Study Gathers Data on Blunt Cranial Trauma

June 22, 2021 — A group of researchers from Michigan State University recently worked to compile the results of impact experiments on adult cadaver head specimens. The effort follows a push across the forensic community to generate data with known error rates.

Until now, most information available on adult deaths involving blunt force cranial trauma involved case studies, not controlled experiments. "The purpose of this research was to ... provide forensic death investigation experts, including pathologists and anthropologists, with the necessary data to accurately interpret blunt cranial trauma," wrote the authors.

For the project, researchers obtained 39 isolated, fresh human cadaver heads and exposed them to varying levels of impacts, including strikes simulating a hammer, brick, and baseball bat. In addition to cranial impact experiments, the study looked at the effects of impact on the mandible using strikes that simulated a clenched fist.

"This unique dataset provides a valuable resource for comparing unknown trauma encountered in forensic cases to known trauma generated through scientific experiments, thereby enabling death investigators to more effectively interpret blunt force cranial and mandibular fracture patterns," wrote the authors.

The full paper can be found here.

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