Exciting research developments in determining time of death

Posted on | Posted in Blog


Time and pigs


A new method for determining the precise time a person died has been developed by researchers.

The new test will be able to establish an exact time of death even after as long as 10 days.

At present, time of death is worked out by measuring core body temperature, which only works for up to three days after the person has died.

An Austrian team has worked to measure the breakdown of muscle proteins and enzymes in dead pigs.

As pig muscles are akin to human muscles, the results advocate the method can be practised in forensics to estimate the time of death for humans also. Protein blocks that make up our muscles are large, tangled molecules that break down smaller after we die.

The researchers then observed how muscle proteins and enzymes break down and deteriorate in pigs. Proteins show different signals of deterioration at definitive times after death.

The researchers established that some proteins did not show any sign of deterioration until after 10 days.
By knowing which products of breakdown are existent in samples, researchers are able to work out the time since death.

Experiments on human samples have begun by the researchers and they say their initial results are promising.

This new method developed is simple and effective and can deliver results within a day.

Research is an essential part of Forensic Science.


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