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A non-invasive technique for age at death determination.

Authors
  • Lynnerup, N
  • Thomsen, I
  • Frohlich, B
Type
Published Article
Journal
Medicine, science, and the law
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1990
Volume
30
Issue
4
Pages
317–320
Identifiers
PMID: 2263176
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Several methods for age at death determination of human skeletal remains have been developed. These methods have, especially in combination, proved to be useful in making individual identification of skeletal material in forensic cases. This study is based on the known correlation between actual age and structural changes in trabecular bone tissue. Using X-rays taken from live individuals, it provides a useful non-invasive ageing technique for the forensic examiner. An initial pilot study defined five phases of age-related changes in the trabecular tissue of the proximal end of the femur. A total of 60 X-rays, randomly selected, and covering an age span from 14 years to 94 years, were subsequently scored in blind trials. The results demonstrate a clear relationship between age and changes in the trabecular structures. Based on this relationship it is possible to obtain an age estimate by identification of one of the five phases. An exact age determination of a single individual was not possible, but could be approximated to within 20 years. In forensic cases, however, where the removal of soft tissue is not always possible, this method can contribute to the final age determination when used in conjunction with other well-known methods, and thereby strengthen the final age estimate.

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