Experiment Comparisons between Experimental Subjects

Comparisons of the reflectance signatures of the skin and tooth were made between Subjects #2 and #3. Additionally, a comparison of the reflectance signature of the tongue was made between Subjects #1 and #3. The reflectance signatures of the tissues of the human remains demonstrated high correlation between subjects, whereas the reflectance signatures comparing human remains to those of the feline demonstrated less correlation.

Based on the results of the experiments, we came to several conclusions. The experiments of this study were designed to determine if we could distinguish between tissue or organ types by using light reflectance signatures. Our preliminary study suggested that there are variations seen in reflectance signatures among organ types and that those signatures are similar when collected from the same organ of different subjects that represent various mummification methods.

Experiments also seemed to demonstrate that there is endoscopic light guide contamination when using the endoscope to guide the placement of the reflectance probe. When using these combined technologies, it is recommended that once placement is accomplished under endoscopic guidance, the endoscope light be turned off while reflectance measurements are made.

Early data from this preliminary study suggest that there is good reproducibility when reapplying the reflectance probe to the same organ or tissue. However, a larger sample size is needed to make this determination with a greater degree of confidence.

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Figure 4.41 Reflectance report showing nanometer peak and reflectance contour with radiographs documenting reflectance probe position incorporated.

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Figure 4.41 Reflectance report showing nanometer peak and reflectance contour with radiographs documenting reflectance probe position incorporated.

We also determined that the instrumentation is easy to apply in varied settings and is very portable. Reflectance technology may become a powerful tool along with videoen-doscopy (Beckett and Conlogue 2006) and radiography in the on-site nondestructive data collection arsenal.

Reporting is an important construct. Initially, this study was going to report the nanometer reading at peak reflectance for each organ or tissue analyzed. However, when the data were examined, it became apparent that the configuration of the reflectance curve was significant. We therefore recommend reporting percent reflectance peaks at specific nanometers, the contour of the reflectance data, and incorporate endoscopy and radiography images (Beckett and Conlogue 1998) to document probe position (Figure 4.41).

This research is still in its infancy. We see the need for future studies to further examine the reproducibility of data through controlled bench top studies using both randomly selected mummified remains as well as remains derived from controlled organ or tissue mummification methods. We need to collect more data in order to conduct statistical analysis and power (Beckett and Conlogue 2006) analysis by increasing the N within various mummification categories. A larger and more varied sample selection would allow examination of the analysis of variance among and between mummification types and tissue types. We need to expand the study to examine varied tissues in varied environments. A specific research question may be to determine the reflectance signature, if any, of desiccated blood. Additionally, examination of the near-infrared and infrared ranges (nm) for variance in tissue or organ reflectance signatures needs to be conducted.

As more research is conducted on light reflectance analysis, the VE will continue to complement these studies by playing a role in probe placement and guidance.

Figure 4.42 (See color insert following page 12.) Theoretical application of endoscope light used to assess relative flat bone densities.

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