The article reports on the exhumation and subsequent DNA analysis of the skeletal remains of an unknown male newborn from 1988. Molecular biological methods confirmed the maternity of a woman who was already convicted of infanticide. Since homicide could not be clearly proven and manslaughter becomes barred by the statute of limitation after 20 years, the woman cannot be held accountable for the alleged killing of her first child.
Screening is an important issue in medicine and is used to early identify unrecognised diseases in persons who are apparently in good health. Screening strongly relies on the concept of "normal values". Normal values are defined as values that are frequently observed in a population and usually range within certain statistical limits. Screening for obesity should start early as the prevalence of obesity consolidates already at early school age. Though widely practiced, measuring BMI is not the ultimate solution for detecting obesity. Children with high BMI may be "robust" in skeletal dimensions. Assessing skeletal robustness and in particularly assessing developmental tempo in adolescents are also important issues in health screening. Yet, in spite of the necessity of screening investigations, appropriate reference values are often missing. Meanwhile, new concepts of growth diagrams have been developed. Stage line diagrams are useful for tracking developmental processes over time. Functional data analyses have efficiently been used for analysing longitudinal growth in height and assessing the tempo of maturation. Convenient low-cost statistics have also been developed for generating synthetic national references.
The diagnosis of starvation in children or adults is an important topic in paediatric and geriatric medicine, and in law assessment. To date, few reliable techniques are available to reconstruct the onset and duration of undernourishment, especially in cases of wilful neglect or abuse. The intention of this research project is to introduce a method based on isotopic analysis to reconstruct nutritional life histories and to detect starvation. For this purpose the specific signature of stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in human hair samples is investigated and measured in the course of serious nutritional deprivation. Previous study of our research group on anorectic patients has shown that incremental hair analyses can monitor the individual nutritional status of each patient. Increasing ?(15)N-values indicate the catabolism of bodily protein and are associated with a very low BMI. In contrast, the changes of the ?(13)C values and BMI were in phase, which can be linked to the lack of energy in the consumed diet and the break down of body fat deposits. These findings were now applied to various forensic cases, in which severe starvation occurred recently prior to death. We are aiming at establishing an unbiased biomarker to identify the individual timeframe of nutritional deprivation to detect and prevent starvation.
Differentiation of living fingers, fake fingers and fingers from dead bodies was investigated using spectral analysis. For this purpose, reflection and transmission spectra in the wavelength region from 400 to 1650 nm were recorded from living volunteers and corpses. In an additional small test series (one living volunteer, three cadavers), time-resolved spectral images were prepared using reflectance (derived from pulse oximetry). The dynamic differences in the curves (including the absorption changes caused by the blanching effect and the pulse) provide initial approaches for the realisation of systems for liveness detection. Significant differences that would be useful for the integration into fingerprint recording systems of methods to defend against forgeries are discussed.
Although numerous bodies were deposited in Western European bogs in the past centuries, few were found and underwent archeological analysis. No studies comparing skeletal structure and mineralization of bog bodies from different ages have been performed to this day. Therefore, the aim of this study was to analyze and compare skeletal features and specifics of the human remains of three bog bodies from the Iron and Middle Ages found in Northern European peat bogs. Demineralization due to the acidic environment in peat bogs was comparably pronounced in all three bodies. Still, the macroscopic state of skeletal preservation was excellent. In addition to contact radiography, we used peripheral quantitative computed tomography to measure cortical bone mineral density. The conservation of skeletal three-dimensional microstructural elements was assessed by high-resolution microcomputed tomography analysis. These techniques revealed severe differences in bone mineral density and enabled us to determine handedness in all three bodies. Additionally, unique skeletal features like intravital bone lesions, immobilization osteoporosis, and Harris lines were found. A deformity of the left femoral head was observed which had the typical appearance of an advanced stage of Legg-Calve-Perthes disease. This study gives detailed insight into the skeletal microstructure and microarchitecture of 800- to 2,700-year-old bog bodies. Skeletal analysis enables us to draw conclusions not only concerning changes in the acidic environment of the bog, but also serves as a diagnostic tool to unravel life circumstances and diseases suffered by humans in the Iron and Middle Ages.
We examined the final period of tibial growth in late adolescent males.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.