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Forensic Sci Int. 2018 Feb;283:190-199. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.12.027. Epub 2017 Dec 21.

Some inconsistencies in Demirjian's method.

Author information

1
Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, University of Naples "Federico II"-5, Via Pansini, 80131 Naples, Italy; Department of Industrial Engineering, Division of Mechanics and Energetics, University of Naples "Federico II"-21, Via Claudio, 80125 Naples, Italy. Electronic address: quaremba@unina.it.
2
Department of Advanced Biomedical Sciences, University of Naples "Federico II"-5, Via Pansini, 80131 Naples, Italy.
3
Department of Odontostomatological and Maxillo-Facial Sciences, University of Naples "Federico II"-5, Via Pansini, 80131 Naples, Italy.

Abstract

Nowadays, given the massive migration movements toward and across EU countries, age assessment can be highly useful for estimating the real age of asylum seekers or in medico-legal assessments of age-disputed children charged with criminal acts. Demirjian et al.'s dental maturity score is currently a dental scoring system universally adopted for age assessment of unidentified children. Here we explore the biological compatibility of Demirjian's scores with respect to the estimation of certain chronological ages of forensic interest through an algorithm based on the theory of constrained graphs integrated with combinatory analysis. Rather than simply respect Demirjian's indications (direct method) on a sample of children, we followed a reverse procedure (indirect method) as follows: i. chronological age selection and identification of the corresponding maturity score (MS); ii. determination of all the possible combinations of dental maturity stages whose sum of the scores is equal to the MS under consideration; iii. checking for all such possible combinations the biological congruity of the state of maturity of each tooth compared to the chronological age initially chosen. By evidencing dental development inconsistencies, our mathematical approach explains why Demirjian's method typically overestimates age. Therefore, even if the method in question remains the recommended way to assess individual dental maturity, it should definitely be considered unsuitable for application in certain forensic scenarios, particularly as regards the most disputed age range 14-16 years.

KEYWORDS:

Age estimation; Age-disputed children; Demirjian’s method; Forensic anthropology; Legal medicine; Orthopantomography

PMID:
29310023
DOI:
10.1016/j.forsciint.2017.12.027
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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