Sex estimation using sternum part lenghts by means of artificial neural networks

Oner Z., Turan M. K., Oner S., Secgin Y., Sahin B.

Forensic Science International, vol.301, pp.6-11, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 301
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2019.05.011
  • Journal Name: Forensic Science International
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.6-11
  • Keywords: Artificial neural network, Computerized tomography, Multilayer perceptron classifier, Sex identification, Sternum, Stochastic gradient descent
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: No


In addition to the pelvis, cranium and phalanges, the sternum is also used for postmortem sex identification. Bone measurements may be obtained on cadaveric bones. Alternatively, computerized tomography may be used to obtain measurements close to the original ones. Moreover, usage of artificial neural networks (ANNs) in the field of medicine has started to provide new horizons. In this study, we aimed to identify sex by an ANN using lengths of manubrium sterni (MSL), corpus sterni (CSL) and processus xiphoideus (XPL) and sternal angle (SA) from computerized tomography (CT) images brought to an orthogonal plane. This study used the thin-slice thoracic CT images of 422 cases (213 female, 209 male) with an age range of 27–60 years brought to the orthogonal plane. Measurements of MSL, CSL, XPL and SA were analyzed with a multilayer artificial neural network that used stochastic gradient descent (SGD) for optimization and two hidden layers. MSL, CSL and XPL were longer, and SA was wider in men (MSL p = 0.000, CSL p = 0.000, XPL p = 0.000, SA p = 0.02). In the case of the two hidden layers of the network with 20 and 14 neurons in the hidden layers, respectively, learning rate of 0.1 and momentum coefficient of 0.9, the accuracy (Acc) of sex prediction was 0.906. In order to define a more realistic performance of the network, bootstrap was run with the confidence interval of 94%. A sensitivity (Sen) value of 0.91 and a specificity (Spe) value of 0.90 were calculated. The success rates that were achieved in sex identification with measurements on the skeleton using ANN were observed to be higher than those achieved by linear models. Also, sometimes all parts of the bones may not be found or might be deformed. In this case, the number of parameters used for the estimation will be incomplete. The ANN has the strong advantage to be able to estimate despite the missing parameter.