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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging aims to promote research and development of biomedical imaging by publishing high-quality research articles and reviews in this rapidly growing interdisciplinary field.
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Value CMR: Towards a Comprehensive, Rapid, Cost-Effective Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) is considered the gold standard for measuring cardiac function. Further, in a single CMR exam, information about cardiac structure, tissue composition, and blood flow could be obtained. Nevertheless, CMR is underutilized due to long scanning times, the need for multiple breath-holds, use of a contrast agent, and relatively high cost. In this work, we propose a rapid, comprehensive, contrast-free CMR exam that does not require repeated breath-holds, based on recent developments in imaging sequences. Time-consuming conventional sequences have been replaced by advanced sequences in the proposed CMR exam. Specifically, conventional 2D cine and phase-contrast (PC) sequences have been replaced by optimized 3D-cine and 4D-flow sequences, respectively. Furthermore, conventional myocardial tagging has been replaced by fast strain-encoding (SENC) imaging. Finally, T1 and T2 mapping sequences are included in the proposed exam, which allows for myocardial tissue characterization. The proposed rapid exam has been tested in vivo. The proposed exam reduced the scan time from >1 hour with conventional sequences to <20 minutes. Corresponding cardiovascular measurements from the proposed rapid CMR exam showed good agreement with those from conventional sequences and showed that they can differentiate between healthy volunteers and patients. Compared to 2D cine imaging that requires 12-16 separate breath-holds, the implemented 3D-cine sequence allows for whole heart coverage in 1-2 breath-holds. The 4D-flow sequence allows for whole-chest coverage in less than 10 minutes. Finally, SENC imaging reduces scan time to only one slice per heartbeat. In conclusion, the proposed rapid, contrast-free, and comprehensive cardiovascular exam does not require repeated breath-holds or to be supervised by a cardiac imager. These improvements make it tolerable by patients and would help improve cost effectiveness of CMR and increase its adoption in clinical practice.
Transfer Learning to Detect COVID-19 Automatically from X-Ray Images Using Convolutional Neural Networks
The novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease that has caused thousands of deaths and infected millions worldwide. Thus, various technologies that allow for the fast detection of COVID-19 infections with high accuracy can offer healthcare professionals much-needed help. This study is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of the state-of-the-art pretrained Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) on the automatic diagnosis of COVID-19 from chest X-rays (CXRs). The dataset used in the experiments consists of 1200 CXR images from individuals with COVID-19, 1345 CXR images from individuals with viral pneumonia, and 1341 CXR images from healthy individuals. In this paper, the effectiveness of artificial intelligence (AI) in the rapid and precise identification of COVID-19 from CXR images has been explored based on different pretrained deep learning algorithms and fine-tuned to maximise detection accuracy to identify the best algorithms. The results showed that deep learning with X-ray imaging is useful in collecting critical biological markers associated with COVID-19 infections. VGG16 and MobileNet obtained the highest accuracy of 98.28%. However, VGG16 outperformed all other models in COVID-19 detection with an accuracy, F1 score, precision, specificity, and sensitivity of 98.72%, 97.59%, 96.43%, 98.70%, and 98.78%, respectively. The outstanding performance of these pretrained models can significantly improve the speed and accuracy of COVID-19 diagnosis. However, a larger dataset of COVID-19 X-ray images is required for a more accurate and reliable identification of COVID-19 infections when using deep transfer learning. This would be extremely beneficial in this pandemic when the disease burden and the need for preventive measures are in conflict with the currently available resources.
Diabetic Retinopathy Detection Using Local Extrema Quantized Haralick Features with Long Short-Term Memory Network
Diabetic retinopathy is one of the leading diseases affecting eyes. Lack of early detection and treatment can lead to total blindness of the diseased eyes. Recently, numerous researchers have attempted producing automatic diabetic retinopathy detection techniques to supplement diagnosis and early treatment of diabetic retinopathy symptoms. In this manuscript, a new approach has been proposed. The proposed approach utilizes the feature extracted from the fundus image using a local extrema information with quantized Haralick features. The quantized features encode not only the textural Haralick features but also exploit the multiresolution information of numerous symptoms in diabetic retinopathy. Long Short-Term Memory network together with local extrema pattern provides a probabilistic approach to analyze each segment of the image with higher precision which helps to suppress false positive occurrences. The proposed approach analyzes the retina vasculature and hard-exudate symptoms of diabetic retinopathy on two different public datasets. The experimental results evaluated using performance matrices such as specificity, accuracy, and sensitivity reveal promising indices. Similarly, comparison with the related state-of-the-art researches highlights the validity of the proposed method. The proposed approach performs better than most of the researches used for comparison.
Geometric Regularized Hopfield Neural Network for Medical Image Enhancement
One of the major shortcomings of Hopfield neural network (HNN) is that the network may not always converge to a fixed point. HNN, predominantly, is limited to local optimization during training to achieve network stability. In this paper, the convergence problem is addressed using two approaches: (a) by sequencing the activation of a continuous modified HNN (MHNN) based on the geometric correlation of features within various image hyperplanes via pixel gradient vectors and (b) by regulating geometric pixel gradient vectors. These are achieved by regularizing proposed MHNNs under cohomology, which enables them to act as an unconventional filter for pixel spectral sequences. It shifts the focus to both local and global optimizations in order to strengthen feature correlations within each image subspace. As a result, it enhances edges, information content, contrast, and resolution. The proposed algorithm was tested on fifteen different medical images, where evaluations were made based on entropy, visual information fidelity (VIF), weighted peak signal-to-noise ratio (WPSNR), contrast, and homogeneity. Our results confirmed superiority as compared to four existing benchmark enhancement methods.
Three-Dimensional Imaging of Pulmonary Fibrotic Foci at the Alveolar Scale Using Tissue-Clearing Treatment with Staining Techniques of Extracellular Matrix
Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis is a progressive, chronic lung disease characterized by the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, including collagen and elastin. Imaging of extracellular matrix in fibrotic lungs is important for evaluating its pathological condition as well as the distribution of drugs to pulmonary focus sites and their therapeutic effects. In this study, we compared techniques of staining the extracellular matrix with optical tissue-clearing treatment for developing three-dimensional imaging methods for focus sites in pulmonary fibrosis. Mouse models of pulmonary fibrosis were prepared via the intrapulmonary administration of bleomycin. Fluorescent-labeled tomato lectin, collagen I antibody, and Col-F, which is a fluorescent probe for collagen and elastin, were used to compare the imaging of fibrotic foci in intact fibrotic lungs. These lung samples were cleared using the ClearT2 tissue-clearing technique. The cleared lungs were two dimensionally observed using laser-scanning confocal microscopy, and the images were compared with those of the lung tissue sections. Moreover, three-dimensional images were reconstructed from serial two-dimensional images. Fluorescent-labeled tomato lectin did not enable the visualization of fibrotic foci in cleared fibrotic lungs. Although collagen I in fibrotic lungs could be visualized via immunofluorescence staining, collagen I was clearly visible only until 40 μm from the lung surface. Col-F staining facilitated the visualization of collagen and elastin to a depth of 120 μm in cleared lung tissues. Furthermore, we visualized the three-dimensional extracellular matrix in cleared fibrotic lungs using Col-F, and the images provided better visualization than immunofluorescence staining. These results suggest that ClearT2 tissue-clearing treatment combined with Col-F staining represents a simple and rapid technique for imaging fibrotic foci in intact fibrotic lungs. This study provides important information for imaging various organs with extracellular matrix-related diseases.
A Modified Phase Cycling Method for Complex-Valued MRI Reconstruction
The phase cycling method is a state-of-the-art method to reconstruct complex-valued MR image. However, when it follows practical two-dimensional (2D) subsampling Cartesian acquisition which is only enforcing random sampling in the phase-encoding direction, a number of artifacts in magnitude appear. A modified approach is proposed to remove these artifacts under practical MRI subsampling, by adding one-dimensional total variation (TV) regularization into the phase cycling method to “pre-process” the magnitude component before its update. Furthermore, an operation used in SFISTA is employed to update the magnitude and phase images for better solutions. The results of the experiments show the ability of the proposed method to eliminate the ring artifacts and improve the magnitude reconstruction.