion of Xenobiotics, Hepatotoxicity, Pulmonary Toxiology, Reproductive and Perinatal toxicology, Toxicology of Insecticides, Rodenticides, Herbicides, and Fungicides, Mechanisms of Metal-Induced Cell Injury, Food Additives: A Benefit/Risk Dilemma, Animal Toxins, and Toxic Effects of Chemicals on the Immune System.
The emerging field of computational toxicology applies mathematical and computer models and molecular biological and chemical approaches to explore both qualitative and quantitative relationships between sources of environmental pollutant exposure and adverse health outcomes. Th...
Pittner, Stefan; Monticelli, Fabio C; Pfisterer, Alexander; Zissler, Angela; Sänger, Alexandra M; Stoiber, Walter; Steinbacher, Peter
Estimating the time since death is a very important aspect in forensic sciences which is pursued by a variety of methods. The most precise method to determine the postmortem interval (PMI) is the temperature method which is based on the decrease of the body core temperature from 37 °C. However, this method is only useful in the early postmortem phase (~0-36 h). The aim of the present work is to develop an accurate method for PMI determination beyond this present limit. For this purpose, we used sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Western blotting, and casein zymography to analyze the time course of degradation of selected proteins and calpain activity in porcine biceps femoris muscle until 240 h postmortem (hpm). Our results demonstrate that titin, nebulin, desmin, cardiac troponin T, and SERCA1 degraded in a regular and predictable fashion in all samples investigated. Similarly, both the native calpain 1 and calpain 2 bands disintegrate into two bands subsequently. This degradation behavior identifies muscular proteins and enzymes as promising substrates for future molecular-based PMI determination technologies. PMID:26041514
Ziyade, Nihan; Şirin, Gözde; Elgörmüş, Neval; Daş, Taner
Background: Human bocavirus (HBoV) is a virus belonging to the Parvoviridae family, which has been newly discovered to be associated with respiratory tract infections in children. There are many reports worldwide on the endemicity of this virus. Since it is relatively new, it is not routinely detected in clinical laboratory investigations. Case Report: We demonstrated that HBoV infection caused the death of a 5-month-old girl with a history of high fever and wheezing. Human bocavirus (HBoV 1/2/3/4) was found in a nasopharyngeal swab, paraffin-embedded lung tissue and stool samples by multiplex PCR methods using postmortem microbiological analysis. Conclusion: This case suggests that lower respiratory tract infections due to HBoV may cause severe and life-threatening diseases. Postmortem microbiology is useful in both clinical and forensic autopsies, and allows a suspected infection to be confirmed. To our knowledge, this report is the first document of a HBoV postmortem case in Turkey. PMID:26167351
Inokuchi, Go; Makino, Yohsuke; Motomura, Ayumi; Chiba, Fumiko; Torimitsu, Suguru; Hoshioka, Yumi; Iwase, Hirotaro
Coronary artery injury is a rare complication following blunt chest trauma (BCT), and can be fatal. Here we report findings on postmortem selective coronary angiography of right coronary artery rupture after an assault involving blunt trauma to the chest. A woman in her 60s died after her son stomped on her chest. There were no appreciable signs of injury on external examination, and cause of death could not be determined by postmortem computed tomography (PMCT). Internal findings indicated that an external force had been applied to the anterior chest, as evidenced by subcutaneous hemorrhage and pericardial and cardiac contusions. Postmortem coronary angiography revealed irregularity of the intima and of the fat tissue surrounding the proximal part of the right coronary artery associated with a local filling defect. Histopathological examination suggested coronary rupture with dissection of the tunica media and compression of the lumen cavity. The key points in the present case are that no fatal injuries could be determined on external examination, and the heart and coronary artery injuries were not evident on PMCT. Criminality might be overlooked in such cases, as external investigation at the crime scene would be inadequate and could result in a facile diagnosis of cause of death. This is the first report of coronary artery rupture with dissection that was detected by CT coronary angiography, and provides helpful findings for reaching an appropriate decision both forensically and clinically. PMID:26126482
Khalid, K; Yousif, S; Satti, A
Forensic Odontology is a vital component of forensic science and one branch involves the application of dental science to the identification of unknown human remains. The aim of this study is to investigate the discriminatory potential for identification of the radiographic morphology of obturated single root canals. Thirty periapical radiographs of patients having endodontic treatment of single rooted canals were selected randomly from the data bank of the digital X- ray system present in the restorative department, University of Science and Technology, Sudan. The post-operative radiographs were considered as an ant-mortem data "Set 1". Ten radiographs from the thirty were reprinted, labelled from (A-J) and considered as a post-mortem data "Set 2". This post-mortem group of 10 radiographs "Set 2" would be compared with the ante-mortem group of 30 radiographs comprising "Set 1". These two sets of radiographs would be examined by 40 dentally trained personnel. The thirty radiographs comprising "Set 1" and the 10 radiographs comprising "Set 2" were provided to each of the examiners who were asked to match the individual post-mortem radiographs ("Set 2") with the ante-mortem radiographs ("Set1"). The result demonstrated that 34 examiners achieved a success rate of 100%, 4 examiners achieved a success rate of 97.5% (1 mismatch) and 2 examiners achieved a success rate of 95% (2 mismatches). The radiographic images of obturated single-rooted teeth in this study were shown to have highly- specific morphological features. It is proposed that, in cases where the ante and post-mortem radiographs of a single-rooted obturated canal show similar morphology, this commonality of morphology can be used as a tool in the identification process. PMID:27350699
Morris, J A; Harrison, L M; Partridge, S M
Aim To assess the value of postmortem bacteriology in necropsy practice, with specific emphasis on bacterial invasion of blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Methods A review of published articles on postmortem bacteriology. Studies were selected to cover the full range of necropsy practice including adults, the perinatal period, and infancy. The review covers over 5000 necropsies, mainly in adults, but including 1108 perinatal cases and 468 cases of sudden unexpected death in infancy. Data are available on 4992 blood cultures, 1168 specimens of CSF, and 743 cultures of spleen. Results Studies in which careful precautions have been taken to reduce contamination show that approximately two thirds of blood cultures are negative, two in nine yield a single isolate, and one in nine have a mixed growth. The postmortem interval has only a small effect on the isolation rate. A pure growth of a known pathogen has a more than 50% likelihood of being found in association with genuine infection in adults and in the perinatal period. Conclusions The main postmortem artefact is contamination, but this can be considerably reduced by careful technique. Agonal spread is less common than is often assumed. Postmortem translocation is not a problem if the body is appropriately stored. A pure growth of a pathogen in blood or CSF should be regarded as a possible contributing factor to death at all ages. PMID:16394274
McCann, J; Reay, D; Siebert, J; Stephens, B G; Wirtz, S
The postmortem finding of anal dilation or an exposed pectinate line in children who have died under suspicious circumstances continues to raise the concern of possible sexual abuse. The following multicenter, collaborative study was designed to help address that question. Sixty-five subjects, ranging in age from birth to 17 years, were autopsied at three different sites. A standard protocol along with 35-mm cameras were used to record the results. Thirty-eight (58%) subjects were boys, and 27 (42%) were girls. Forty-two (65%) were white, 10 (15%) African-American, five (8%) Asian, three (5%) white Hispanic and five (8%) other. Fifty-seven (88%) were in Tanner stage I of secondary sexual development. Thirty-four (52%) died of natural causes, 26 (40%) from accidental injuries, three (5%) from other causes, and four (6%) as a result of a homicide. Forty-eight subjects (74%) had some dilation of the anal sphincters. In 21 children (32%), the entire anal canal, including the rectal ampulla, could be visualized. In another 21 (32%) subjects, the pectinate line was exposed. Only the outer portion of the anal canal opened in six children (10%), whereas 17 (26%) had no dilatation of the anus. Anal laxity led to flattened skin folds in 50 (77%), a shallow anal canal in 40 (62%), the exposure of both the pectinate line in 38 (59%), and the anal mucosa in 24 (37%). Venous congestion was present in 14 (22%), venous pooling in three (5%), erythema in six (9%), and increased pigmentation in eight (12%). Funneling was found in two (3%). Blood was present in three (5%), and an abrasion was discovered in one (2%). No fissures, lacerations, hemorrhoids, or scars were found in any of the children. Anal orifice size varied with the age of the child, the amount of traction applied to the buttocks, and a history of a CNS injury at the time of death. It is suggested, finally, that anal dilatation alone cannot be used a marker for prior sexual abuse and the exposure of the pectinate line
Turchetto, M; Vanin, S
The main aim of Forensic Entomology has always been, and is today, to establish the time of death (P.M.I.: Postmortem Period) or, more exactly, how long a carrion has been exposed in the environment. Most of the invertebrate fauna occurring on corpses consists of insects (mostly Diptera and Coleoptera). They are selectively attracted by the decomposing status of the carrion, and form complex communities or biocenosis within necrophagous or sarcophagous species and their predators, parasites and parasitoids, competing each one another. The rapid and continuos changes of the micro-ecosystem (the body), until its breakdown, does not permit the achievement of a steady state or an equilibrium in the animal communities. These continuous modifications give us the possibility to estimate when (and where) the death has occurred, by the identification of the species feeding on the corpse, the knowledge of their life history, and the length of each stage of their cycle at varying the temperature and the other abiotic factors, external to the carrion ecosystem. The P.M.I. today is still largely based on the tables of faunal succession on human cadavers recognised by Mégin in 1894, with few changes proposed by Authors from other countries. In the last years, however, it happens more and more often, that the natural communities are subverted by the presence of allocton species, which can compete, predate or parasite the most common local sarcophagous insects, modifying, this way, the succession waves and the trophic nets. The immission in the environment of foreign species may be voluntary or casual, but in any case is due to anthropic activities. The voluntary immission happens when some species, employed in the biological struggle against pest or dangerous insects, for pollination of allocton plants, or for other commercial utilities, are beyond man's control and swarm onto the environment; the casual spread is due to the globalisation phenomenon, that distributes the "little
Summers, W. C.
Robert van Gulik was a respected Dutch sinologist and author who first translated a collection of traditional Chinese detective stories into English and then created additional fictional stories based on the same characters and setting in the Tang dynasty. One of these stories, The Chinese Nail Murders, draws on van Gulik's professional interest in law and his knowledge of early Chinese works on forensic medicine. This novel develops a common theme in Chinese detective fiction, murder by a nail wound to the head. The difficulty in detection of this mode of violence posed a particular problem for the examining magistrate because postmortem examination was mostly limited to external observations. This essay compares the development of Chinese and Western forensic medicine in the context of the nail murder motif. PMID:11138936
Mishra, Sunil Kumar; Mahajan, Harsh; Sakorikar, Rupal; Jain, Anoop
Dental identification assumes a primary role in the identification of remains when postmortem changes, traumatic tissue injury, or lack of a fingerprint record invalidate the use of visual or fingerprint methods. The most common role of the forensic dentist is the identification of deceased individuals. Forensic identification based on assessment of prosthodontic appliances is assuming greater significance, as labeling of dentures and other prosthetic appliance could provide vital clues for patient identification. Various recommendations have been made concerning the importance of denture identification. This paper presents a review of available literature highlighting the fact that how a prosthodontist can play a key role in identification of a deceased individual if trained to do so. PMID:25177136
Savall, F; Mokrane, F-Z; Rousseau, H; Crubézy, E; Rougé, D; Telmon, N
Virtual anthropology is made possible by modern cross-sectional imaging. Multislice CT (MSCT) can be used for comparative bone and dental identification, reconstructive identification and lesion identification. Comparative identification, the comparison of ante- and post-mortem imaging data, can be performed on both teeth and bones. Reconstructive identification, a considerable challenge for the radiologist, identifies the deceased by determining sex, geographical origin, stature and age at death. Lesion identification combines virtual autopsy and virtual anthropology. MSCT can be useful in palaeopathology, seeking arthropathy, infection, oral pathology, trauma, tumours, haematological disorders, stress indicators or occupational stress in bones and teeth. We examine some of the possibilities offered by this new radiological subspeciality that adds a new dimension to the work of the forensic radiologist. A multidisciplinary approach is crucial and involves communication and data exchange between radiologists, forensic pathologists, anthropologists and radiographers. PMID:24234584
Mishra, Sunil Kumar; Mahajan, Harsh; Sakorikar, Rupal; Jain, Anoop
Dental identification assumes a primary role in the identification of remains when postmortem changes, traumatic tissue injury, or lack of a fingerprint record invalidate the use of visual or fingerprint methods. The most common role of the forensic dentist is the identification of deceased individuals. Forensic identification based on assessment of prosthodontic appliances is assuming greater significance, as labeling of dentures and other prosthetic appliance could provide vital clues for patient identification. Various recommendations have been made concerning the importance of denture identification. This paper presents a review of available literature highlighting the fact that how a prosthodontist can play a key role in identification of a deceased individual if trained to do so. PMID:25177136
Norko, Michael A; Buchanan, Mar Alec
The construction of a written forensic report is a core component of forensic practice, demonstrating the evaluator's skill in conducting the evaluation and in communicating relevant information to the legal audience in an effective manner. Although communication skills and quality of written documentation are important in clinical psychiatry generally, they form the sine qua non of successful forensic work, which consists in telling complex stories in a coherent and compelling fashion. High quality forensic reports require careful preparation from the earliest stages of work on a case. They generally follow an expected structure, which permits the evaluator to provide all the data necessary to form a carefully reasoned opinion that addresses the legal questions posed. Formats and content of reports vary according to the type of case and the circumstances of the evaluation and so require flexibility within customary frameworks. The style and quality of writing are critical to the crafting of forensic reports. The effects on legal decision-makers of various approaches to the presentation of information in reports has not been studied empirically, but guidance from experienced forensic psychiatrists is available. There is a small body of research on quality improvement in forensic writing, and further empiric study is warranted. PMID:25603453
Hoffmann, William D; Jackson, Glen P
Developments in forensic mass spectrometry tend to follow, rather than lead, the developments in other disciplines. Examples of techniques having forensic potential born independently of forensic applications include ambient ionization, imaging mass spectrometry, isotope ratio mass spectrometry, portable mass spectrometers, and hyphenated chromatography-mass spectrometry instruments, to name a few. Forensic science has the potential to benefit enormously from developments that are funded by other means, if only the infrastructure and personnel existed to adopt, validate, and implement the new technologies into casework. Perhaps one unique area in which forensic science is at the cutting edge is in the area of chemometrics and the determination of likelihood ratios for the evaluation of the weight of evidence. Such statistical techniques have been developed most extensively for ignitable-liquid residue analyses and isotope ratio analysis. This review attempts to capture the trends, motivating forces, and likely impact of developing areas of forensic mass spectrometry, with the caveat that none of this research is likely to have any real impact in the forensic community unless: (a) The instruments developed are turned into robust black boxes with red and green lights for positives and negatives, respectively, or (b) there are PhD graduates in the workforce who can help adopt these sophisticated techniques. PMID:26070716
Hoffmann, William D.; Jackson, Glen P.
Developments in forensic mass spectrometry tend to follow, rather than lead, the developments in other disciplines. Examples of techniques having forensic potential born independently of forensic applications include ambient ionization, imaging mass spectrometry, isotope ratio mass spectrometry, portable mass spectrometers, and hyphenated chromatography-mass spectrometry instruments, to name a few. Forensic science has the potential to benefit enormously from developments that are funded by other means, if only the infrastructure and personnel existed to adopt, validate, and implement the new technologies into casework. Perhaps one unique area in which forensic science is at the cutting edge is in the area of chemometrics and the determination of likelihood ratios for the evaluation of the weight of evidence. Such statistical techniques have been developed most extensively for ignitable-liquid residue analyses and isotope ratio analysis. This review attempts to capture the trends, motivating forces, and likely impact of developing areas of forensic mass spectrometry, with the caveat that none of this research is likely to have any real impact in the forensic community unless: (a) The instruments developed are turned into robust black boxes with red and green lights for positives and negatives, respectively, or (b) there are PhD graduates in the workforce who can help adopt these sophisticated techniques.
Williams, Andrew S; Little, D'Arcy L; Herath, Jayantha
Aortoenteric fistula (AEF) is an uncommon source of upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract hemorrhage, commonly occurring in persons with previous aortic surgery. Non-surgery related AEFs (primary AEFs) may occur in association with atherosclerotic lesions, infections, malignancies, or, rarely, result from penetrating/eroding foreign bodies. Given its rarity, primary AEF is not commonly considered in the pathologist's preliminary list of differential diagnoses at the commencement of an autopsy; however, the use of postmortem cross-sectional imaging may allow for the identification of primary AEF as a reasonable differential diagnoses prior to conventional autopsy. The current case outlines the forensic presentation, postmortem computed tomography (PMCT) features, and autopsy findings of a recent case of primary AEF resulting in lethal gastrointestinal hemorrhage. In such cases, PMCT features supporting primary AEF as the underlying cause of death include an atherosclerotic aneurysm abutting a segment of the GI tract with no definite soft tissue plane of separation, luminal GI contents of similar radiographic density to the aortic contents, lack of previous aortic surgery, and lack of a competing explanation for GI hemorrhage or a competing cause of death. Deaths from massive enteric hemorrhage without a medical history to suggest an underlying cause for the hemorrhage would fall under medicolegal jurisdiction and may, by examination of scene and circumstances alone, initially seem suspicious. This case demonstrates how PMCT could be used by a team of expert forensic radiologists and forensic pathologists to rapidly feedback vital information on the cause and manner of death to the criminal justice system. PMID:26464132
A review of the experiences of one of the pioneer forensic pathologists in the United States offers an interesting insight into the possibilities of private forensic pathology in America. The author's experience includes serving as President of the National Boxing Association and the International Boxing Association, during which time he made many improvements in ring safety. His research into several areas of cases of product liability offer an insight to the wide scope of the potential of the forensic expert. This presentation reviews his activities in realms widely afield from medicine.
Kolude, B.; Adeyemi, B.F.; Taiwo, J.O.; Sigbeku, O.F.; Eze, U.O.
This review article focuses on mass disaster situations that may arise from natural or manmade circumstances and the significant role of forensic dental personnel in human identification following such occurrences. The various forensic dental modalities of identification that include matching techniques, postmortem profiling, genetic fingerprinting, dental fossil assessment and dental biometrics with digital subtraction were considered. The varying extent of use of forensic dental techniques and the resulting positive impact on human identification were considered. The importance of preparation by way of special training for forensic dental personnel, mock disaster rehearsal, and use of modern day technology was stressed. The need for international standardization of identification through the use of Interpol Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) for ms was further emphasized. Recommendations for improved human identification in Nigerian situation include reform of the National Emergency Management Association (NEMA), incorporation of dental care in primary health care to facilitate proper ante mortem database of the populace and commencement of identification at site of disaster. PMID:25161478
Ciaffi, R; Gibelli, D; Cattaneo, C
Personal identification of unidentified bodies is crucial for ethical, juridical and civil reasons and is performed through comparison between biological data obtained from the cadaver and antemortem material from one or more missing persons to whom the body may have belonged in life. The increasing applications of forensic radiology and the wide use of conventional radiography and computed tomography (CT) in routine clinical practice demonstrate the potential of these technologies as tools for verifying the correspondence between an unidentified body and an identity suspect. This paper reviews the literature concerning the application of forensic radiology to the difficult issue of personal identification. Despite the increasing importance of the comparison between radiographic and CT findings, numerous limitations still need to be overcome, including the fact that few forensic centres have access to sophisticated X-ray technologies and that the reliability of those technologies for detecting specific morphological traits and bone lesions is a matter of intense debate. In addition, as with other morphological methods for identification, comparisons between antemortem and postmortem data require standardisation and statistical analysis, especially in Europe where there are very few indications concerning the admission in court of evidence obtained by anthropological and radiological methods. In the future, with developments in radiographic technologies and increasing numbers of studies on their application to the forensic setting, radiology will become one of the most useful tools in the field of personal identification. PMID:21509554
Cantürk, İsmail; Karabiber, Fethullah; Çelik, Safa; Şahin, M Feyzi; Yağmur, Fatih; Kara, Sadık
In forensic medicine, estimation of the time of death (ToD) is one of the most important and challenging medico-legal problems. Despite the partial accomplishments in ToD estimations to date, the error margin of ToD estimation is still too large. In this study, electrical conductivity changes were experimentally investigated in the postmortem interval in human cases. Electrical conductivity measurements give some promising clues about the postmortem interval. A living human has a natural electrical conductivity; in the postmortem interval, intracellular fluids gradually leak out of cells. These leaked fluids combine with extra-cellular fluids in tissues and since both fluids are electrolytic, intracellular fluids help increase conductivity. Thus, the level of electrical conductivity is expected to increase with increased time after death. In this study, electrical conductivity tests were applied for six hours. The electrical conductivity of the cases exponentially increased during the tested time period, indicating a positive relationship between electrical conductivity and the postmortem interval. PMID:26751404
Vilariño Villaverde, Raquel; Bruguier, Christine; Zerlauth, Jean-Baptiste; De Froidmont, Sébastien; Grabherr, Silke
Lumbar surgery is regularly applied in cases of discal hernia and acquired lumbar stenosis. In this report, we present a case of a laceration in the left common iliac artery and iliac vein during a lumbar surgery and discuss the literature concerning this kind of event. In the present case, the surgical procedure was followed by a sudden decrease in blood pressure, and the surgeon discovered an intra-abdominal haemorrhage that led to the patient's death. Postmortem investigation confirmed the intra-abdominal haemorrhage and revealed a laceration of the proximal portion of the left common iliac artery and left iliac vein. The source of bleeding could be detected especially thanks to multi-phase postmortem CT angiography (MPMCTA), which was performed prior to autopsy. We also found a haemorrhagic path through the intervertebral disc between the L4-L5 vertebrae, caused by the surgeon's instrument (pituitary rongeur). To date, a few cases have been described of iatrogenic death resulting from a tear in the iliac vessels during lumbar surgery, but not from the postmortem perspective. Such investigations have recently been modernized thanks to the introduction of forensic imaging. In particular, MPMCTA offers new possibilities in postmortem investigations and can be considered the new gold standard for investigating deaths related to medical intervention. Here we describe the first case of a death during lumbar surgery using this new method. PMID:27161923
James, John T.; Parmet, A. J.; Pierson, Duane L.
Toxicology dates to the very earliest history of humanity with various poisons and venom being recognized as a method of hunting or waging war with the earliest documentation in the Evers papyrus (circa 1500 BCE). The Greeks identified specific poisons such as hemlock, a method of state execution, and the Greek word toxos (arrow) became the root of our modern science. The first scientific approach to the understanding of poisons and toxicology was the work during the late middle ages of Paracelsus. He formulated what were then revolutionary views that a specific toxic agent or "toxicon" caused specific dose-related effects. His principles have established the basis of modern pharmacology and toxicology. In 1700, Bernardo Ramazzini published the book De Morbis Artificum Diatriba (The Diseases of Workers) describing specific illnesses associated with certain labor, particularly metal workers exposed to mercury, lead, arsenic, and rock dust. Modern toxicology dates from development of the modern industrial chemical processes, the earliest involving an analytical method for arsenic by Marsh in 1836. Industrial organic chemicals were synthesized in the late 1800 s along with anesthetics and disinfectants. In 1908, Hamilton began the long study of occupational toxicology issues, and by WW I the scientific use of toxicants saw Haber creating war gases and defining time-dosage relationships that are used even today.
Keller, Elhannan L.
Presented is an activity in which students use a microscope to do a forensic hair comparative study and a medullary classification. Mounting methods, medulla types, hair photographs, and activities are described. (DS)
Casse, Jean-Matthieu; Martrille, Laurent; Vignaud, Jean-Michel; Gauchotte, Guillaume
Wound age evaluation is one of the most challenging issues in forensic pathology. In the first minutes or hours, standard histological examination may not determine whether the wound was inflicted in the pre- or post-mortem period. While red blood cell infiltration is classically considered as a sign of vital reaction, several studies have shown that extravasation of blood cells may also occur after death and cannot be used as a reliable marker in the diagnosis of wound vitality. Numerous studies about wound vitality are available in the literature. They have evaluated markers involved in coagulation or inflammation, using various methods such as enzymology, molecular biology or immunohistochemistry. In this update, we first introduce some methodological principles. Then, we review the main studies available in the literature. Immunohistochemistry seems to be the most valuable method, given its easy application and the possibility to analyse the localization of the molecules of interest. Some markers are promising, such as CD15, TNFα, IL-6, IL-1β, TGFα or TGFβ1. Prior to their application in daily practice, these early results need to be confirmed with other studies, conducted by independent teams and integrating multiple controls. Most notably, the antibodies have to be tested in numerous post-mortem wounds. Indeed, a critical risk of overexpression in post-mortem wounds is present. Some promising markers have been later invalidated because of post-mortem false positivity. Finally, optimal sensitivity and specificity values could probably be reached by combining several markers, validated by large groups of pre- and post-mortem wounds. PMID:26101444
Lord, W D; Goff, M L; Adkins, T R; Haskell, N H
The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), has been shown to be a ubiquitous inhabitant of both surface and buried human remains throughout the southern, central and western United States and Hawaii. Unlike most other species of forensically important Diptera, this species frequently dominates bodies in the dry/post decay stage of decomposition. Adults of the black soldier fly appear to initiate oviposition (egg laying) 20 to 30 days postmortem. Even at warm temperatures (27.8 degrees C), subsequent completion of the life cycle can require an additional 55 days. Life history data for H. illucens, when used in combination with data for other cohabiting arthropod species and viewed in the context of local environmental conditions, can provide medicolegal investigators with valuable parameters for estimating the postmortem intervals for badly decomposed remains. PMID:8113702
Irons, Alastair D.; Konstadopoulou, Anastasia
The paper seeks to address the need to consider issues regarding professionalism in computer forensics in order to allow the discipline to develop and to ensure the credibility of the discipline from the differing perspectives of practitioners, the criminal justice system and in the eyes of the public. There is a need to examine and develop professionalism in computer forensics in order to promote the discipline and maintain the credibility of the discipline.
Walaas, S.I.; Perdahl-Wallace, E.; Winblad, B.; Greengard, P. )
Protein phosphorylation systems regulated by cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cyclic AMP), or calcium in conjunction with calmodulin or phospholipid/diacylglycerol, have been studied by phosphorylation in vitro of particulate and soluble fractions from human postmortem brain samples. One-dimensional or two-dimensional gel electrophoretic protein separations were used for analysis. Protein phosphorylation catalyzed by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase was found to be highly active in both particulate and soluble preparations throughout the human CNS, with groups of both widely distributed and region-specific substrates being observed in different brain nuclei. Dopamine-innervated parts of the basal ganglia and cerebral cortex contained the phosphoproteins previously observed in rodent basal ganglia. In contrast, calcium/phospholipid-dependent and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein phosphorylation systems were less prominent in human postmortem brain than in rodent brain, and only a few widely distributed substrates for these protein kinases were found. Protein staining indicated that postmortem proteolysis, particularly of high-molecular-mass proteins, was prominent in deeply located, subcortical regions in the human brain. Our results indicate that it is feasible to use human postmortem brain samples, when obtained under carefully controlled conditions, for qualitative studies on brain protein phosphorylation. Such studies should be of value in studies on human neurological and/or psychiatric disorders.
Chamakura, Reddy P.
The Internet is a very powerful and inexpensive tool that was created for the free distribution of knowledge and information. The Internet is a learning tool, a research tool, a virtual library without borders and membership requirements, a journal with instant publication, a help desk, and a newspaper/journal with current information. Very soon, when live audio and video transmission is perfected, the Internet also will be a live classroom and everyday conference. Forensic scientists, laboratories and colleges should make use of information already available on the Internet. They also should actively participate and contribute. Very few forensic scientists and laboratories have made their presence felt by setting up their home pages/web pages. But, there is tremendous growth during the past year. Immense benefits from Internet to forensic community are discussed along with the author's personal experience. Creating on-line searchable data bases in all specialties of forensic science is an urgent need. Leading forensic journals should take a lead and create on-line searchable indexes with abstracts. On line electronic publishing, collaborative research/paper publishing or editing is easy, fast, economical and convenient through the use of the Internet. Creation of Internet repositories of unpublished papers is an idea worth looking into. Internet also can be used to give training, re-training or advanced training to students/forensic scientists.
Dike, Charles C; Nicholson, Elizabeth; Young, John L
Patients in a forensic psychiatric facility often require escorted transport to medical facilities for investigations or treatments of physical health ailments. Transporting these patients presents significant safety and custody challenges because of the nature of patients housed in forensic psychiatric facilities. A significant proportion of these patients may be transfers from the Department of Corrections (DOC) under legal mandates for psychiatric evaluation and treatment better provided in a hospital setting, and most of them will return to the DOC. Although departments of correction have protocols for escorting these potentially dangerous individuals, it is unclear whether receiving psychiatric hospitals have established procedures for maintaining the safety of others and custody of these individuals during transportation outside the hospital facility. The literature is sparse on precautions to be observed when transporting dangerous forensic psychiatric patients, including those with high escape risk. In this article, we describe one forensic inpatient facility's procedure for determining the appropriate level needed to transport these individuals outside of the forensic facility. We also describe the risk assessment procedure for determining level of transport. These are quality improvement measures resulting from a critical review of an incident of escape from the forensic facility several years ago. PMID:26668224
Korb, Ann-Sophie; Cooper, Gail
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is an endogenous compound, but its presence in postmortem blood presents a challenge when interpreting elevated levels as GHB is misused as a recreational drug and is also produced postmortem. A total of 387 postmortem cases (273 male and 114 female) submitted to the toxicology laboratory between 2010 and 2012 specifically requested the analysis of the ketoacidosis biomarker, beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). No reference to GHB use was identified in any of the case files; however, BHB and GHB are measured simultaneously using deuterated GHB as the internal standard (GHB-d6) within a calibration range of 5-500 mg/L. GHB was not detected or <10 mg/L in 18% of the cases (n = 68), between 10 and 50 mg/L in 73% of the cases (n = 283) and between 51 and 193 mg/L in 9% of the cases (n = 36). The manner of death was classified as accidental (n = 11), alcohol-related (n = 237), drug-related (n = 23), homicide (n = 1), natural (n = 91), suicide (n = 9), medical-related (n = 1) and undetermined (n = 14). Six cases had GHB concentrations in excess of 100 mg/L with advanced decomposition changes noted in five of these cases. Moderate-to-advanced decomposition was also noted in 50% (n = 15) of the cases with GHB concentrations in excess of 50 mg/L but <100 mg/L. Approximately one-third of the blood samples tested contained a preservative and although a higher proportion of these samples had GHB concentrations <10 mg/L or not detected (∼30% preserved versus 11% unpreserved), there were still cases with GHB concentrations >51 mg/L (∼6% preserved versus 11% unpreserved). This study highlights the danger of only using a cutoff to establish endogenous levels compared with exogenous use of GHB in postmortem blood. PMID:25217550
Lewis, Russell J; Kemp, Philip M; Johnson, Robert D
Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor commonly prescribed for the treatment of depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. While the use of paroxetine is considered relatively safe, negative side effects, including nausea, drowsiness, insomnia and dizziness, can adversely affect a pilot's ability to safely operate an aircraft. The use of paroxetine may increase suicidal behavior and suicidal ideation. When relying on postmortem specimens for toxicological evaluation, a general understanding of drug distribution throughout postmortem specimens is important. This laboratory has determined the distribution of paroxetine in postmortem tissues and fluids from nine aviation accident fatalities. Specimens were processed using an n-butyl chloride liquid/liquid extraction followed by gas chromatographic/mass spectrometeric analysis. Blood paroxetine concentrations obtained from these cases ranged from 0.019 to 0.865 µg/mL. The distribution of paroxetine, expressed as mean specimen/blood ratio, was 1.67 ± 1.16 urine (n = 4), 0.08 ± 0.04 vitreous humor (n = 6), 5.77 ± 1.37 liver (n = 8), 9.66 ± 2.58 lung (n = 9), 1.44 ± 0.57 kidney (n = 8), 3.80 ± 0.69 spleen (n = 8), 0.15 ± 0.04 muscle (n = 8), 4.27 ± 2.64 brain (n = 7) and 1.05 ± 0.43 heart (n = 8). The large standard deviations associated with the paroxetine distribution coefficients suggest that paroxetine can experience significant postmortem concentration changes. PMID:26378138
James, John T.
This is a script for a video about toxicology and the space shuttle. The first segment is deals with dust in the space vehicle. The next segment will be about archival samples. Then we'll look at real time on-board analyzers that give us a lot of capability in terms of monitoring for combustion products and the ability to monitor volatile organics on the station. Finally we will look at other issues that are about setting limits and dealing with ground based lessons that pertain to toxicology.
The report on metal toxicology contains reviews on twenty-three metals. These have been written for inclusion in a Handbook on the Toxicology of Metals: Environmental and Occupational Aspects which is being prepared by the Scientific Committee on the Toxicology of Metals of the P...
Bradley-Siemens, N; Brower, A I
Projectile injury represents an estimated 14% of reported animal cruelty cases in the United States. Cases involving projectiles are complicated by gross similarities to other common types of injury, including bite wounds and motor vehicle injuries, by weapons and ammunition not commonly recognized or understood by veterinary medical professionals, and by required expertise beyond that employed in routine postmortem examination. This review describes the common types of projectile injuries encountered within the United States, as well as firearms and ammunition associated with this form of injury. The 3 stages of ballistics-internal, external, and terminal-and wounding capacity are discussed. A general understanding of firearms, ammunition, and ballistics is necessary before pursuing forensic projectile cases. The forensic necropsy is described, including gunshot wound examination, projectile trajectories, different imaging procedures, collection and storage of projectile evidence, and potential advanced techniques for gunpowder analysis. This review presents aspects of projectile injury investigation that must be considered in tandem with standard postmortem practices and procedures to ensure reliable conclusions are reached for medicolegal as well as diagnostic purposes. PMID:27312366
Hall, Stephen K.
Topics addressed in this discussion of toxicology and chemical safety include routes of exposure, dose/response relationships, action of toxic substances, and effects of exposure to chemicals. Specific examples are used to illustrate the principles discussed. Suggests prudence in handling any chemicals, whether or not toxicity is known. (JN)