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Bone Mineral Density Adult Age Estimation in Forensic Anthropology: A Test of the DXAGE Application

NCJ Number
Date Published
4 pages
This study tested the utility of DXAGE, an online application for calculating age at death from bone mineral density (BMD) by utilizing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Estimating age at death of individuals represented only by skeletonized human remains is a fundamental aspect of forensic anthropological casework. Recently, several researchers have proposed that bone mineral density (BMD ) is a useful predictor of age at death in forensic contexts. Navega et al. (JFS 63(2):497-503) developed an online application called DXAGE for calculating age at death from BMD parameters. BMD data from a female subsample (n - 470) of the NHANES 2007-2008 dataset were analyzed, and the relationship between predicted age and real age was examined. Inaccuracy was 14.25 years, and bias was 7.20 years. Results show that there is a weak correlation between predicted and actual age (r - 0.47) using the DXAGE application. Although BMD data are potentially useful for predicting age at death, the DXAGE application should be used cautiously in forensic anthropological contexts. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019