Healthy 33-year-old real estate agent who complained of a three day headache DIES of viral meningitis

Daily Mail Australia Sarah Dean

A healthy 33-year-old real estate agent with three young children has died of viral meningitis after complaining of a headache for three days.
Top realtor Michael Calder, who has been described as an active adventure lover, was diagnosed with the virus by a doctor and died in hospital on July 11.

MERS coronavirus: animal source or deliberate release?

The Conversation Raina MacIntyre 25 July 2014

The Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS Co-V) emerged in 2012 and has caused ongoing illness in the Middle East and more than 280 deaths.
The public health response to MERS-CoV has been modelled on SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome), a related virus which caused a pandemic more than ten years ago.
But the features of MERS-Cov are very different, as I outline in a new study, published today in the journal Environment Systems and Decisions.

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Link to journal article in Environment Systems and Decisions

William Gerard Johnson found guilty of murdering Mark Lyle Hutton

Herald Sun Tony Keim The Courier-Mail July 25, 2014

A THIRD man in a love triangle has been jailed for life for murdering his romantic rival when his affections were spurned by his paramour.
A Brisbane Supreme Court jury deliberated almost two days before finding William Gerard Johnson guilty of slaying Mark Lyle Hutton by stabbing him in the heart at an up-market Brisbane residence shortly after 3am on September 26, 2010.

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Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology July 2014

Please click on titles below and follow the links to the full-text articles if required:

A minimum data set approach to post-mortem computed tomography reporting for anthropological biological profiling
Anthropological examination of bones is routinely undertaken in medico-legal investigations to establish an individual’s biological profile, particularly their age. This often requires the removal of soft tissue from bone (de-fleshing), which, especially when dealing with the recently deceased, is a time consuming and invasive procedure. Recent advances in multi-detector computed tomography have made it practical to rapidly acquire high-resolution morphological skeletal information from images of “fleshed” remains. The aim of this study was to develop a short standard form, created from post-mortem computed tomography images, that contains the minimum image-set required to anthropologically assess an individual. The proposed standard forms were created for 31 juvenile forensic cases with known age-at-death, spanning the full age range of the developing human. Five observers independently used this form to estimate age-at-death. All observers estimated age in all cases, and all estimations were within the accepted ranges for traditional anthropological and odontological assessment. This study supports the implementation of this approach in forensic radiological practice.

Radiological analysis of hand and foot injuries after small aircraft crashes
Medico-legal investigation of fatal aviation accidents should contribute to the reconstruction of the accident in addition to providing the usual information about cause and manner of death. In cases with more than one fatality, the question of who was flying the plane at the time of the crash may need to be answered. In such cases the identification of “control injuries” plays an important role. This study aims to investigate whether specific patterns of skeletal hand and foot injuries could assist in the identification of the pilot. The analysis of radiological investigations of hands and feet of 27 fatalities from 18 accidents showed that foot injuries are more frequent than hand injuries in pilots and passengers, dislocations of feet were more frequent in passengers, and right-sided injuries were more frequent in pilots. Injuries of the distal parts of the hand were slightly more frequent in the pilot group. The limited numbers in the study do not allow definitive conclusions and further investigations are needed. However, the study yields interesting results and shows that radiological examination should be included in the medico-legal air crash investigation.



Elements of a forensic intelligence model

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 18 Jul 2014

Intelligence began as a military tool and has been in practice for centuries. Relatively speaking, forensic intelligence is in its infancy as the focus of forensic science has traditionally been the courts and the resolution of crime. The focus for forensic intelligence is crime prevention, crime disruption and a reduced fear of crime and there is an emphasis on quick results. The usual chronic backlogs that haunt forensic science prevent quick results and so the default position is courts and crime resolution. However, in a number of jurisdictions in Australia, the introduction of at-scene or on-submission triaging and the digital capture, transmission and comparison of fingerprints is leading to a marked reduction in turnaround times for forensic science results; particularly those that are effective sources of intelligence. Aspects of forensic science service delivery such as organisational structure and culture, IT capability, the relationship between police and scientists and interim reporting need to be re-considered as key elements in a forensic intelligence model. However, forensic intelligence should not stand on its own. It should become an integral part of the overall investigative tool and intelligence-led strategies.

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Comparative study of STR loci for typing old skeletal remains with modified protocols of AmpFlSTR Identifiler and AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR Kits

Australian Journal of  Forensic Sciences 27 Jun 2014

This study highlights a comparative study of short tandem repeat (STR) loci with modified protocols of AmpFlSTR Identifiler and AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR Kits for typing 27 old skeletal remains collected from 100–1000-year-old mass graves in Pakistan. DNA profiles were obtained from minute quantities of DNA (even from ≤ 10 pg/μL) with modified protocols of these kits, which is a significant achievement in this study. Consensus profiles were produced for each bone sample. A comparison was carried out between Identifiler and Minifiler successfully genotyped STR loci. Full concordance was perceived in 97.33% (146/150) of the compared STR loci, while discordant STR loci were 2.67% (4/150) of the total successfully genotyped STR loci due to either or both allele drop-out or drop-in. Finally, it was observed that the AmpFlSTR MiniFiler kit promoted the recovery of locus/alleles that failed to type with the AmpFlSTR Identifiler kit and more informative DNA profiles were obtained from old skeletal remains with the AmpFlSTR MiniFiler STR kit compared with the AmpFlSTR Identifiler STR kit.

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A novel approach to forensic molecular biology education and training: it’s impact on the criminal justice system

Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences 03 Jul 2014

The managers of crime laboratories face significant hurdles when preparing new hires to become productive members of the laboratory. New hires require six months of training/experience in the crime laboratory before becoming a productive member of the Biology (DNA) section. To address this deficiency in forensic DNA education, a novel forensic education curriculum was developed and tested for three consecutive years in the forensic science program at Fayetteville State University, Fayetteville, NC. The curriculum used a CTS proficiency kit, which is the same kit used to validate the proficiency of forensic scientists in crime laboratories in the US. A cost benefit analysis suggests that training students in a classroom instead of in a crime laboratory provides both direct savings to the laboratory and significant societal savings as more DNA profiles are entered into the database. The societal benefit from the combined reduction in the amount of training in a crime laboratory and increasing the number of DNA database profiles entered into a database suggests a societal saving of $8.28 million for each of these months of reduced training.

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