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An Evaluation of Statistical Methods for the Determination of Age of Death Using Dental Root Translucency and Periodontosis

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Lamendin and colleagues (1992) proposed to assess age-at-death from root translucency and periodontosis. Several teeth from the same individual were included in their study. In our work, we evaluate the reliability of their formulas without introducing this bias. Our sample was constituted of 214 individuals (114 males and 100 women) selected from the Terry collection (U.S.A.). The R2 between age and both indicators is equal to 0.33 and 0.08 (p < 0.001). Based on linear regression, the mean of standard error for individual age prediction was equal to 13.67 years, and the mean interval length is equal to 53.89 years. Multinomial logistic regression and Bayesian approach failed to give satisfactory results when classifying the individuals in age categories. Therefore, the use of root translucency and periodontosis may lead to incorrect age-at-death assessment, and it is thus necessary to complement this approach with other techniques to assess age-at-death.

Keywords: Bayes theorem; age-at-death; forensic science; periodontosis; regression; root translucency

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1556-4029.2010.01341.x

Affiliations: Service de Médecine Légale, CHU Lapeyronie, Avenue du Doyen Gaston Giraud, 34295 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.

Publication date: May 1, 2010

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