Dissertation Topics in Forensic Medicine
Students embarking on their forensic medicine dissertation may find themselves scratching their heads in trying to nail down a topic. A dissertation is usually written towards the final year of the program, and in some cases, students will already have a good idea what to write about. But others may be inspired to write on multiple topics and find the task of narrowing down their options difficult.
1 Industrial Deaths
Every year, a medical examiner investigates deaths surrounding those who died at their places of employment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5 percent to 775 in 2012 from 738 in 2011. They also report that fatal work injuries in the private construction sector increased 5 percent. The Department of Labor took race and age into account, stating that work fatalities amongst white workers declined by 10 percent and hispanic work-related deaths declined by five percent. However, fatal work injuries impacting workers aged 16 and under nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012, and violence accounted for 17 percent of all industrial deaths in 2012. A good dissertation could examine the fatal injuries in conjunction with age, race and fatal injury type to create a detailed profile.
2 Snake Bite Deaths
A forensic medicine dissertation may examine the effects of various lethal snake bites on people, and identify and classify the serpents responsible. Snake bite fatalities happen all over the world, and as more exotic and venomous snakes are smuggled into the country, medical examiners discover some devastating effects that snake venom and its proteins have on human tissue and organ function. Research from Basel, Switzerland, examined the effects of snake venoms on hemostasis, a process in which tissue dies and stops bleeding from occurring. Students could examine tissue samples where the bite occurred and autopsy the victims to look for other signs such as cardiac arrest or nervous system damage to determine the death process when various snake species inject their venom -- a finding that may help in the production of anti-venoms.
3 Vehicular Deaths
A dissertation examining the cause of death in car crash victims may help auto industry developers produce safer cars. The number of car-crash fatalities has roughly dropped from over 52,000 in 1970 to approximately 25,580 in 2012, according to current data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both engineering and medical research has helped to produce safer cars over the years, such as models with side and rear air bags. But some deaths may result from unexpected and bizarre injuries such as a piece of the car's cabin puncturing the driver's vital organs. A dissertation could examine the cause of car crash deaths in various types and models, comparing those findings to donated cadavers with no internal or external damage in crash-test cars to compare data for better accuracy.
4 Maggots and Time of Death
A dissertation could examine rotted flesh in relation to maggots to help determine a time of death. According to Washington State University research, adult flies find rotting flesh and lay their eggs. As soon as the eggs hatch, maggots emerge and begin consuming decayed flesh immediately. Temperature, moisture levels and other conditions have an effect on the time it takes for the maggots to hatch and consume their food. In some cases a maggot can develop, hatch and eat within a week. A dissertation could place donor bodies in various outdoor environments and examine the rate of flesh deterioration and presence of maggots to help future medical examiners determine time of death and exposure.