Original paper

A New Method for the Automated Age-at-Death Evaluation by Tooth-Cementum Annulation (TCA)

Czermak, Andrea;Cermak, Adrian;Ernst, Hartmut;Grupe, Gisela

Abstract

A valid age at death estimation is required in historical and also forensic anthropology. Tooth cementum annulation(TCA)is a method for age at death estimation of adult individuals.The method is based on light microscope images taken from tooth-root cross sections. The age is then estimated by manually counting the cementum incremental lines and adding this to the chronological age at the assumed point of tooth eruption. Manual line counting, however, is time consuming, potentially subjective and the number of individual counts is insufficient for statistical evaluations. Software developed for the automated evaluation of TCA images, that uses Fourier analysis and algorithms for image analysis and pattern recognition is presented here. It involves"line-by-line"scanning and the counting of gray scale peaks within a selected region-of-interest(ROI). Each scanning process of a particular ROI yields up to 400 counts that are subsequently statistically evaluated. This simple and time saving program seeks to substitute manual counting and supply consistent and reproducible results as well as reduce the demand of human error by eliminating unavoidable factors such as subjectivity and fatigue

Keywords

Age-at-Death determinationincremental linestooth cementum annulation (TCA)automated line countingsoftware engineering