Navigation Links
Bitemark evidence and analysis should be approached with caution, according to UB study
Date:9/16/2009

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Against the backdrop of last week's Congressional hearing into the future of forensic science, researchers from the University at Buffalo's Laboratory for Forensic Odontology Research in the School of Dental Medicine, have published a landmark paper on the controversial topic of bitemark analysis.

The Congressional hearing focused on the findings of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report on the scientific basis of forensic disciplines. Among the pattern evidence fields (fingerprints, tool marks, etc.) that were reviewed in the NAS report, bitemark analysis received critical commentary. During the hearing, Innocence Project co-founder Peter Neufeld introduced Roy Brown, wrongfully convicted on bitemark evidence and later exonerated through DNA analysis.

In anticipation of the NAS report, the new UB study published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences challenges the commonly held belief that every bitemark can be perpetrator identified.

"Bitemark identification is not as reliable as DNA identification," explains the study's lead author Raymond G. Miller, D.D.S., UB clinical associate professor of oral diagnostic sciences.

"With DNA, the probability of an individual not matching another can be calculated," he says. "In bitemark analysis, there have been few studies that looked at how many people's teeth could have made the bite."

Miller's co-authors include UB's Peter J. Bush; Robert Dorion, D.D.S., DABFO, UB adjunct professor of oral diagnostic sciences; and Mary A. Bush, D.D.S., UB assistant professor of restorative dentistry. Dorion is the editor of the only comprehensive textbook on the subject of bitemarks in forensic science, Bitemark Evidence: A Color Atlas and Text, and is currently the odontology section representative to the board of directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.

The current study investigated three main questions: is it possible to determine biter identity among people with similarly aligned teeth; is it possible to determine how many individuals from a larger sample might also be considered as the biter; and, if there is bite pattern distortion, is it enough to rule out a specific biter while still including a non-biter?

To answer these questions, the researchers gathered 100 stone dental models (replicas of the dentition), which were measured and divided into 10 groups based upon the misalignment patterns of the teeth. After randomly selecting one model from each of the 10 groups, the researchers impressed bitemarks on cadaver skin. After the bitemarks were created, they were then photographed and the indentations were compared to the dentitions using overlays created with photographic software.

The authors are one of the first to use a human skin model rather than animal models or non-elastic biting substrate, such as wax or Styrofoam. Current human subject restrictions limit experimentation on living subjects.

"Living bitten tissue may bleed or bruise," explains Miller. "The initial bitemark indentations rebound shortly after infliction often leaving a diffuse bruising that may be difficult to measure accurately. The indentations produced in our study represented the best conditions for measurement."

The results indicated that when dental alignments were similar, it was difficult to distinguish which set of teeth made the bites. Distortion noted in the bitemarks allowed matches even from different alignment groups. Therefore, the researchers concluded that bitemarks should be very carefully evaluated in criminal investigations where perpetrator identity is the focus of a case.

As Miller notes, "In the past 10 years, the number of court cases involving bitemark evidence that have been overturned led us to question the reasons for the erroneous bitemark identification. It's important to recognize the serious consequences of a misidentification for the accused, the victim, the families involved, the justice system and the possibility that the perpetrator is still at large."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sara Saldi
saldi@buffalo.edu
716-645-4539
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Jefferson researchers uncover new evidence of prolactins possible role in breast cancer
2. No strong evidence linking amateur boxing with long-term brain injury
3. AHRQ Announces Next Phase of Its Evidence-Based Practice Center Program
4. Vanderbilt Medical Center chosen as Evidence-based Practice Center
5. Little Evidence Silicone Breast Implants Harm Health
6. Consumers Should Demand Evidence, Not Guesswork, On Meat-Cancer Links
7. U of M study: Medicare lacks tools, incentives to enforce evidence-based coverage policies
8. New Study Provides Scientific Evidence That DermaLastyl Face Cream Reduces Wrinkles
9. Scientific evidence of the significant anti-cancer effect of milk thistle
10. Defining the Value of Medicine in an Evidence-Based Healthcare Marketplace
11. UC Davis researchers find evidence of mature heart cell potential in embryonic stem cells
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... Pregnancy Awareness Month offers a great time ... , “If you are ready to have a baby, it’s best to get ... Journal Babies is your Personal Conception & Pregnancy Organizer, written for women who plan ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... Consultative health ... and GM Jim Callandrillo and Duane Reed, VP of business development of AJMC ... Intelligence and Research Group (PBIRG) General Meeting from May 15-17 at the ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... For many ... performance artist Curt Walter has developed it into a science. , Using the ... Walter achieve subtly differentiated shades that add depth and meaning to his works. What’s ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... today announced the opening of Twin Lakes Recovery Center. Located east of ... in the state. The residential facility is set on 34 acres of ...
(Date:5/1/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... 1968 Jimi Hendrix Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland concert posters. Dail Beeghley ... The concert was held on August 16. According to Hawley, “The Pavilion was ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... 2, 2016  While nearly three-quarters of Americans (71%) ... on their health, only about half report taking any ... results of a new survey announced today by Hologic ... of National Osteoporosis Month, Hologic is raising awareness of ... 56 million Americans. Osteoporosis is a disease ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... , April 29, 2016  In the ... projected to shift from systems dependent on CRTs monitors ... types of modality CRT Medical monitors and will ... are a host of foreseeable benefits to this ... will existing modalities have to be replaced in ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... April 29, 2016 ... Financier Sanofi, leader mondial ... ses résultats pour le premier trimestre ... Jérôme Contamine, commente les résultats du ... perspectives pour le reste de l,année. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: