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Investigation of the Impact of Body Temperature and Post-Mortem Interval on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of Unfixed Tissue

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2017
11 pages

This is the Research Summary Overview of the findings and methodology of a study of temperature-dependent and postmortem changes in the Magnetic Resonance (MR) imaging characteristics of normal mammalian tissue in a thorough and systematic way, with the long-term goal of optimizing postmortem Magnetic Resonance (PMMR) protocols for future use in forensic investigations.


The successful completion of this basic research project supports the continuing development of advanced imaging methods for medicolegal death investigation. PMMR non-invasively provided soft tissue information that is not available by x-ray or CT. The full realization of PMMR in forensic investigation may lead to more reliable diagnoses of soft tissue injuries or pathology. The current findings on temperature-dependence and PMI-dependence of fundamental parameters are the basis for new studies with the goals of validating this project's image optimization procedures in human decedents, applying PMMR to forensic cases, and comparing PMMR findings with those of PMCT and standard autopsy. The current study of the effect of postmortem changes on MR image parameters may lead to new methods for estimating body temperature and/or postmortem interval. The New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator is now including an optimized T1-weighted brain imaging protocol in the examinations of human decedents receiving PMMR.

Date Published: September 1, 2017