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Homo. 2003;54(2):162-9.

Forensic age diagnostics of living individuals in criminal proceedings.

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Institut für Rechtsmedizin, Universitätsklinikum Charité, 10115 Berlin.


Age estimations of living individuals are increasingly important in criminal matters. If doubts arise regarding the age of a person suspected of a criminal offense, forensic age estimation is prompted by the need to ascertain whether the person concerned has reached the age of criminal responsibility and whether general criminal law in force for older juveniles or adults is to be applied. According to the recommendations of the Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Forensische Altersdiagnostik (study group for forensic age diagnostics), age estimates in criminal proceedings should be based on the general physical examination, the X-ray examination of the hand and the odontological examination by a dentist, including dental status and orthopantomogram. In order to improve diagnostic reliability, these methods should always be used in combination, ensuring that each part is performed by forensically trained and experienced experts of the relevant disciplines. In order to demonstrate that the proband has reached the age of 21, an additional X-ray examination or CT scan of the clavicles is recommended. Future research projects should assess the variation for a combination of the above methods, quantify the impact of socio-economic status and ethnicity on the examined development systems and review the suitability of non-ionizing imaging methods of age estimation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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