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Life-saving imaging techniques developed at Oxford University

Imaging various parts of the body is an established and important method for the diagnosis of diseases such as breast cancer, and is also used extensively for the detection of abnormalities in organs such as the heart. Accurate interpretation, and ultimately correct diagnosis, is dependent on the quality of the images. High quality images, however, can often be extremely difficult to achieve even for experts within a given field. Researchers are constantly striving to improve existing techniques so that better quality images can be produced that will facilitate quicker and more accurate diagnoses. Such improvements have the potential to greatly benefit patients' prospects by enabling earlier commencement of treatment, thus preserving or even improving patients' quality of life.

To address these imaging needs, researchers in Oxford's Department of Engineering Science have developed two new imaging techniques with life saving potential in the medical field. They have achieved important and measurable improvements in image quality that will increase the accuracy of diagnosis of serious diseases and defects.

Echocardiographic Sequence Analysis

Subject movement during capture of an image is a major problem in subsequent diagnosis, as the subject must be tracked as it moves from frame to frame (this movement is known as optical flow or image velocity). Measurement of optical flow can improve the image encoding efficiency, or allow enhancement of the display of the movement of some particular tracked part of the image to assist a clinician attempting to make a diagnosis.

The high noise levels of medical images present many difficulties in image processing. For example, the tracking of cardiac walls in ultrasound images is difficult because of the inherently high level of noise in such images and because of the variation in cardiac motion during the cardiac cycle. Several means of identifying and tracking cardiac walls in echocardio
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Contact: Kim Bruty
kim.bruty@isis.ox.ac.uk
44-0-1865-280851
University of Oxford
26-Jun-2003


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