New technology set to 'revolutionize' the identification of disaster victims

Jun 13, 2012

Forensics across the world will be better equipped to identify the age of people who die in natural disasters.

Scientists at Queen Mary, University of London have developed an online interactive tool which will enable experts to assess people's teeth and accurately estimate their age.

The London Tooth Atlas is a culmination of years of research from Dr Helen Liversidge and her team at Queen Mary dedicated to dental development.

Dr Liversidge said: "This interactive tool builds on the creation of our London Tooth Atlas hard copy version which was used in a number of disasters such as the New Zealand earthquake (2011).

"We expect the new software will revolutionise the way forensics determine the age of victims."

The London Tooth Atlas was underpinned by the need to estimate the ages of victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami using dental data.

It enables experts and students to see how teeth change between the ages of 30 weeks in utero to about 23 years.

Dr Sakher AlQahtani who works with Dr Liversidge at Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (part of Queen Mary), developed the London Tooth Atlas for his post-graduate research project.

"The interactive version enables people to better understand and see the differences in up to the age of 23," he said.

"It will be extremely useful for educating dental students, and assisting forensic odontology, disaster victim identification teams and archaeology, as well as in estimating the age of asylum seeking minors."

The software is available at www.atlas.dentistry.qmul.ac.uk and an app to support this will soon be available for downloading.

Professor of Anatomy and at the University of Dundee, Sue Black, said: "When working in a forensic environment, immediate access to information can be vital. The Tooth Atlas app will prove to be invaluable as a ready source of instant detail for the forensic odontologist, and forensic pathologist."

Professor Jules Kieser, Head of the Department of Oral Sciences at the University of Otago, said: "The Atlas has been a superb help to myself and my forensic odontology colleagues. Not only do we now use it routinely, but we used it to identify victims of the Christchurch earthquake. Importantly, if it were available as an app, it will clearly be more accessible. This is an exciting prospect that I support fully and enthusiastically!"

Explore further: Movie world fears for freedom of speech as N.Korea parody pulled

More information: To use the software, click on the following link: www.atlas.dentistry.qmul.ac.uk… dex.php?NOLOGIN=TRUE

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Forensics' evidence could be bruised

Apr 22, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Criminal cases where forensic experts determine the age of bruises on victims from photographs could be flawed, according to scientific research.

The teeth of cadavers reveal their identity

Jun 29, 2010

Researchers from the University of Granada, Spain, have shown that a person's dental patterns can be used as proof of their identity with the same degree of reliability as DNA testing, the method that forensic ...

Putting teeth into forensic science

May 19, 2010

In a large natural disaster, such as the Haitian earthquake earlier this year, or in an unsolved homicide case, knowing the birth date of an individual can guide forensic investigators to the correct identity ...

Recommended for you

Report: FBI's anthrax investigation was flawed

13 hours ago

The FBI used flawed scientific methods to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people and sickened 17 others, federal auditors said Friday in a report sure to fuel skepticism over the FBI's ...

Study reveals mature motorists worse at texting and driving

Dec 18, 2014

A Wayne State University interdisciplinary research team in the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has made a surprising discovery: older, more mature motorists—who typically are better drivers in ...

Napster co-founder to invest in allergy research

Dec 17, 2014

(AP)—Napster co-founder Sean Parker missed most of his final year in high school and has ended up in the emergency room countless times because of his deadly allergy to nuts, shellfish and other foods.

LA mayor plans 7,000 police body cameras in 2015

Dec 16, 2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti announced a plan Tuesday to equip 7,000 Los Angeles police officers with on-body cameras by next summer, making LA's police department the nation's largest law enforcement agency to move ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.