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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 229288 Find in a Library
Title: Alcohol-Related Mortality Risk in Natural and Non-Natural Death Cases
Journal: Journal of Forensic Sciences  Volume:54  Issue:6  Dated:November 2009  Pages:1429-1432
Author(s): Klara Toro, M.D., Ph.D.; Kalman Rona, Ph.D.; Gyorgy Dunay, M.D.; Gabriella Klausz, Dr.Pharm.; Szilvia Feher, M.D.
Date Published: November 2009
Page Count: 4
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In this study of natural and unnatural death cases (5,496 total: 4,045 males and 1,451 females), the focus was on the prevalence of alcohol influence in sudden natural and violent deaths as determined in medicolegal autopsies.
Abstract: Severe blood alcohol concentrations (BACs) were detected among suicidal victims over 65 years old at time of death, as well as among homicide victims between the ages of 40 and 65. Victims of traffic accidents were likely to have significant BACs. Medicolegal investgations have usually faced problems of postmortem change related to the production of alcohol. Microorganisms (yeasts and bacteria) in putrefaction can produce alcohol in the process of fermentation, usually a mixture of ethanol and other volatile substances. All the cases reviewed for this study were autopsied within 24-72 hours after death, and the bodies were stored at +4 degrees C. The authors note that the high BACs in the study sample reflect the high level of alcohol consumption and binge drinking in Hungary, where this study was conducted. The results show the importance of a careful medicolegal postmortem investigation that includes blood alcohol detection in every sudden natural and unnatural death, particularly when the decedent is young. Suicidal, accidental, and homicide cases were included in the violent-death group. Sudden death was defined as a case that occurred within 24 hours of the first symptoms and in which there was no sign of previous diseases and no external evidence of cause of death or sign of violent death. BACs were detected by a headspace gas chromatographic method. Alcohol-related mortality was investigated by using hierarchical log-linear statistical models. 2 tables, 2 figures, and 38 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Alcohol-Related Offenses; Alcoholic beverage consumption; Autopsy; Death investigations; Drug effects; Violent crimes
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