News & Events
Scientists learn to determine age by blood samples
- October 19, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
It is no secret that determining the age of a person by composition and characteristics of his blood is an almost impossible task, which not only physicians regret, but also representatives of such professions as detectives and police. The ability to establish at least the approximate age of a suspect or victim on the basis of blood found at the crime scene would make it possible to solve many crimes more quickly and find those responsible. That is why a team of microbiologists, led by Professor Igor Lednev from the University of Albany, introduced their new revolutionary technique for determining age by blood composition.
Unlike bones and teeth, which under a microscope and x-ray can demonstrate almost the entire background of their owner during its development, blood does not directly provide any information about the potential age of a person. That is why the Lednev team focused on a set of techniques designated as Raman spectroscopy, during which a blood sample is exposed to laser irradiation, which causes blood atoms to change their energy state.
In the transition, they emit different electromagnetic radiation, which indicates certain features of the composition and structure of hemoglobin. In particular, the team focused on identifying the difference between the two types of hemoglobin in this context – HbF observed in children and HbA belonging to adults. Raman spectroscopy makes it possible to determine structural differences in hemoglobin in the future, which gives a hint about how approximately the victim or suspect may be.
At the moment, experts are interested in further improving the equipment presented and making it somewhat easier and more versatile. The fact is that in some cases it is not so easy to establish structural differences in hemoglobin – this is often observed with various disorders of the red blood cell. And yet, despite this, the current strategy for determining age by hemoglobin works really well, soon promising to become even more excellent!