Age estimation is one of the main tasks of forensic anthropology and odontology, both on the dead and the living. In living subjects, age estimation may be used to establish an individual's status as a minor in cases involving adoption, criminal responsibility, child pornography, and those seeking asylum, especially where adequate identification documents are lacking. The Authors report a case about age assessment of a girl born in Mbujimayi (Democratic Republic of Congo) and later adopted in Italy. The birth certificate issued after finding the child in a state of abandonment (in December 2007), bore date of 12.12.2004, but this was in contrast with the year of birth - 2003 - stated on the certification available to the center that had provided accommodation to the girl in Africa. Her adoptive parents reported that the child had been diagnosed with precocious puberty and was thus under treatment. She weighed 32.5 kg and was 132.5 cm tall. Basing on height and weight, body mass index (BMI) corresponded to the range between 9.5 and 14 years of age. The assessment of maturity indicators (sexual characteristics) placed the child at the lower limits of Stage II of Tanner's classification (sparse growth of long, slightly darkened, downy straight pubic hair; elevation of the breast and nipple as a small mound with increased diameter of the areolae). The skeletal age was determined by taking X-Rays of the hand and wrist using Fels, TW2 (Tanner-Whitehouse) and Greulich and Pyle methods. Dental growth was assessed through orthopantomogram using Demirjian's technique. The methods applied were adjusted considering the studies on African population found in the literature, and a skeletal and dental age of 10 years was established. Afterwards, the wrist X-Rays performed at the Children's Hospital of Bari, 7 months before our investigation, revealed a skeletal age of 7 years. This evidence showed that, despite the treatment the child had promptly initiated, early puberty had influenced the skeletal growth with an acceleration of about 2 years. Therefore, the age we detected (10 years) was the result of precocious puberty. Then, we backdated the girl's birth (by about 2 years, based on current studies), stating that she was about 8 at the time of our investigation. This case is significant both for the racial differences that need to be considered in age assessment, and for the importance of any pathology (growth disorders) that may affect physiological development and make the applied methods poorly reliable.
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|Titolo:||Age estimation in an adopted girl with precocious puberty|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.2 Abstract in Atti di convegno|