Neuropathological examination in forensic context

Forensic Science International : Synergy
Hannu KalimoDavid Graham

Abstract

Different diseases of and trauma to the central nervous system (CNS), as well as their consequences are common causes of death and therefore it is important to examine the CNS appropriately in forensic autopsy, bearing in mind that the site of the disease is often as crucial as its nature. The CNS is a complex organ and its examination requires special methods and knowledge and often consultation with a neuropathologist. The prerequisite for the proper examination is correct handling and processing of the CNS. Because of its soft consistency fixation of the CNS in toto before detailed macroscopic analysis is recommended but guidance for an expedited limited examination is also given. The key features to which attention should be paid during the removal and later macroscopic examination of the CNS are described. Processing CNS for microscopy also requires special techniques and in addition to the routine stains both special histological and selected immunohistochemical stainings are often needed to reach the correct diagnosis.

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