Application of Artificial Neural Networks to Medical Image Pattern Recognition: Detection of Clustered Microcalcifications on Mammograms and Lung Cancer on Chest Radiographs

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Three neural network models were employed to evaluate their performances in the recognition of medical image patterns associated with lung cancer and breast cancer in radiography. The first method was a pattern match neural network. The second was a conventional backpropagation neural network. The third method was a backpropagation trained neocognitron in which the signal propagation is operated with the convolution calculation from one layer to the next. In the convolution neural network (CNN) experiment, several output association methods and trainer imposed driving functions in conjunction with the convolution neural network are proposed for general medical image pattern recognition. An unconventional method of applying rotation and shift invariance is also used to enhance the performance of the neural nets.

We have tested these methods for the detection of microcalcifications on mammograms and lung nodules on chest radiographs. Pre-scan methods were previously described in our early publications. The artificial neural networks act as final detection classifiers to determine if a disease pattern is presented on the suspected image area. We found that the convolution neural network, which internally performs feature extraction and classification, achieves the best performance among the three neural network models. These results show that some processing associated with disease feature extraction is a necessary step before a classifier can make an accurate determination.

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