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WIREs Forensic Sci

Forensic age estimation in migrants: Where do we stand?

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Abstract Many countries have to respond to an influx of an increased number of refugees and asylum seekers, whose management depends on if they are minors. The age estimation, including forensic opinion, is complex and has serious implications. Several guidelines were published, in particular by The Study Group on Forensic Age Diagnostics of the German Association of Forensic Medicine (Schmeling et al., 2008, 2016). Forensic age estimation must contain, at first, an investigation into the medical history of the individual, to identify diseases or treatments that could interfere with growth. The skeletal development is, along with the dental development, the most important criterion for this estimation. For the skeleton, we use the comparison of hand and wrist radiographs with the atlas of Greulich and Pyle (Greulich, 1959), and the Schmeling's method (Kellinghaus et al., 2010) with a CT‐scan of the medial extremity of the clavicle, defining stages, and substages of ossification according to Kellinghaus et al. Dental imaging allows an evaluation of the stage of development of the crown and root, using Demirjian's stages (Demirjian et al., 1973). These methods are minimally irradiating, which is essential as they are used for a nonmedical goal. We know that, even using multiple methods, it is impossible to define a precise age, due to variability among the individuals and their respective origins. The results have to be expressed as minimum age, and the mean age with standard deviations. The majority and the claimed age have to be addressed. It is necessary to have a multidisciplinary evaluation carried out by qualified individuals. This article is categorized under: Forensic Anthropology > Age Assessment

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Forensic Anthropology > Age Assessment

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