Willems method of dental age estimation in children: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Aug 25;52:122-129
Authors: Sehrawat JS, Singh M
BACKGROUND: Age estimation from dental developmental stages is considered comparatively more accurate, reliable and precise than other methods used in forensic sciences. Willems method is the revised version of Demirjian method, based on modified dental maturity scores to estimate age of children in years for both the sexes.
AIMS: To test the applicability and accuracy level of Willems method of dental age estimation in diverse population samples by quantifying the variations between the chronological and estimated ages of an individual.
METHODOLOGY: A systematic search of online databases (Pubmed, Scopus, Embase, Medline, Trip and Web of Science) was performed for identifying the articles utilizing Willems dental maturity scaling method for age estimation in children. All the research articles published in peer-reviewed English language journals between 2001 and January 2017 were included for present systematic review and meta-analysis.
RESULTS: Out of the total 973 selected articles; thirty one studies were recruited for qualitative analysis and out of them, 15 studies were selected/identified for quantitative and meta-analysis. It was found that Willems method overestimates the age of children to a comparatively lesser extent (-0.04 and -0.02 years) than the Demirjian method (around six months).
CONCLUSION: Willems method of dental age estimation gives comparatively lesser overestimations of age than other methods reported in the available literature and is thus, accurate and reliable enough to be utilized for forensic purposes.
PMID: 28918371 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Validation of third molar maturity index (I3M) for discrimination of juvenile/adult status in South Indian population.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 May 03;49:2-7
Authors: Balla SB, Galic I, P K, Vanin S, De Luca S, Cameriere R
Deliberate falsification of age was considered to be one of the main reasons for forensic age estimation of the living individuals. This posed to be a challenging task during criminal and legal proceedings, and ultimate care must be taken not to classify juveniles as adults. Third molars are the only developing teeth during late adolescence and early adulthood. Our study was designed to analyze the usefulness of the third molar maturity index (I3M) specific cut-off value (I3M < 0.08) to discriminate adults (≥18 years) and juveniles (<18 years) in South Indian children. 216 panoramic radiographs (114 females and 102 males) of living subjects aged between 14 and 21 years were analyzed. Our results demonstrated high sensitivity (83.3% and 90.2%) and specificity (98.3% and 95.1%) for females and males respectively. The positive likelihood ratios of being adult were 50.00 and 18.35 while the negative likelihood ratios were 0.17 and 0.10 in females and males respectively. The estimated posttest probability was 98.0% in females and 94.8% in males. The obtained results showed that the specific cut-off value of I3M < 0.08 may be a useful additional tool in discrimination of individuals who are around 18 years of age.
PMID: 28482246 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Age estimation from structural changes of teeth and buccal alveolar bone level.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Apr 01;48:15-21
Authors: Koh KK, Tan JS, Nambiar P, Ibrahim N, Mutalik S, Khan Asif M
Forensic odontology plays a vital role in the identification and age estimation of unknown deceased individuals. The purpose of this study is to estimate the chronological age from Cone-Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) images by measuring the buccal alveolar bone level (ABL) to the cemento-enamel junction and to investigate the possibility of employing the age-related structural changes of teeth as studied by Gustafson. In addition, this study will determine the forensic reliability of employing CBCT images as a technique for dental age estimation. A total of 284 CBCT images of Malays and Chinese patients (150 females and 134 males), aged from 20 years and above were selected, measured and stages of age-related changes were recorded using the i-CAT Vision software. Lower first premolars of both left and right side of the jaw were chosen and the characteristics described by Gustafson, namely attrition, secondary dentine formation and periodontal recession were evaluated. Linear regression analysis was performed for the buccal bone level and the R values obtained were 0.85 and 0.82 for left and right side respectively. Gustafson’s characteristics were analysed using multiple regression analysis with chronological age as the dependent variable. The results of the analysis showed R values ranged from 0.44 to 0.62. Therefore it can be safely concluded that the buccal bone level highly correlated with the chronological age and is consequently the most suitable age-related characteristic for forensic age estimation.
PMID: 28407514 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Measurement of open apices in tooth roots in Colombian children as a tool for human identification in asylum and criminal proceedings.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Apr 06;48:9-14
Authors: Rivera M, De Luca S, Aguilar L, Velandia Palacio LA, Galić I, Cameriere R
Dental age estimation was recognized as an imperative issue in clinical and medico-legal practice. However, very few studies on dental age estimation in children have been published in Colombia. This study evaluated the accuracy of Cameriere’s method of measurement of open apices on tooth roots in a sample of 526 digital panoramic radiographs (OPTs) of children (274 boys and 252 girls), aged between 6 and 14 years, from Bogotá, Valle del Cauca, Buga and Villavicencio, in Southwest Colombia. Only first seven permanent lower teeth, except third molar, from the left side of mandible were studied. Difference between dental age and chronological age was evaluated for boys and girls across nine age classes. Intra-class correlation coefficient and Kappa score was used to test intra- and inter-observer agreement error rate. Dental age was overestimated by 0.08 years and standard deviation (±SD) of 0.68 years in boys which was not statistically significant (p = 0.06), while in girls dental age underestimated by -0.25 ± 0.65 years which was statistically significant difference (p < 0.001). The absolute difference between DA and CA or mean prediction error (ME) was 0.57 ± 0.38 years in boys and 0.57 ± 0.41 in girls (p = 0.966) which implies that Cameriere’s European formula is similarly accurate in both sexes in this sample of Colombian children.
PMID: 28399461 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]
Comparison of the homogeneity of mRNAs encoding SFRP5, FZD4, and Fosl1 in post-injury intervals: Subcellular localization of markers may influence wound age estimation.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2016 Oct;43:90-6
Authors: Zhu XY, Du QX, Li SQ, Sun JH
The inter-group heterogeneity and intra-group homogeneity of relative expression are very necessary when the mRNA were used to determine wound age accurately in forensic medicine. The aim of this study was to assess the intra-group homogeneity of SFRP5, FZD4 and Fosl1 mRNAs in post-injury intervals. The corresponding proteins show different subcellular locations. A total of 78 Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into control and contusion groups. At 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, 40, 44, or 48 h (n = 6 per group) after contusion (under anesthesia by chloral hydrate intraperitoneally), the rats were sacrificed using a lethal dose of pentobarbital, and samples of the injured muscles were collected. The raw Ct values of SFRP5, FZD4, and Fosl1 mRNAs were obtained using real-time PCR. After normalized to RPL13 mRNA levels, the coefficient of variation (CV) and the relative average deviation (d%) of each normalized Ct, and their relative expression levels, were calculated in each post-injury interval. Two methods were applied to compare the homogeneity of the three genes. First, each gene was given a score based on its CV value in each post-injury interval. Then, the sum of the 13 scores was calculated; a low sum indicated high homogeneity. Second, the 13 calculated CVs or d%s were used as raw data, which was described as the mean ± SD. Based on this mean ± SD, a CV of the CVs and a d% of the d%s were calculated to represent the variation; a low value indicated high homogeneity. The sum of the variability of FZD4 mRNA was lower than those of the SFRP5 and Fosl1 mRNAs, consistent with the results that the FZD4 mRNA had the lowest mean, the smallest CV of all CVs, and the smallest d% of all d%s, among the three genes. In conclusion, these data indicated that mRNA encoding membranous FZD4 was likely to be more homogeneous than those encoding SFRP5 and Fosl1 within post-injury intervals.
PMID: 27497723 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Determination of sex from the patella in a contemporary Spanish population.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2016 Nov;44:84-91
Authors: Peckmann TR, Meek S, Dilkie N, Rozendaal A
The skull and pelvis have been used for the determination of sex for unknown human remains. However, in forensic cases where skeletal remains often exhibit postmortem damage and taphonomic changes the patella may be used for the determination of sex as it is a preservationally favoured bone. The goal of the present research was to derive discriminant function equations from the patella for estimation of sex from a contemporary Spanish population. Six parameters were measured on 106 individuals (55 males and 51 females), ranging in age from 22 to 85 years old, from the Granada Osteological Collection. The statistical analyses showed that all variables were sexually dimorphic. Discriminant function score equations were generated for use in sex determination. The overall accuracy of sex classification ranged from 75.2% to 84.8% for the direct method and 75.5%-83.8% for the stepwise method. When the South African White discriminant functions were applied to the Spanish sample they showed high accuracy rates for sexing female patellae (90%-95.9%) and low accuracy rates for sexing male patellae (52.7%-58.2%). When the South African Black discriminant functions were applied to the Spanish sample they showed high accuracy rates for sexing male patellae (90.9%) and low accuracy rates for sexing female patellae (70%-75.5%). The patella was shown to be useful for sex determination in the contemporary Spanish population.
PMID: 27690337 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
The accuracy of body mass prediction for elderly specimens: Implications for paleoanthropology and legal medicine.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2016 Oct;43:102-9
Authors: Chevalier T, Lefèvre P, Clarys JP, Beauthier JP
Different practices in paleoanthropology and legal medicine raise questions concerning the robustness of body mass (BM) prediction. Integrating personal identification from body mass estimation with skeleton is not a classic approach in legal medicine. The originality of our study is the use of an elderly sample in order to push prediction methods to their limits and to discuss about implications in paleoanthropology and legal medicine. The aim is to observe the accuracy of BM prediction in relation to the body mass index (BMI, index of classification) using five femoral head (FH) methods and one shaft (FSH) method. The sample is composed of 41 dry femurs obtained from dissection where age (c. 82 years) and gender are known, and weight (c. 59.5 kg) and height are measured upon admission to the body leg service. We show that the estimation of the mean BM of the elderly sample is not significantly different to the real mean BM when the appropriate formula is used for the femoral head diameter. In fact, the best prediction is obtained with the McHenry formula (1992), which was based on a sample with an equivalent average mass to that of our sample. In comparison, external shaft diameters, which are known to be more influenced by mechanical stimuli than femoral head diameters, yield less satisfactory results with the McHenry formula (1992) for shaft diameters. Based on all the methods used and the distinctive selected sample, overestimation (always observed with the different femoral head methods) can be restricted to 1.1%. The observed overestimation with the shaft method can be restricted to 7%. However, the estimation of individual BM is much less reliable. The BMI has a strong impact on the accuracy of individual BM prediction, and is unquestionably more reliable for individuals with normal BMI (9.6% vs 16.7% for the best prediction error). In this case, the FH method is also the better predictive method but not if we integrate the total sample (i.e., the FSH method is better with more varied BMI). Finally, the estimation of the mean BM of a sample can be used with more confidence compared to the estimation of individual BM. The former is very useful in an evolutionary perspective whereas the latter should be used in keeping with the information gathered on the studied specimen in order to reduce prediction errors. Finally, the BM estimation can be a parameter to consider for personal identification.
PMID: 27497725 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Estimation of stature from radiographic measurement of foot dimensions: Truncated foot length may be more reliable than full foot length.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Feb;46:53-57
Authors: Gwani AS, Salihu AT, Garba IS, Rufa’i AA
Foot length has been shown to be a reliable dimension for estimation of stature. However, phalanges of the foot are very small bones and their length may not be proportional to person’s stature. Thus, we hypothesized that foot length measured excluding the phalanges, the truncated foot length, may be more reliable in stature estimation than full foot length. This study, therefore, aimed at comparing the accuracy of the regression equations derived from the truncated foot length and the full foot length. The study recruited a sample of 32 young adults (16 males and 16 females) aged from 20 to 35 years. Lateral radiographs of the right feet were obtained for each subject in a bilateral standing position while maintaining equal weight on both feet. Standing height of the participants was measured with a stadiometer. Truncated foot length and full foot length were measured on the lateral radiographs of the foot. Independent t-test was used to check for mean differences in the dimensions between genders. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the equations for stature estimation. Intra and inter-observer reliability were calculated from four precision estimates: absolute technical error of measurement (aTEM), relative technical error of measurement (rTEM), coefficient of reliability (Rr) and coefficient of variation (Cv). All the dimensions measured were significantly larger in males than females. Linear regression equations were derived for estimation of stature using both the truncated foot length and full foot length. The regression equations derived from truncated foot length have larger correlation coefficient, coefficient of determination, adjusted coefficient of determination as well as smaller standard error of estimation than those derived from full foot length. All the precision estimates showed that the measurement errors are within acceptable limits. This study suggests that even if the full foot length is available, excluding the phalanges may give more accurate stature estimation.
PMID: 28131011 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Mathematical model in post-mortem estimation of brain edema using morphometric parameters.
J Forensic Leg Med. 2017 Jan;45:21-28
Authors: Radojevic N, Radnic B, Vucinic J, Cukic D, Lazovic R, Asanin B, Savic S
Current autopsy principles for evaluating the existence of brain edema are based on a macroscopic subjective assessment performed by pathologists. The gold standard is a time-consuming histological verification of the presence of the edema. By measuring the diameters of the cranial cavity, as individually determined morphometric parameters, a mathematical model for rapid evaluation of brain edema was created, based on the brain weight measured during the autopsy. A cohort study was performed on 110 subjects, divided into two groups according to the histological presence or absence of (the – deleted from the text) brain edema. In all subjects, the following measures were determined: the volume and the diameters of the cranial cavity (longitudinal and transverse distance and height), the brain volume, and the brain weight. The complex mathematical algorithm revealed a formula for the coefficient ε, which is useful to conclude whether a brain edema is present or not. The average density of non-edematous brain is 0.967 g/ml, while the average density of edematous brain is 1.148 g/ml. The resulting formula for the coefficient ε is (5.79 x longitudinal distance x transverse distance)/brain weight. Coefficient ε can be calculated using measurements of the diameters of the cranial cavity and the brain weight, performed during the autopsy. If the resulting ε is less than 0.9484, it could be stated that there is cerebral edema with a reliability of 98.5%. The method discussed in this paper aims to eliminate the burden of relying on subjective assessments when determining the presence of a brain edema.
PMID: 27914998 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]
Darkness as factor influencing the oviposition delay in Calliphora vicina (Diptera: Calliphoridae).
J Forensic Leg Med. 2016 Nov;44:98-102
Authors: Bonacci T, Storino P, Scalercio S, Brandmayr P
Many environmental and intrinsic factors (e.g. limited access to the body) can disrupt insect activity, causing a delay in the colonization of a corpse. These elements could hinder an accurate estimation of the minimum Post-mortem Interval (minPMI), raising questions about the limits of forensic entomology. Blow fly are considered mainly diurnal and relatively inactive at night, at extreme temperatures and in dark conditions. Data on their ability to lay eggs in darkness and in laboratory conditions are scarce. Oviposition by Calliphoridae during the day but in darkness has been documented in chimneys, cellars and cars. To investigate delays in oviposition in the dark we carried out laboratory experiments using plastic boxes containing Calliphora vicina Robineau-Desvoidy specimens placed in a climatic chambers at different temperatures. We found that C. vicina laid eggs in complete darkness inside the plastic boxes, but later than the specimens inside the boxes at light condition. We believe that oviposition can occur in dark indoor environments in conditions of optimal air temperature, gravid flies and an accessible corpse. However, when corpses are discovered in dark environments, entomologists should consider a significant delay in oviposition by blow fly in order to reduce errors in PMI estimation.
PMID: 27721180 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]