Deciphering the elusive nature of sharp bone trauma using epifluorescence macroscopy: a comparison study multiplexing classical imaging approaches
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- Capuani, C., Rouquette, J., Payré, B. et al. Int J Legal Med (2013) 127: 169. doi:10.1007/s00414-012-0678-6
Characterization of sharp-force trauma on human bones can be extremely useful in providing information regarding the nature and context of death. Nevertheless, in the identification of weapons used to cause sharp-force trauma and analysis of bone wounds, challenging tasks still remain. Current analysis attempting to dissect bone wound characteristics varied quite a lot and mixed different criteria, thus leading sometimes to conflicting results. In this context, the aim of our study is to clarify qualitative aspects of cut marks induced by sharp weapons on human bones. For that purpose, we analyzed bone samples via an original approach based on bone autofluorescence with an epifluorescence macroscope and compared it to previous existing methods. In this study, we used bone sections from human clavicles on which three different kinds of lesions were manually implemented, using different weapons. The bone wounds were analyzed by three different methodologies, light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and micro-computed tomography, and were compared with epifluorescence macroscopy. We paid attention more significantly to the aspect of walls and floor of the kerf, so as to conclude on the nature and distinguish between weapons used. Among all technologies used in this study, the most precise and efficient methods were epifluorescence macroscopy and SEM. Nonetheless, epifluorescence macroscopy is faster, cheaper, and more accessible than SEM. More significantly, this technique, which has the potential to accurately document the nature of the damage, is nondestructive, and could thus be highly useful in forensic science as anthropology.