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The Impact of Freezing on Bone Mineral Density: Implications for Forensic Research

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It is common for researchers using animal or human remains for scientific study to freeze samples prior to use. However, effects of freezing on bone macro‐ or microstructure are relatively unknown. The research objective of this study was to determine whether freezing could potentially bias experimental results by analyzing changes in bone mineral density (BMD) with the freezing of remains over time. Eight fetal pigs were scanned to determine their initial BMD before freezing. Three piglets underwent a freeze‐thaw cycle to assess the effects of the freezing process. Four piglets were frozen and scanned weekly for 20 weeks to assess freezing over time. The overall average between the fresh initial scan and final frozen scan was significantly different (p < 0.001). Per contra, the final thawed BMD scans did not differ from the initial fresh scan (p = 0.418). Thus, completely thawed remains are recommended for experimental studies.
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Keywords: bone mineral density; experimental studies; forensic anthropology; forensic science; freezing; longitudinal analysis

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2017

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