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Faster, more efficient searching of medical images

Completed in November 2005, the DSSCV consortium's long-term goal was to contribute to software tools allowing doctors and hospital technicians to quickly search and match X-rays, magnetic resonance images and computed 3D tomography scans, particularly of the craniofacial region.

"Let's say a doctor has a new patient with a broken bone," says coordinator, Mads Nielsen, a professor of computer science at the IT University of Copenhagen. "He remembers seeing a similar fracture and wants to recall how he treated that patient, but doesn't remember the case number. By inputting the X-ray of the new patient, this computer system would allow finding the relevant, digitally stored image of that kind of fracture."

"Anybody that needs to compare or search images for specific features could use the technology," says Nielsen. However, he estimates that practical use will require five to 10 more years of development.

Funded under the European Commission's FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) initiative of the IST programme, the DSSCV project gathered mathematicians and computer scientists from four European universities with the objective of developing more efficient algorithms for comparing shapes, in this case images. "A shape is a very complicated thing to describe mathematically," explains Nielsen. "To efficiently compare shapes, you need something that doesn't compare every feature."

The researchers refined the practical application of singularity and scale-space theories to develop algorithms that describe the deep structure of a shape, which Nielsen explains as a collection of details, called singularities. Such an algorithm makes it possible to disregard singularities that do not match the particular shape sought.

"An analogy would be a stadium full of 20,000 spectators, and you want to find your brother", he says. "You are not going to look at every wrinkle, eyebrow and strand of hair. You eliminate the details that are irreleva
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Contact: Tara Morris
news@istresults.info
322-286-1985
IST Results
21-Apr-2006


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