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Abrasions and its types

Abrasions (gravel rashes) is a destruction of the skin, which usually involves the superficial layers of the epidermis only. Thickness of skin is 1.6 mm. They are caused by friction against a rough surface or by compression, such as a lateral rubbing action by a blow, a fall on a …

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Mechanical injury and its factors

Mechanical injury – An injury is any harm, whatever illegally caused to any person in body, mind, reputation or property (Sec. 44, I.P.C.). A wound or injury is a break of the natural continuity of any of the tissues of the living body. Mechanical injury (wounds) are injuries produced by physical …

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Postmortem changes or Forensic traphonomy

Postmortem changes or Forensic traphonomy is the interdisciplinary study and interpretation of postmortem processes of human remains in the dispositional context, i.e., the history of a body following death. A knowledge of the signs of death help to differentiate death from suspended animation. The changes which take place may be …

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Estimation of post mortem interval

Post Mortem interval – The interval between death, and the time of examination of a body is known as post mortem interval. This is important (1) to know when the crime was committed, (2) it gives the police a starting point for their inquiries, and allows them to deal more …

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Embalming a body

Embalming a body Emblaming is the treatment of the dead body with antiseptics and preservatives to prevent putrefaction. By this process proteins are coagulated, tissues are fixed, organs are bleached and hardened and blood is converted into a brownish mass. Embalming produces a chemical stiffening similar to rigor mortis, and …

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Mummification

Mummification is a modification of putrefaction. Dehydration or drying and shriveling of the cadaver occurs from the evaporation of water, but the natural appearances and features of the body are preserved. It begins in the exposed parts like face, hands and feet and then extends to the entire body including …

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Adipocere or Saponification

Adipocere (cire=wax) is a modification of putrefaction. In this, the fatty tissues of the body change into a substance known as adipocere. It is seen most commonly in bodies immersed in water or in damp, warm environment. Mechanism: The change is due to the gradual hydrolysis and hydrogenation of pre-existing …

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Decomposition of human body

Decomposition of human body involves two processes : autolysis and putrefaction. Autolysis Autolysis is Self-digestion of tissues. Soon after death, cell membranes become permeable and breakdown, with release of cytoplasm containing enzymes. Lysosomes and their digestive enzymes (mainly hydrolases) are released from the cells. The proteolytic, glycolytic and lipolytic action …

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Postmortem Hypostasis

Postmortem Hypostasis – It is usually of two kinds of coloration, that is, This is the bluish-purple or purplish-red (due to deoxyhaemoglobin) discolouration, which appears under the skin in the most superficial layers of the dermis (rete mucosum) of the dependent parts of the body after death, due to capillo-venous …

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Rigor Mortis

Rigor mortis, also known as death stiffening or cadaveric rigidity, is a state of stiffening of muscles, sometimes with slight shortening of the fibers. Individual cell death takes place in this stage. Mechanism of Rigor Mortis Rigor mortis is a physico-chemical change that occurs within muscles. A voluntary muscle consists …

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Finding the cause of death

Finding the Cause of death – The cause of death is the disease or injury responsible for starting the sequence of events, which are brief or prolonged and which produce death. It may be divided into: IMMEDIATE CAUSE, i.e., at the time of terminal event, e.g., bronchopneumonia, peritonitis, trauma, etc. …

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Sudden death

Sudden death – Death is said to be sudden or unexpected when a person not known to have been suffering from any dangerous disease, injury or poisoning is found dead or dies within 24 hours after the onset of terminal illness (WHO). Some authors limit sudden death as those occurring instantaneously …

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Modes of death – Asphyxia, Coma and Syncope

MODES OF DEATH: According to Bichat, there are three modes of death, depending on whether death begins in one or other of the three systems, irrespective of what the remote causes of death may be. These modes are: Asphyxia, Coma and Syncope. Anoxia According to Gordon (1944) the stoppage of …

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Thanatology – Death and its causes

Thanatology deals with death in all its aspects. There is a progression from clinical death to brain death, biological death and then cellular death. Brain death follows immediately clinical death due to lack of oxygen. First the cerebral cortex, then cerebellum and then lower brain centers die. Ultimately the brain …

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Post mortem examination of mutilated bodies

Mutilated bodies are those which are extensively disfigured, or in which a limb or a part is lost but the soft tissues, muscles and skin are attached to the bones. Sometimes, only a part of the body, such as head, trunk or a limb may be found. (1) Human or …

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