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The Impact of Freezing on Bone Mineral Density: Implications for Forensic Research

NCJ Number
Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 62 Issue: 2 Dated: November 2016 Pages: 399-404
Date Published
November 2016
6 pages

This article reports on research whose objective was to determine whether freezing could potentially bias experimental results of bone analysis by analyzing changes in bone mineral density (BMD) with the freezing of remains over time.


This is an important issue, because it is common for researchers who use animal or human remains for scientific study to freeze samples prior to use; however, the effects of freezing on bone macro- or microstructure are relatively unknown. In the current study, eight fetal pigs were scanned to determine their initial BMD before freezing. Three piglets underwent a freeze-thaw cycle to assess the effects of the freezing process. Four piglets were frozen and scanned weekly for 20 weeks to assess freezing over time. The overall average between the fresh initial scan and final frozen scan was significantly different (p < 0.001). Per contra, the final thawed BMD scans did not differ from the initial fresh scan (p = 0.418). Thus, completely thawed remains are recommended for experimental studies. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: November 1, 2016