Research Advances in Postmortem Interval Estimation

A special issue of Forensic Sciences (ISSN 2673-6756).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 February 2022) | Viewed by 11936

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Medical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, 40, 09124 Cagliari CA, Italy
Interests: forensic pathology legal medicine; clinical forensic medicine; forensic medicine; autopsy; forensic sciences; medical liability

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Guest Editor
Forensic Medicine Unit, Department of Clinical Sciences and Public Health, University of Cagliari, 09124 Cagliari CA, Italy
Interests: forensic pathology; legal medicine; forensic imaging; postmortem optical coherence tomography; postmortemocular changes; postmortem biochemistry; medical liability; evaluation of personal injury; social medicine and public health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

A forensic pathologist must often estimate the postmortem interval (PMI). The best way of doing this is a major area of contention among forensic pathologists.

Until the dawn of the last century, this activity was based on empirical methods or hurriedly verifying signs, such as livor mortis, rigor mortis, and algor mortis.

Works led by professors Madea and Henssge have made major contributions to PMI estimation. After years of intense study, they developed a nomogram based on the rectal temperature measurement for early (0–24 h) PMI estimation, which is now used in most forensic institutes.

Despite the enormous practical and scientific value of this method, there have been considerable technological advances over the last few decades. Therefore, current research should also be aimed at elaborating methods for those cases in which the Madea–Henssge nomogram is not applicable or provides less precise data (i.e., charred corpses or extreme temperatures). Finally, there is a clear need for novel methods that are not based on temperature, which would allow pathologists to precisely estimate the PMI even at advanced intervals.

Unfortunately, contemporary forensic research suffers from a major defect: it is not organic. Many preliminary studies based on valid principles do not lead to concrete, practical implications.

The current issue aims to summarize the available methods for estimating PMI and their possible integration. The methods for validating of new approaches—essential for their use in the Judicial Courts—will also be considered.

Papers related to different fields of forensic sciences will be evaluated, including classical forensic pathology, postmortem biochemistry, forensic genetics, omics sciences (genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics), postmortem imaging, forensic anthropology, and entomology.

We believe that this Special Issue will stimulate discussion among researchers and help to introduce new methods for estimating PMI.

Prof. Dr. Roberto Demontis
Dr. Matteo Nioi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forensic Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Postmortem interval estimation
  • PMI and forensic pathology
  • PMI research
  • PMI and OMICS sciences
  • PMI postmortem biochemistry
  • PMI estimation and forensic anthropology

Published Papers (2 papers)

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14 pages, 2424 KiB  
Article
A Simplified Approach to Understanding Body Cooling Behavior and Estimating the Postmortem Interval
by Pushpesh Sharma and C. S. Kabir
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(2), 403-416; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2020030 - 6 May 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2432
Abstract
Ascertaining the postmortem interval or PMI has been an item of interest over many decades in forensic science for crime scene investigations. The challenge revolves around establishing the postmortem interval or PMI with a single temperature measurement, given the known initial and the [...] Read more.
Ascertaining the postmortem interval or PMI has been an item of interest over many decades in forensic science for crime scene investigations. The challenge revolves around establishing the postmortem interval or PMI with a single temperature measurement, given the known initial and the final boundary condition of a human body and room temperature. Despite the advent of a succession of single, double, and triple-exponential analytical models, and more recently, the 3-D heat-transfer modeling, the uncertainty remains in the PMI estimation. This study presents a pragmatic way to solve this problem in a two-step approach. First, we attempted to understand the cooling rate in various body parts. Second, we proposed a hyperbolic modeling approach to fit the time-dependent temperature data to estimate the PMI. The latest digital data of Wilk et al.’s study provided the platform for validating our solution approach. Overall, the use of 20 subsets of three bodies involving Wilk et al. and five from one body of Bartgis et al. provided the required data. Although body imaging and 3-D modeling greatly facilitate our understanding of overall body-cooling behavior in the modern era in real-time, a simple semi-analytical tool can corroborate the model results for PMI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Postmortem Interval Estimation)
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Review

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12 pages, 446 KiB  
Review
Postmortem Interval Estimation: New Approaches by the Analysis of Human Tissues and Microbial Communities’ Changes
by Sara C. Zapico and Joe Adserias-Garriga
Forensic Sci. 2022, 2(1), 163-174; https://doi.org/10.3390/forensicsci2010013 - 19 Feb 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 8404
Abstract
There are several methodologies available to estimate time since death based on different changes that a corpse undergoes after death. However, these methods are imprecise due to the decomposition process being affected by several factors, principally temperature and humidity. Current trends for the [...] Read more.
There are several methodologies available to estimate time since death based on different changes that a corpse undergoes after death. However, these methods are imprecise due to the decomposition process being affected by several factors, principally temperature and humidity. Current trends for the determination of the Postmortem Interval (PMI) attempt to estimate the PMI in a quantifiable manner, based on chemical changes on and in the body, summarized in the field of “thanatochemistry”. Although these methodologies have improved PMI estimates, additional research has been developed to increase the accuracy and precision of this determination. As a result, the fields of “thanatobiology” and “thanatomicrobiome” have emerged. Thanatobiology is based on the estimation of the PMI from DNA/RNA degradation, signaling pathways of cell death, and protein analysis. Thanatomicrobiome refers to changes in the bacterial communities as a consequence of the decomposition process. Although both approaches seem to improve PMI estimates, applications of thanatobiology methodologies are more appropriate in the first phases of decomposition, while thanatomicrobiome analyses are applicable in advanced stages. Further research is needed in these new fields in order to establish their applicability in forensic cases. This is a review of the current state-of-the-art methodology in these two subfields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Research Advances in Postmortem Interval Estimation)
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