Features | Partner Sites | Information | LinkXpress
Sign In

CT Scans Could Bolster Forensic Database to Identify Unknown Remains

By Medimaging International staff writers
Posted on 30 Jan 2014
Image: Cranium image reconstructed from CT scans (Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State University).
Image: Cranium image reconstructed from CT scans (Photo courtesy of the North Carolina State University).
New findings revealed that data from computed tomography (CT) scans can be incorporated into a growing forensic database to help determine the ancestry and sex of unidentified human remains. These findings may also have clinical applications for craniofacial surgeons.

“As forensic anthropologists, we can map specific coordinates on a skull and use software that we developed—called 3D-ID—to compare those three-dimensional coordinates with a database of biological characteristics,” said Dr. Ann Ross, a professor of anthropology at North Carolina State University (NC State; Raleigh, USA) and senior author of an article describing the research, published January 2014 issue of the Journal of Craniofacial Surgery. “That comparison can tell us the ancestry and sex of unidentified remains using only the skull, which is particularly valuable when dealing with incomplete skeletal remains.”

The 3D-ID database’s size, however, has been limited by the researchers’ access to modern skulls that have plainly recorded demographic histories. To develop a stronger database, Dr. Ross and her coworkers initiated a study to determine whether it was possible to get good skull coordinate data from living people by examining CT scans. The University of Pennsylvania Museum’s Morton Collection (Philadelphia, PA, USA) provided the NC State investigators with CT scans of 48 skulls. Researchers mapped the coordinates of the actual skulls by hand utilizing a digitizer (electronic stylus). Then they compared the data from the CT scans with the data from the manual mapping of the skulls.

The researchers discovered that eight bilateral coordinates on the skull were consistent for both the CT scans and manual mapping. “This will allow us to significantly expand the 3D-ID database,” Dr. Ross said. “And these bilateral coordinates give important clues to ancestry, because they include cheekbones and other facial characteristics.”

With the five midline coordinates, however, the researchers demonstrated inconsistencies between the CT scans and manual mapping. “More research is needed to determine what causes these inconsistencies, and whether we’ll be able to retrieve accurate midline data from CT scans,” stated Amanda Hale, a former master’s student at NC State, and lead author of the study.

This research may also help craniofacial surgeons. “An improved understanding of the flaws in how CT scans map skull features could help surgeons more accurately map landmarks for reconstructive surgery,” Dr. Hale emphasized.

Related Links:

North Carolina State University

SuperSonic Imagine



view channel

Use of Breast MRI Offers Optimized Care

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is being used increasingly for breast cancer screening, diagnostic assessment, treatment planning, and monitoring; however, a recent study revealed that over time, the indication for breast MRI has changed. Much of the increase was found among women with breast cancer risk factors, but there... Read more


view channel
Image: Analogic Sonic Window handheld ultrasound for peripheral IV placement (Photo courtesy of Analogic).

First-of-a-Kind Ultrasound System Designed for Image-Guided Peripheral Intravenous Access and Fits in Pocket

A new, ultra-compact ultrasound device provides direct visualization of structures beneath the skin in real time to effectively guide clinicians placing peripheral intravenous (IV) lines.... Read more

Nuclear medicine

view channel
Image: Micrograph of Hodgkin lymphoma. Lymph node fine-needle aspiration (FNA) specimen. Field stain (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons).

Early PET-Negative Stage I/II Hodgkin Lymphoma Patients Show Increased Risk of Early Relapse when Radiotherapy Is Not Used

Analysis of a new study indicates an increased risk of early relapse when excluding radiotherapy in early positron emission tomography (PET) scan-negative patients with stage I/II Hodgkin’s lymphoma.... Read more

General/Advanced Imaging

view channel

Secondary Light Emission Generated by Plasmonic Nanostructures May Improve Medical Imaging Technology

New clues into light emission at different wavelengths generated by elements known plasmonic nanostructures may help to improve medical imaging technology. A plasmon is a quantum of plasma oscillation. The plasmon is a quasiparticle resulting from the quantization of plasma oscillations just as photons, and phonons are... Read more

Imaging IT

view channel

Enterprise Image-Viewing System Receives FDA Clearance for Mobile Diagnosis on All Modalities

An enterprise image-viewing system is now cleared in the United States for diagnosis on mobile devices, for all imaging modalities (except mammography). Calgary Scientific, Inc. (Calgary, AB, USA) recently reported their latest Class II clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Calgary Scientific worked... Read more

Industry News

view channel

Collaboration Expands Capacity for Proton Therapy Clinical Research and Patient Treatments

Varian Medical Systems (Palo Alto, CA, USA) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI; Villigen PSI, Switzerland) are extending an existing collaboration in the field of proton therapy to offer patients more accurate cancer treatments using intensity-modulated proton therapy (IMPT). Under the agreement, Varian will also... Read more
Copyright © 2000-2014 Globetech Media. All rights reserved.