Radiation free age estimation of youths and young adolescents is a topic of rising interest recently. In this project we investigate automatic algorithms which enable based on computer vision & machine learning to create a nonlinear function from a training database of MR images with the corresponding chronological age, that is able to predict the age of novel, previously unseen data sets.
Accurately determining cause of death has serious consequences, not only on judicial procedures but also on health policies. Autopsies are currently the gold standard in determining cause of death, however there are many religious and cultural proscriptions against their performance, namely due to their invasiveness. Even in cases of suspected heart disease, which is the most frequent cause of death worldwide, autopsies still represent the standard method in determining cause of death.
Persons of unknown age, whose genuine age needs to be clarified for legal and immigration issues, have to undergo forensic age estimation. Depending on the legal issue relevant age limits are 14, 16, 18 and 21 years.
The determination of the time frame of fracture healing and fracture dating, respectively, is of special interest in the field of clinical forensic examinations of child abuse, but can also be applied to the reconstruction of accidents and medical investigations of bone healing. To date, fracture dating is performed using radiographic methods and only allows qualitative results, strongly depending on the experience of the examiner.
In this future-oriented project of the LBI-CFI we are investigating how MR/CT scans can contribute to understanding complex injury patterns and their inter-relations by medical laymen. The aim is to display volumetric MR/CT scan data and other forensically relevant information in an intuitive manner in a court of law. Our research is also driven by the goal to enhance legal certainty by objectifying forensic findings.
With a view of including radiological imaging procedures in forensic examinations of living victims, the correlation of internal and external findings is of particular interest. The present study explores the potential of simple strand-shaped markers to correlate forensic soft-tissue findings visible in photography and MRI. Markers secured to the skin were photographed prior to scanning and were visible in both modalities. Using the positions of these markers, it was possible to register MR images to external photographs. Scans within the same series were also automatically registered, creating a direct link between internal tissue damage and the visible characteristics of a hematoma.
In clinical forensic medicine hematomas and other externally visible injuries are used for the reconstruction of events. However, dating of hematomas based on their external aspect is difficult. In intracranial hemorrhage MR imaging (MRI) has shown to be able to classify the time of hemorrhage according to its MRI properties.
Thus, the aim is to use different MRI sequences to measure contrast changes and quantitative changes in subcutaneous hematomas over time.
Diagnosis and assessment of strangulation in surviving victims is of crucial importance in forensic evaluations of the assault. Currently, legal question concerning severity and type of strangulation can almost entirely only be answered by subjective statements of the victim regarding unconsciousness, urination or mental aspects. These statements are hardly or not at all objectifiable.