Research Updates

Bite-mark decision raises tougher questions

Peter and Mary Bush, forensic scientists in the School of Dental Medicine, had much to celebrate during the past week. Their work — several studies that found the science behind bite-mark analysis unsound — helped lay the foundation for a landmark recommendation by the Texas Forensic Science Commission to ban the form of evidence from being used in the courtroom. A more...

Bitemark evidence is junk science – until research shows otherwise

Here is how the Houston Post described the findings from the Texas Forensic Science Commission. Why not listen to the NPR interview with Chris Fabricant on the impact of this finding here. There were bite marks on John Sweek's arm when police found him stabbed to death on his kitchen floor in 1987. Dallas County prosecutors charged Steven Chaney with the murder — he more...

The use of tooth crown measurements in the assessment of ancestry.

As the hardest tissue in the body, teeth have the potential to offer a wealth of biological information to the forensic anthropologist, which can include the assessment of ancestry. Using a large data set of dental measurements, the efficacy of mesiodistal and buccolingual tooth dimensions to discriminate between broad, geographically based groups is explored. A general more...

Dental and chronological age in children under oncological treatment.

So one can argue that this is a very small, very specific population studied in this paper.  Thankfully, the number of cases of children undergoing cancer therapies such as this is small, and therefore the need to age them for forensic purposes is likely to be incredibly rare. However, the main piece around this research, published in the Journal of Forensic Science, more...

The reliability of Cameriere’s method in Turkish children: a preliminary report.

Dental age estimation in children is an important issue both legally and medically. Currently, however, there is a lack of contemporary dental age estimation standards for a Turkish population. This study assessed the accuracy of Cameriere's method by examining the panoramic radiographs of 573 healthy Turkish children between the ages of 8 and 15 years. Radiographs of the more...

The effects of racemization rate for age estimation of pink teeth.

Pink teeth is thought to result from the seepage of hemoglobin caused by dental pulp decomposition. We investigated whether racemization can be applied for age estimation in cases of pink teeth where the whole tooth is used. The pink teeth used were three cases and the normal teeth for control were five mandibular canines of known age. Age of the pink teeth was calculated more...

Forensic dental age estimation by measuring root dentin translucency area using a new digital technique.

Dentin translucency measurement is an easy yet relatively accurate approach to postmortem age estimation. Translucency area represents a two-dimensional change and may reflect age variations better than length. Manually measuring area is challenging and this paper proposes a new digital method using commercially available computer hardware and software. Area and length more...

Efficacy of Sex Determination from Human Dental Pulp Tissue and its Reliability as a Tool in Forensic Dentistry.

BACKGROUND: Sex determination is one of the primary steps in forensics. Barr body can be used as a histological method for identification of sex as it is found to be specific to female somatic cells and rare in male cells. To demarcate human dental pulp as an important identification tool of sex in forensic odontology (FO) and to evaluate the time period till which sex more...

Dental anthropology of a Brazilian sample: Frequency of nonmetric traits.

Dental elements are valuable tools in a study of ancient populations and species, and key-features for human identification; among the dental anthropology field, nonmetric traits, standardized by ASUDAS, are closely related to ancestry. This study aimed to analyze the frequency of six nonmetric traits in a sample from Southeast Brazil, composed by 130 dental casts from more...

The rate of RNA degradation in human dental pulp reveals post-mortem interval.

Post-mortem interval (PMI) is the amount of time elapsed since the time of death. Over the years, many methods were developed to assess PMI, but their precision and time frame of applicability are often limited. Our present pilot study aimed to prove if RNA degradation of human dental pulp can be used for PMI estimation. RNA was isolated from the pulps of healthy wisdom more...