Publications by authors named "Russell Lain"

7 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

"Lest we forget": An overview of Australia's response to the recovery and identification of unrecovered historic military remains.

Forensic Sci Int 2021 Oct 4;328:111042. Epub 2021 Oct 4.

School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia; School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, United Kingdom.

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) is responsible for the recovery and identification of its historic casualties. With over 30,000 still unrecovered from past conflicts including World War One (WW1) and World War Two (WWII), the Australian Army and Royal Australian Air Force have teams that research, recover, identify and oversee the burial (or reburial) of the remains of soldiers and airmen who continue to be found each year. The Royal Australian Navy is also responsible for its unrecovered casualties. Collectively the priorities of the various services within the ADF are the respectful recovery and treatment of the dead, thorough forensic identification efforts, resolution for families and honouring the ADF's proud history of service and sacrifice. What is unique about the approach of the ADF is that the respective services retain responsibility for their historic losses, while a joint approach is taken on policies and in the utilisation of the pool of forensic specialists. Section One describes the process undertaken by the Australian Army in the recovery, identification and burial or repatriation of soldiers through its specialised unit Unrecovered War Casualties - Army (UWC-A). Section Two describes the role of the Royal Australian Air Force in the recovery of aircraft and service personnel through their specialised unit Historic Unrecovered War Casualties - Air Force (HUWC-AF). An overview of the operations of each service and case studies is presented for each section.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2021.111042DOI Listing
October 2021

Validation studies in forensic odontology - Part 1: Accuracy of radiographic matching.

Sci Justice 2018 May 7;58(3):185-190. Epub 2017 Nov 7.

School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle, Australia; Department of Forensic Medicine, New South Wales, Australia. Electronic address:

As part of a series of studies aimed at validating techniques in forensic odontology, this study aimed to validate the accuracy of ante-mortem (AM)/postmortem (PM) radiographic matching by dentists and forensic odontologists. This study used a web-based interface with 50 pairs of AM and PM radiographs from real casework, at varying degrees of difficulty. Participants were shown both radiographs as a pair and initially asked to decide if they represented the same individual using a yes/no binary choice forced-decision. Participants were asked to assess their level of confidence in their decision, and to make a conclusion using one of the ABFO (American Board of Forensic Odontology), INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organisation) and DVISys™ (DVI System International, Plass Data Software) identification scale degrees. The mean false-positive rate using the binary choice scale was 12%. Overall accuracy was 89% using this model, however, 13% of participants scored below 80%. Only 25% of participants accurately answered yes or no >90% of the time, with no individual making the correct yes/no decision for all 50 pairs of radiographs. Non-odontologists (lay participants) scored poorly, with a mean accuracy of only 60%. Use of the graded ABFO, DVISYS and INTERPOL scales resulted in general improvements in performance, with the false-positive and false-negative rates falling to approximately 2% overall. Inter-examiner agreement in assigning scale degrees was good (ICC=0.64), however there was little correlation between confidence and both accuracy or agreement among practitioners. These results suggest that use of a non-binary scale is supported over a match/non-match call as it reduces the frequency of false positives and negatives. The use of the terms "possible" and "insufficient information" in the same scale appears to create confusion, reducing inter-examiner agreement. The lack of agreement between higher-performing and lower-performing groups suggests that there is an inconsistency in the cognitive processes used to determine similarity between radiographs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scijus.2017.11.001DOI Listing
May 2018

Minor post-extraction complications other than BRONJ in older patients on oral bisphosphonates - a retrospective study.

Gerodontology 2017 Jun 19;34(2):171-179. Epub 2016 Jul 19.

Sydney Local Health District Oral Health Service, Sydney Dental Hospital, Surry Hills, New South Wales, Australia.

Background: Oral bisphosphonates (BP) have been prescribed widely in osteoporosis patients. Bisphosphonate-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (BRONJ) has been reported as a major complication, but there is little information about minor complications.

Objective: This retrospective study describes post-operative complications - other than BRONJ - associated with dental extractions in patients on oral BP and compares outcomes with patients not on oral BP.

Methods: The study period was 2004-05 ending December 2005, prior to the introduction of protocols for minimising risks related to extractions in patients on BP therapy. Records of patients aged 60 years and over who underwent extractions during this period at Sydney Dental Hospital were examined and post-operative complications analysed.

Results: There were 266 participants identified on oral BP therapy out of an available number of 3811 available files based retrospectively from records of 4126 participants who underwent extractions during the two-year period. In the oral BP group, 10% had complications compared with 2% in the non-oral BP group (p < 0.0001). This relationship remained significant even after adjusting for age, gender, operator, type and site of procedure. Delayed healing (36%) and exposed alveolar bone which required an intervention (31%) were the most common complications in the BP group.

Conclusion: The prevalence of minor post-operative complications among BP participants was significantly higher than in non-BP participants. The nature of the complications was in the range of pathology familiar to - and treatable by - the general dentist.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ger.12239DOI Listing
June 2017

The role of the forensic odontologist in disaster victim identification: lessons for management.

Forensic Sci Int 2011 Feb 14;205(1-3):44-7. Epub 2010 Oct 14.

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 57-83 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Victoria 3006, Australia.

Forensic odontologists are involved in all phases of disaster victim identification (DVI). The failure of DVI management to embed odontology teams within all phases of the investigation and to include them in management decisions throughout the operation may lead to delays in the reconciliation process and could possibly compromise the integrity of the DVI investigation. In the case study presented, trained and experienced teams of forensic odontologists were not utilised to full capacity in all phases of the investigation. The complexity of the initial scene investigation was not identified resulting in the incomplete recovery of all remains. The scene had to be re-examined on three subsequent occasions. The post-mortem examination of the remains had to be deferred until all subsequent material had been collected. The collection of all ante-mortem dental records was not undertaken, resulting in transcription information that was incomplete and compromised. As a result, the reconciliation (formal identification) of the deceased became problematic because of the compounded errors in all phases of this DVI investigation and the resulting odontological report of identification could have jeopardized the integrity of the entire DVI process. Following a review of this case and the recognition of possible areas of omission in the management of the investigation a strategy to address these problems is proposed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.013DOI Listing
February 2011

Preservation of dental evidence following exposure to high temperatures.

Forensic Sci Int 2011 Feb 18;205(1-3):40-3. Epub 2010 Sep 18.

Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Monash University, 57-83 Kavanagh Street, Southbank, Vic. 3006, Australia.

The success of the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) process relies upon sufficient post-mortem data being recovered to allow for a meaningful comparison with ante-mortem records of the missing person. Human bodies subjected to prolonged high temperatures, as experienced during the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, are often reduced to fragile skeletal elements. The dental structures, however, are the most durable tissues of the body and often survive these prolonged high temperatures. Without protecting the fragile remains at the scene and during transportation to the mortuary, disruption of the skeletal and dental elements may occur. This disruption will result in difficulties in obtaining post-mortem evidence and lead to problems during the reconciliation (formal identification) phase of the investigation. In the two case reports presented to illustrate these problems, there was significant loss and degradation of dental structures at the scene and during transportation to the mortuary. In the first case described, where no protection was afforded to the remains, total loss of all anatomical dental structures occurred. In the second case, where protection of the structures was undertaken, vital dental evidence was preserved. As a result of the experience in this particular DVI incident, where remains were exposed to prolonged high temperature and physical damage, new protocols have been formulated. Adherence to these protocols will maximise the recovery and preservation of dental evidence at the scene and during transportation to the mortuary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.08.011DOI Listing
February 2011

Comparative dental anatomy in Disaster Victim Identification: Lessons from the 2009 Victorian Bushfires.

Forensic Sci Int 2011 Feb;205(1-3):36-9

Oral Surgery and Diagnostic Imaging Department, Sydney Dental Hospital, Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, Australia; Department of Forensic Medicine, Parramatta Road, Glebe, Australia.

In the Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) response to the recent bushfire disasters in rural Victoria, Australia, forensic odontology played a significant role in the identification process. Particular features of this disaster were challenging to the odontologists. A characteristic of house fires is the extended time period during which the remains may be subject to heat, and their subsequent disruption as buildings collapse. This can result in dislodgement of teeth from sockets, loss of tooth crowns from roots, disruption of anatomical location of teeth and damage to bony features. Commingling of human remains also is often a feature, as is commingling of animal remains with human. Two cases which illustrate these features are described. A strategy for improving familiarity with comparative dental anatomy and improving skills in dental anatomy is suggested.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.06.008DOI Listing
February 2011

Forensic dental and medical response to the Bali bombing. A personal perspective.

Med J Aust 2003 Oct;179(7):362-5

Oral Surgery Department, United Dental Hospital of Sydney, 2 Chalmers Street, Surry Hills, NSW 2010, Australia.

After the Bali bombing on 12 October 2002, once the survivors had been treated or evacuated, many dead, severely burned and fragmented bodies were left. Formal identification was required before any remains could be released to grieving families. Australia sent a team to assist the Indonesians in this daunting and disturbing task. The "disaster victim identification" process eventually confirmed 202 people as dead, including 88 Australians. Personal and professional relationships between the Indonesians and our team were important factors in our acceptance into the Indonesian emergency response.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/j.1326-5377.2003.tb05594.xDOI Listing
October 2003
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