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Scanning the Dead

  • Posted 01.17.13
  • NOVA

Virtual autopsies paint remarkably informative pictures of a body's post-mortem condition. Watch Dr. Anders Persson and his team get under the virtual skin of a victim in order to uncover more information about his death.

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Launch Video Running Time: 02:10

Transcript

Forensics on Trial

PBS Airdate: October 17, 2012

NARRATOR:The corpse inside this body bag may be the victim of a crime. It's what police suspect but have no way to prove.

That's the job of Dr. Anders Persson and his team. They are about to perform an autopsy. But this is no ordinary cut-open-the-cadaver job. In Sweden's Center for Medical Image Science and Visualization, this man is about to be sliced up in a virtual autopsy.

It begins inside this C.T. scanner. It's like an x-ray on steroids. Regular x-rays scan just the outline of bones, but C.T. scans use a rotating x-ray.

It takes 12 images per second, creating cross-sectional slices of bone, thinner than a dime. These image slices are stacked side by side, forming a stunning picture of a body's skeleton.

Dr. Persson's team also scans the body through an M.R.I. to search for evidence of damage to organs. M.R.I.s create a map of the body's tissue, slice by slice, using powerful magnets and pulsing radio waves.

The victim is never removed from the body bag. With the click of a mouse, the covering can be made invisible to get a virtual peek inside.

Credits

WRITTEN AND PRODUCED BY
Gary Glassman
PRODUCED AND DIRECTED BY
Scott Tiffany
EDITED BY
Brian Cassin
ADDITIONAL EDITING BY
Mark Chesak
Jeremy Morrison
Rob Tinworth
COORDINATING PRODUCER
Maureen Barden Lynch
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
Ben Sweeney
DIRECTORS OF PHOTOGRAPHY
Jeremiah Crowell
Nick Gardner
Thomas C. Grissom
Stephen McCarthy
Ken Willinger
SOUND RECORDISTS
John Cameron
Bob Freeman
John O'Connor
Lars Palm
Jason Remeikis
Ben Turney
KEY GRIPS
Jay Spain Jack McPhee
NARRATED BY
Bray Poor
MUSIC
Ed Tomney
ANIMATION
Handcranked Productions
COLORIST
Rob Tinworth
ONLINE EDITOR AND ADDITONAL COLOR CORRECTION
Michael H. Amundson
AUDIO POST PRODUCTION
Heart Punch Studio, Inc
PRODUCTION ASSISTANTS
Ryan Balton
Matt Bowman
Matt Davies
Antonio Esposito
Abby Farkas
Jason Gallagher
Peter Gahnström
Oscar Guo
Jack McKenna
David Notis
David Orr
Andy Pop
Davy Rockwell
Heather Stevens
Joe Votta
SPECIAL ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
Blanchard Road: A Murder in the Finger Lakes
ARCHIVAL MATERIAL
ITN
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KPTV
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SPECIAL THANKS
Rob Appleton
Bevel, Gardner & Associates
Timothy Buie
Matthew Bell
Julio Bahamon
Amanda Bullman
Bradley Cassell
Alex Dunbar
Embassy of Sweden
Dennis Hilliard
Randy Hoffman
Mitchell Holland
Max Houk
Gary D Knight
Kelly Martin
Mona Mayfield
Cheri McConnell
Joseph Mollo III
North Carolina State University College of Design
Pennsylvania State University
Drew Pulsifer
Steve Quattrini
Jessica Rogers
Elden Rosenthal
Michael Saks
Narendra Singh
Rhode Island Office of State Medical Examiners
Rhode Island State Crime Laboratory
Robin Smith
Smithfield, RI Fire Department
Mark Zabinski
NOVA SERIES GRAPHICS
yU + co.
NOVA THEME MUSIC
Walter Werzowa John Luker Musikvergnuegen, Inc.
ADDITIONAL NOVA THEME MUSIC
Ray Loring
Rob Morsberger
POST PRODUCTION ONLINE EDITOR
Spencer Gentry
CLOSED CAPTIONING
The Caption Center
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PUBLICITY
Eileen Campion
Victoria Louie
SENIOR RESEARCHER
Kate Becker
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Kristen Sommerhalter
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Linda Callahan
PARALEGAL
Sarah Erlandson
TALENT RELATIONS
Scott Kardel, Esq.
Janice Flood
LEGAL COUNSEL
Susan Rosen
DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION
Rachel Connolly
DIGITAL PROJECTS MANAGER
Kristine Allington
DIRECTOR OF NEW MEDIA
Lauren Aguirre
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER
POST PRODUCTION
Patrick Carey
POST PRODUCTION EDITOR
Rebecca Nieto
POST PRODUCTION MANAGER
Nathan Gunner
COMPLIANCE MANAGER
Linzy Emery
BUSINESS MANAGER
Elizabeth Benjes
DEVELOPMENT PRODUCERS
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Laurie Cahalane
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SENIOR SERIES PRODUCER
Melanie Wallace
EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Howard Swartz
MANAGING DIRECTOR
Alan Ritsko
SENIOR EXECUTIVE PRODUCER
Paula S. Apsell

A Providence Pictures Production for NOVA

© 2012 WGBH Educational Foundation

All rights reserved

Image

(virtual autopsy)
© WGBH Educational Foundation

Participants

Anders Persson
Linköping University

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