Friday, May 13, 2011

What's the Diagnosis May 13, 2011

What is the most common genetic mutation associated with this condition? (just trying to be a pain in the rear-end, like the FP boards, this is the type of question they'll ask, not what's the diagnosis of the slide)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The ID of Bin Laden

The forensic issues surrounding this case are numerous. Most important is identification. How do we know this is in fact Osama Bin Laden?

I doubt there will be an accurate visual ID, especially if he was struck in the head with a high velocity round from an automatic rifle. Also, one has to wonder if he may have altered his appearance in some way while living in such a populated area. Visual ID is presumptive and in a case like this, I doubt anyone would release news of this magnitude on a presumptive ID.

Presumptive ID's identify someone was a subset it does not as a unique individual. Presumptive ID's include scars, drivers licenses, passports and tattoos. Islam does not allow tattoos, so if Bin Laden has any scars, it may be helpful. But again, this is not a positive ID

A positive ID relies on unique characteristics attributed only to that individual. DNA, X-ray, dental and fingerprints result in a positive ID.

DNA has become a useful tool in forensic ID, but it takes time. If the raid occurred yesterday at 3:30 pm EST, and the news broke around 5 hours later, I doubt there was enough time to run a sample from the body. DNA will most likely be used to confirm whatever means was used for the ID.

Fingerprints are another excellent means if positive ID as everyone's fingerprints are unique, even among identical twins. The major problem with fingerprints is obtaining antemortem samples. Less than 20% of the US population has fingerprints on file. However, I bet the CIA has Bin Laden's fingerprints on file.

X-ray is also a possibility. I don't know if Bin Laden has any antemortem records on file, but if he does, X-ray can be quick and easy.

My money is on dental. From photographs, it looks like he has well kept dentition, and I would wager he has a dental record sitting on the desk of some CIA agent!

It is often best to use more than one method. Maybe the military used fingerprints and dental and will 100% confirm it with DNA.

Regardless of the methodology, they must have been pretty damn sure it was him before they buried his body at sea (at least I hope they were!).

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