medical forensics

Saponification is the process of the human body partly or completely turning to soap. The fatty tissue and the liquid from putrefaction gradually form into adipocere, which is also known as grave wax. This process can happen to emabalmed and non-embalmed bodies. It is most common with those who are overweight. The photograph above is of “The Soap Lady” who is housed at the Mutter Museum. She is entirely composed of grave wax.

The thin black-blue line visible along the margin of the gums, at the base of the teeth,known as Burton’s line, indicates lead poisoning and occurs due to deposition of lead sulfide, the result of a reaction between sulfur produced by oral flora and lead. It is caused by a reaction between circulating lead with sulphur ions released by oral bacterial activity, which deposits lead sulphide at the junction of the teeth and gums, resulting in a Burton’s line.

makamu-a-tumbling  asked:

So, here is my follow-up question on your help with the PSTD: the world the character lives in is an alternate version of the late 19th and early to mid 20th centuries. I know that psychology was in its infancy as a discipline then, so I am wondering if he could get therapy for it then. For plot reasons, my MC is himself interested in forensic psychology (and psychoanalysis- yes, I know...), so I am also wondering whether he'd be able to recognise that there is something wrong with him himself?T

The Shrink was able to clarify that this story takes place in 1920′s Munich and Vienna, which is definitely an interesting time period in the history of psychology! Freudian psychoanalysis was in full swing at that point, and those cities were definitely hotspots for the newly developing field of psychotherapy. So it’s very possible to have your character seeing one of those early therapists.

PTSD as a diagnosis was not recognized until 1978, when it was included in the DSM-III, so you won’t be able to use that term. However, there were certain things back in that era that could be seen as proto-PTSD diagnoses.

These include:

Soldier’s heart / Irritable heart / Da Costa’s syndrome (1862) - It’s unclear, but it’s possible that this was used as an attempt to explain why soldiers returning from the American civil war weren’t the same. However, it was thought to be a physiological heart condition, not a mental disorder.

Railway spine (1867) - specifically referring to the symptoms that passengers in railway accidents developed. However, this diagnosis was controversial, with many thinking it was a result of neurological damage, others saying it was just another form of hysteria.

Shell shock (1915) - this term only arose in WWI, and was thought to be a result of brain damage suffered as reaction to artillery shells going off nearby. It took some time for people to realize that there was a psychological, not physical, component. 

All of these were thought to be medical conditions, not mental illnesses - so keep that in mind when writing how your character ends up in treatment. Your character was likely referred to a psychoanalyst after medical doctors could find nothing ‘wrong’ with them.

Whether or not your character could get into “forensic psychology” depends on how you define the term - it’s a pretty broad subject. There were some scattered studies related to legal settings (eye witness testimony, development of the polygraph) in the time frame you’re talking about, but generally psychologists were not taken seriously by the American court system until the 1960s (I’m not sure about other countries).

As for recognizing there’s something wrong with themselves…that’s up to your character. Honestly, it’s pretty likely that they’d realize something is wrong with themselves, but your character may or may not realize that it’s related to their trauma.

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cosmofex  asked:

There's something i've been curious about: How do you come up with the magic-scientific terminology? Because I have previously looked up "claudication" and it turns out it's a medical term for leg cramps which, unless i'm missing steps in the logic chain, doesn't lead to "worldgate" easily. Is it just what sounds nice and sciency or is it based on actual terminology? (also confusing is online dictionaries "use in a sentence" using YW quotes, which don't match meanings, so it's not super helpful)

I really have to find a little time in the next little while to get the new installation of the Errantry Concordance kickstarted. (The old one had to be removed because it was constantly under attack by hackbots of various kinds trying to use it to house links to counterfeit Viagra.) (sigh)

Anyway: Most wizardly terminology in the YW universe is derived either from (broadly) scientific terminology or (more narrowly) medical terminology twisted slightly out of shape and/or subverted to my own purposes. Almost all terms are derived from Latin or Greek roots and assembled in ways consistent with the ways in which scientific terms are formed. (I took Latin in high school because I knew it to be a primary language of science and felt sure I’d be wanting it in college. The Greek came along with that more as a gateway into the ancient classics than anything else, but it too gets used routinely in scientific terminology.) I prefer to use genuine scientific concepts and terms to generate wizardly ones, because (a) I enjoy it and (b) I am lazy. Why waste time and energy making terms up when so many real ones are  lying around just waiting to be used? …But also: wizardly terms constructed using valid scientific usage sound more real. And the more truth you add to a lie, the stronger it gets. :)

Re claudication: The word goes back, originally, to the Latin claudo- root that means to shut or block something up. It also later came to mean a limp or lameness secondary to what was seen in ancient times as a blockage of local blood supply. This is also where the Emperor Claudius got his common appellation, by the way: Claudius is a second name, almost more a nickname than anything else – and too easily translatable as “Gimpy”. He limped from childhood, secondary to a dystonic / movement disorder from which he suffered his whole life and which caused some members of his family (and the public in general) to think of him, and treat him, as if he was mentally deficient – which he definitely was not. (The forensic medical people are still arguing over what was responsible for this disorder: possibly cerebral palsy or a childhood neurological insult via something like infectious encephalitis. See this article for what look like the best conjectures so far.)

…Whatever: where were we? When I was studying nursing, the term claudication was in general use to describe a narrowing or constriction of blood vessels (up to the point of obstruction, anyway, at which point other terminology cuts in). So when I started thinking about the concept of giving wizards a little portable pocket in spacetime, the word “claudication” naturally suggested itself, and “temporospatial” seemed an unavoidable add-on.

Therefore the entry in the Concordance defines claudication as:

A pinching or obstruction in some structure or medium through which another medium is normally meant to pass or flow freely. In wizardly usage, a constriction – normally artificial, but occasionally natural – in the structure of space, or (in the case of temporospatial claudications) of spacetime.

The most frequent casual usage for the term describes a small, “pinched-off” volume of space. Since space is already amenable to this kind of pinching (a much gentler version of which manifests itself as gravity), many wizards use one of these to keep personal belongings in. A claudication can be “hooked to” or associated with a specific mass – usually the wizard’s own body – so that it permanently follows the wizard around and is always within reach.

The definition for temporospatial claudication is a bit more specific:

Any pinching or constriction that affects both a volume of space and a segment of time or timeflow. Usually a temporospatial claudication is artificially induced, but there are occasional incidences of the effect in nature. (Black holes, for example, can sometimes have temporospatial claudications associated with them.)

The term is also used to describe a small pinched-off volume of spacetime kept for wizardly purposes. (SYWTBAW, et al)

So there you have it. Thanks for asking!


Here’s a grand masterlist of crime-related resources. This list is organized into categories, so it is recommended that you take advantage of the CTRL+F function on your keyboard. Let me know if something is amiss, if you have a crime-related post and want it added to this list, or if you want a category added.

WARNING: Links under the cut are not labeled with trigger warnings for images, titles, or mentions of triggering subjects. Please be careful.

This will be updated every time I hoard more links. Last Update: 4/02/15.

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genderfluidjay  asked:

I was scrolling through your blog and saw someone asking about MEs. As a future ME who just saw their first autopsy!!!! and the child of a physician so around biology since birth I can answer any questions about that kind of thing if anyone wants and either they want a faster response cause I'm sure y'all r swamped or just don't know if u can answer

Hey @genderfluidjay

Thank you for the awesome offer!! You probably will know a lot about the nitty gritty of the practise and procedure, and just how the place is actually run.

With cerebral fat embolism syndrome, there is loss of consciousness. Note the multitude of petechial hemorrhages (red and pinkish specks) here, mostly within the white matter. Cerebral edema and herniation may follow. Overall, few persons with a history of trauma will develop fat embolism, but it is difficult to predict which patients will. Protean manifestations include: hypoxemia, mental status changes, petechiae, fever, tachycardia, and thrombocytopenia.