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Author Archives: D.P. Lyle, MD

About D.P. Lyle, MD

Author, Lecturer, Story Consultant

Fingerprint Toxicology: Your Drug History in Your Prints

When someone takes cocaine, they experience all its effects fairly quickly. Also, the body immediately goes to work destroying the drug. That’s what the body does. With all drugs. That’s why you have to take your blood pressure med everyday. If the body didn’t break it down, a single pill would last a lifetime—theoretically. But Mother Nature is too clever for that.

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Drugs begin this metabolic break down almost as soon as the hit the bloodstream. In the case of cocaine, the breakdown products (called metabolites) include benzoylecgonine and methylecgonine. These products are then excreted by the kidneys and can be found in the user’s urine. But they are also excreted by the sweat glands—which are in many ways just a bunch of little kidneys—-so that these chemicals can often be found by toxicological examination of a deposited fingerprint.

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This could prove useful in determining if a offender was under the influence, or had at least recently used, cocaine.

But it’s not just for cocaine or other illicit drugs. Such testing might be able to determine what medication you take and even what you had to eat.

 

Are the Brains of Psychopaths Different?

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There has been a long running debate on whether those labeled as psychopaths, or sociopaths, have an anatomical, or perhaps a chemical, basis for their aberrant behavior. It’s actually a debate that has raged for many years. Back to the days of phrenology, and before. Phrenology was the study of the shape of the skull and its use in predicting behavior and personality. It didn’t, it couldn’t, but it was a belief that had its loyal followers.

Dr. Kent Kiehl has spent years studying the possible connection between brain anatomy and physiology and behavior. As part of his research he performed MRI brain exams on thousands of prisoners. His findings have shown that the amygdala—an area of the brain involved with emotions and decision making—-tends to be smaller in psychopaths.

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Also he uncovered evidence to suggest that assessing the activity of the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), an area of the brain involved in error processing, might be useful in predicting which inmates might be prone to re-offend after prison release. Those with reduced ACC activity were twice as likely to re-offend when compared with those with high ACC activity.

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This, of course, will require further study but it’s an interesting concept and could be useful. It could also lead to the creation of a real “Minority Report.” Remember that movie? A futuristic sci-fi story that dealt with the ability to predict future crime—called predictive policing. The future just might have arrived.

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THE ASSASSINS: A Great New Thriller From Gayle Lynds

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Buy his book now!!

My friend Gayle Lynds has a terrific new international thriller out – THE ASSASSINS.  Nelson DeMille says he was hooked on page one.  “Six master assassins – each a legend in the dark corners of global espionage – band together to steal a fortune from the middle of a war zone.” Add one retired U.S. army spy, and the Associated Press heralds the result as “treachery, double crosses, and a treasure straight from history that add up to a thrilling novel.”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1U4D3rj

B&N: http://bit.ly/1Jpbq6w

iBooks: http://apple.co/1HvC3J

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2015 in Writing

 

RUN TO GROUND Promotion/Sale at iBooks

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My third Dub Walker thriller RUN TO GROUND is on sale for a limited time as part of an iBooks promotion. Along with some other excellent books.

Check it out: https://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewMultiRoom?fcId=1013640691&mt=11&ls=1

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2015 in Writing

 

CraftFest Classes and ThrillerFest Panels on CD and MP3

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If you missed this year’s ThrillerFest and CraftFest, or maybe you were there but missed some of the classes and panels you wanted to experience, all is not lost. CDs and MP3s of each class and panel are available.

Check it out: http://vwtapes.com/internationalthrillerwriters.aspx

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2015 in Writing

 

ITW’s 2015 Honorees

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2015 Thriller Award Winners

Nelson DeMille, ThrillerMaster

Kathy Reichs, Literary Silver Bullet Award

BEST HARDCOVER NOVEL

Megan Abbott – THE FEVER (Little, Brown and Company)

BEST FIRST NOVEL

Laura McHugh – THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD (Spiegel & Grau)

BEST PAPERBACK ORIGINAL NOVEL

Vincent Zandri – MOONLIGHT WEEPS (Down & Out Books)

BEST SHORT STORY

Tim L. Williams – “The Last Wrestling Bear in West Kentucky” (Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine)

BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL

Elle Cosimano – NEARLY GONE (Kathy Dawson Books)

BEST E-BOOK ORIGINAL NOVEL

C.J. Lyons – HARD FALL (Legacy Books)

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2015 in Writing

 

Muscle Proteins and the Time of Death

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In any homicide, one the most important things, along with the cause and manner of death, that the ME must determine is the approximate time of death. This will help eliminate some suspects—-if they are far away from the scene and with many witnesses, for example—-and point the finger at others—-who might have been in the area at the time the murder occurred.

The problem is that most methods used to determine the time of death are inaccurate at best. They tend to be best guesses. And they are mostly useful only during the first 48 to 72 hours.

Check out my article “Timely Death” for a brief overview of how the time of death is estimated.

Or grab a copy of Forensics For Dummies or Howdunnit: Forensics for an in-depth discussion of this topic.

Researchers at the University of Salzburg are working in a new method that might allow the time of death determination to be accurately made up to 10 days after death. Their research suggests that measuring the rate of muscle protein degradation yields a clue to the time that has lapsed since death. If this technique proves to be accurate and reproducible in humans, it would be a giant step forward in criminal investigations.

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