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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 228523 Find in a Library
Title: Is Differentiation of Frequently Encountered Foreign Bodies in Corpses Possible by Hounsfield Density Measurement?
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:5  Dated:September 2009  Pages:1119-1122
Author(s): Stephan A. Bolliger, M.D.; Lars Oesterhelweg, M.D.; Danny Spendlove, M.D.; Steffen Ross, M.D.; Michael J. Thali, M.D.
Date Published: September 2009
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study determined the possibility of detecting and depicting foreign bodies in corpses by using computed tomography to determine objects’ radiodensities, referred to a Hounsfield units (HUs).
Abstract: The study determined that by measuring the HU opacity of a foreign object present in a corpse, it is possible to draw certain cautious conclusions as to the type of material involved e.g., if the object displays HU value of approximately 30710, it is most likely gold, lead, or brass. These and other materials close to this HU value could be clearly differentiated from steel, which has a mean HU value of 20346. In the case of bomb explosions, for example, metallic parts of the bomb can be distinguished from secondary fragments, such as building material, prior to autopsy. This information can facilitate autopsy planning. Certain difficulties may arise regarding the size of the object because of the beam hardening effect of the interface of the object with the surrounding tissue. The object’s center must be measured so as to keep clear of the surface-near regions. In very small objects, this may not be possible, which renders the measurement less reliable. Another problem is the purity of the object. The current study examined only objects with a high grade of purity. Less pure objects will have distinctive HU values that make them difficult to identify. In order to create a systematic database of the HU values of foreign bodies, a vast number of objects must be studied. The current study examined seven metals - gold, silver, brass, lead, steel, copper, and aluminum - six types of rock, and four types of glass. 4 figures and 17 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Death investigations; Forensic sciences; Investigative techniques
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