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Google-like process for mammogram images speeds up computer's second opinions

To help computers provide faster "second opinions" on mammogram images showing suspicious-looking breast masses, medical physicists at Duke University are employing a Google-like approach that retrieves useful information from an existing mammogram database within three seconds. Rather than comparing the mammogram image in question to every image of breast cancer in a computer database, the new approach compares the mammogram in question to selected images that are most highly ranked for their information content. This is analogous to how a Google search first returns a list of only those websites that it determines to have the most important and useful information on the words entered in the search. In a pilot study that will be presented in August at the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine in Orlando, the approach enabled computers to maintain their high level of accuracy while performing faster analysis. Such speed and efficiency will be important as such image databases rapidly grow larger and more complex.

Knowledge-based computer-assisted detection (CAD) systems compare mammogram images to those of known cases of breast cancer in order to aid radiologists in their diagnosis. However, as clinical image libraries grow rapidly in mammography practice, knowledge-based CAD systems get slower and less efficient.

In efforts to prevent such systems from bogging down, Duke's Georgia D. Tourassi, Ph.D. (Georgia.tourassi@duke.edu) will present a Knowledge-Based Computer Assisted Detection (KB-CAD) system that analyzes breast masses using the principles of information theory.

When a new, unknown case is presented for analysis, the KB-CAD system compares the case to mammography images in the database. It retrieves cases that are similar, those that share certain visual features and properties. If the unknown case is similar enough to a known case of bre
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Contact: Ben Stein
bstein@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
25-Jul-2006


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