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Kellinghaus M.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schulz R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Vieth V.,Universitatsklinikum Munster | Schmidt S.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Schmeling A.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
International Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2010

Determination of the stage of ossification of the medial clavicular epiphysis is a crucial part of age estimation in criminal proceedings when evaluating individuals with completed hand ossification. In order to ensure a maximum of accuracy in forensic age estimation practise, it is recommended to perform thin-slice CT scans; but to date there exist no reference data on the bone development of the region in question based on thin-slice computed tomography. In this retrospective study, the authors evaluated thin-slice multidetector CT images of 592 individuals aged between 10 and 35 years produced in the University Hospital of Münster. The ossification status of the medial epiphysis of the clavicle could be reliably determined in 502 cases using the classification of stages by Schmeling et al. In male individuals, stage 2 was first noted at age 14, in female individuals at age 13. Stage 3 was first achieved by male individuals at age 17, by female individuals at age 16. The occurrence of stage 4 was first found in both sexes at the age of 21. In either sex, the earliest observation of stage 5 was at age 26. The findings are basically in line with those from the only CT-based study on the subject in question using the same classification of five stages, except from the fact that in the present study, stage 5 first occurs at age 26, which is 4 or 5 years later than what was found in the CT study using 7 mm slices in the majority of cases. This vast difference may be explained through the partial volume effect occurring with thick-slice CT images by a visual deception of the epiphyseal scar occurring with stage 4. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.


Bassan D.M.,Institute For Organische Chemie | Erdmann F.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Krull R.,Institute For Organische Chemie | Krull R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry | Year: 2011

An analytical procedure for the simultaneous determination in human serum of 43 common drugs of abuse and their metabolites belonging to the different chemical and toxicological classes of amphetamines, benzodiazepines, dibenzazepines, cocaine, lysergic acid diethylamide, opioids, phencyclidine, tricyclic antidepressants, and zolpidem, using 33 deuterated standards, is presented. The sample treatment was developed to be a very simple protein precipitation and filtration. All analyses were performed with a high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry in positive ionization mode. All analytes were calibrated up to 550 μg/L. The limit of detection ranged from 0.6 ng/mL (EDDP) to 13.7 ng/mL (flunitrazepam). The method has been validated according to the guidelines of the Gesellschaft für Toxikologische und Forensische Chemie, using three multiple reaction mode (MRM) transitions and retention time for positive compound identification, instead of two MRMs, in anticipation of the new guidelines for January 2011. © 2011 Springer-Verlag.


Schmidt S.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schmeling A.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Zwiesigk P.,Praxis Am Savignyplatz | Pfeiffer H.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schulz R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
International Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2011

Due to the requirement to minimise exposure to radiation, it is desirable to develop non-ionising imaging procedures for the analysis of skeletal maturation for forensic age diagnostics in living individuals. The present pilot study analyses the applicability of ultrasound examinations for the evaluation of apophyseal ossification of the iliac crest. With reference to the sonographic staging of clavicular ossification, the maturation stages of the iliac crest apophysis of 23 male and 16 female subjects, aged 11- 20 years, were determined. Ossification stage I occurred in the male subjects at a minimum age of 15.7 years. Ossification stage II was diagnosed in boys at a minimumage of 14.1 years and in girls at a minimum age of 11.7 years. The earliest observation of ossification stage III was at a chronological age of 16.2 years in males and 15.2 years in females. The earliest age of occurrence of ossification stage IV was at least 18.0 years in male test persons and at least 17.1 years in female test persons. The results obtained should be reassessed in a larger number of cases. It is to be expected that sonographic examination of the iliac crest apophysis will become established as a valid and efficient method for forensic age diagnostics in living individuals. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.


Courts C.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Madea B.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
Rechtsmedizin | Year: 2012

In this article a digression into the biology and analysis of ribonucleic acid (RNA) will be followed by a review of the possibilities and aspects of the forensic analytic use of individual RNA forms. Various forms of RNA fulfil many core functions in living cells and tissues. Messenger RNA (mRNA) serves as a temporary information transporter of gene expression and the analysis of total RNA of a cell at any point in time, the transcriptome, allows the determination of cell type and state. This can be used in forensic problems for the assignment of biological specimens and components of mixed stains containing different body fluids to particular tissues. The relationship of the various degradation processes of individual RNA types can be used for the molecular age estimation of biological stains. The differential and stage-specific expression of mRNA is useful for forensic evaluation of wound age and condition, healing processes and also gestational age and can also provide evidence on pathophysiological processes related to the stages of dying. With the continuously increasing importance, multitude of methods and scope of forensic RNA analysis, the potential of investigating micro-RNA expression patterns has also recently been evaluated for forensic casework. © Springer-Verlag 2012.


When the plant Cannabis sativa L. was included in molecular genetic research in the middle of the 1990s, the initial analytical methods were focused on identification and sex determination of the plants. This was carried out with nuclear and plastid deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). The first analyses on individualization of single plants were carried out with randomly amplified polymorphisms (RAPD), amplified fragment length polymorphisms (AFLP) and inter-simple sequence repeat (ISSR) methods; however, the most complex methods are now based on short tandem repeats (STR), which also have a fundamental role in human DNA fingerprinting and offer the greatest potential for discrimination. This article provides the names of the most prominent Cannabis DNA research groups in Germany to facilitate finding cooperation and contact partners. The current Cannabis DNA research is focused on establishing standards, e.g. an allelic ladder for Cannabis STRs, which will provide a reliable molecular genetic comparison of investigation results between the various laboratories. © 2014 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Schulz R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schiborr M.,Institute For Klinische Radiologie | Pfeiffer H.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schmidt S.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schmeling A.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology | Year: 2013

Establishing radiation-free imaging methods for the assessment of clavicular ossification in forensic age determination is desirable as it reduces radiation exposure in living individuals. For this purpose the stage of ossification of the right medial clavicular epiphysis was determined prospectively using sonography in 309 male and 307 female healthy volunteers. The classification of stages according to Schulz et al. was used for this purpose. Stage 2 was first noticed at the age of 14.4 years in males, and at the age of 14.1 years in females. Stage 3 was first achieved by males at the age of 17.6 years and by females at the age of 17.4 years. Stage 4 first occurred in males at the age of 19.3 years and at the age of 18.9 years in females. The mean age for stage 1 was 13.6 years. The mean age of stage 2 ranged between 17.3 and 17.6 years. For stage 3 the mean age varied from 20.7 to 21.2 years, and for stage 4 from 23.3 to 23.5 years. It was concluded that sonographically determined stage 4 clavicular ossification provides evidence for the completion of the nineteenth year of life in males and the eighteenth year of life in females. In order to increase the reliability of age determination using this method it is recommended that findings be recorded by at least two experienced independent examiners who then reach a consensus. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.


In this serial experiment, five human bones with known post-mortem intervals (PMI) in a soil environment from five different epochs (0.2 to approximately 2000 years) were tested in a blind setup with two established rapid tests for the identification of human blood traces (Hexagon-OBTI® test and RSID® blood test). Based on previous study results concerning the usability of the Luminol test for the first assessment of the PMI of osseous remains, the question arising was whether those test procedures, which are highly sensitive for the detection of human blood components, could also be used to narrow down the post-mortem interval. Five test series were conducted applying modified standard protocols of the manufactures. The aim was to find out whether with prior reaction steps or a prolonged time of incubation hemoglobin or its metabolites can be dissolved from the bone and positive test r sults can be achieved dependent on the PMI. Four test series yielded negative results for all bone samples and one test series a uniformly weak positive result. The results indicate that rapid tests based on the detection of blood are not suitable for the determination of the PMI of bone samples despite the modification of the standard protocols. Further thorough research is required to clarify the postmortem degradation of hemoglobin in bones.


Mebs D.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
Hautarzt | Year: 2014

Background: Jellyfish are distributed worldwide; they cause local skin injuries upon contact which are often followed by systemic signs of envenoming.Objectives: Which jellyfish species are of medical importance, which skin reactions and systemic symptoms occur, which first-aid measures and treatment options exist?Methods: Review of the medical literature and discussion of first-aid and therapeutic options.Results: Jellyfish capable of causing skin injuries occur in almost all oceans. Several jellyfish species may cause severe, potentially lethal, systemic symptoms; they include the Portuguese man-of-war (Physalia physalis) and box jellyfish (Chironex fleckeri, Carukia barnesi, Chiropsalmus quadrigatus).Conclusions: Among the injuries and envenoming symptoms caused by marine organisms, jellyfish dermatitis should not be underestimated. Skin reactions may not only a dermatological problem, but also be accompanied by complex systemic toxic symptoms which are a challenge for internists. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Niederegger S.,University Hospital Jena | Spiess R.,University Hospital Jena | Spiess R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin
Parasitology Research | Year: 2012

First results of a new method for species determination in third instar larvae of saprophagous blowflies are introduced. Cuticular attachment sites of a limited number of transversal muscles are visualized for light microscopic analysis. After removing the muscles and staining the cuticle, the attachment sites become visible as laterally symmetrical segmental clusters of dark dots. The combined patterns of five such clusters, located in the second, third and fourth segments, show sufficient differences to allow reliable separation of externally very similar larval Lucilia sericata and Lucilia illustris as well as Calliphora vomitoria and Calliphora vicina, the most common saprophagous blowfly species in Europe. Species determination even in poorly conserved, discoloured and fragmented blowfly larvae becomes possible with this new method. The method can primarily be applied for postmortem interval (PMI) calculations in forensic entomology. Interspecific morphological similarity of the larvae and differences in growth rate make species determination an essential requisite for an exact PMI calculation. © Springer-Verlag 2011.


Kellinghaus M.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Schulz R.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | Vieth V.,Universitatsklinikum Munster | Schmidt S.,Institute For Rechtsmedizin | And 2 more authors.
International Journal of Legal Medicine | Year: 2010

Thin-slice computed tomography provides the imaging modality of choice in analysing the ossification process of the medial clavicular epiphysis for the purpose of forensic age diagnostics in the living in the course of criminal proceedings. The classification of the ossification stages by Schmeling et al. compass the emergence of an epiphyseal ossification centre (stage 2), the partial fusion of the epiphysis with the metaphysis (stage 3), the complete fusion of these osseous elements including a visible epiphyseal scar (stage 4), and the complete fusion without a visible epiphyseal scar (stage 5). In the present study, each of the ossification stages 2 and 3 was divided into an early, intermediate and late phase. The authors evaluated the thin-slice CT scans of 185 patients aged between 13 and 26 years. In all these cases, a stage 2 or 3 had been determined in a previous study. The late stage 3, which is characterized by a fusion between metaphysis and epiphysis completing more than two thirds of the former epiphyseal gap, first appeared at age 19 in both sexes. If a late stage 3 is found, it is therefore possible to substantiate that an individual has already reached the legally important age threshold of 18 years. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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