Kantonsspital St.Gallen

Similarity analysis of spectra obtained via reflectance spectrometry in legal medicine

Liudmila Belenki, Vera Sterzik & Michael Bohnert

abstract In the present study, a series of reflectance spectra of postmortem lividity, pallor, and putrefaction-affected skin for 195 investigated cases in the course of cooling down the corpse has been collected. The reflectance spectrometric measurements were stored together with their respective metadata in a MySQL database. The latter has been managed via a scientific information repository. We propose similarity measures and a criterion of similarity that capture similar spectra recorded at corpse skin. We systematically clustered reflectance spectra from the database as well as their metadata, such as case number, age, sex, skin temperature, duration of cooling, and postmortem time, with respect to the given criterion of similarity. Altogether, more than 500 reflectance spectra have been pairwisely compared. The measures that have been used to compare a pair of reflectance curve samples include the Euclidean distance between curves and the Euclidean distance between derivatives of the functions represented by the reflectance curves at the same wavelengths in the spectral range of visible light between 380 and 750 nm. For each case, using the recorded reflectance curves and the similarity criterion, the postmortem time interval during which a characteristic change in the shape of reflectance spectrum takes place is estimated. The latter is carried out via a software package composed of Java, Python, and MatLab scripts that query the MySQL database. We show that in legal medicine, matching and clustering of reflectance curves obtained by means of reflectance spectrometry with respect to a given criterion of similarity can be used to estimate the postmortem interval.
citation Belenki L, Sterzik V, Bohnert M. Similarity analysis of spectra obtained via reflectance spectrometry in legal medicine. J Lab Autom 2013; 19:110-8.
type journal paper/review (English)
date of publishing 29-07-2013
journal title J Lab Autom (19/1)
ISSN electronic 2211-0682
pages 110-8
PubMed 23897013
DOI 10.1177/2211068213496089