International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
 Journal metrics
Acceptance rate23%
Submission to final decision106 days
Acceptance to publication74 days
CiteScore5.700
Impact Factor-
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Comparison of Low-Pass Filters for SPECT Imaging

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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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Research Article

Fully Automated Bone Age Assessment on Large-Scale Hand X-Ray Dataset

Bone age assessment (BAA) is an essential topic in the clinical practice of evaluating the biological maturity of children. Because the manual method is time-consuming and prone to observer variability, it is attractive to develop computer-aided and automated methods for BAA. In this paper, we present a fully automatic BAA method. To eliminate noise in a raw X-ray image, we start with using U-Net to precisely segment hand mask image from a raw X-ray image. Even though U-Net can perform the segmentation with high precision, it needs a bigger annotated dataset. To alleviate the annotation burden, we propose to use deep active learning (AL) to select unlabeled data samples with sufficient information intentionally. These samples are given to Oracle for annotation. After that, they are then used for subsequential training. In the beginning, only 300 data are manually annotated and then the improved U-Net within the AL framework can robustly segment all the 12611 images in RSNA dataset. The AL segmentation model achieved a Dice score at 0.95 in the annotated testing set. To optimize the learning process, we employ six off-the-shell deep Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs) with pretrained weights on ImageNet. We use them to extract features of preprocessed hand images with a transfer learning technique. In the end, a variety of ensemble regression algorithms are applied to perform BAA. Besides, we choose a specific CNN to extract features and explain why we select that CNN. Experimental results show that the proposed approach achieved discrepancy between manual and predicted bone age of about 6.96 and 7.35 months for male and female cohorts, respectively, on the RSNA dataset. These accuracies are comparable to state-of-the-art performance.

Research Article

Microvascular Ultrasonic Imaging of Angiogenesis Identifies Tumors in a Murine Spontaneous Breast Cancer Model

The purpose of this study is to determine if microvascular tortuosity can be used as an imaging biomarker for the presence of tumor-associated angiogenesis and if imaging this biomarker can be used as a specific and sensitive method of locating solid tumors. Acoustic angiography, an ultrasound-based microvascular imaging technology, was used to visualize angiogenesis development of a spontaneous mouse model of breast cancer (). A reader study was used to assess visual discrimination between image types, and quantitative methods utilized metrics of tortuosity and spatial clustering for tumor detection. The reader study resulted in an area under the curve of 0.8, while the clustering approach resulted in the best classification with an area under the curve of 0.95. Both the qualitative and quantitative methods produced a correlation between sensitivity and tumor diameter. Imaging of vascular geometry with acoustic angiography provides a robust method for discriminating between tumor and healthy tissue in a mouse model of breast cancer. Multiple methods of analysis have been presented for a wide range of tumor sizes. Application of these techniques to clinical imaging could improve breast cancer diagnosis, as well as improve specificity in assessing cancer in other tissues. The clustering approach may be beneficial for other types of morphological analysis beyond vascular ultrasound images.

Research Article

Detection and Localization of Early-Stage Multiple Brain Tumors Using a Hybrid Technique of Patch-Based Processing, k-means Clustering and Object Counting

Brain tumors are a major health problem that affect the lives of many people. These tumors are classified as benign or cancerous. The latter can be fatal if not properly diagnosed and treated. Therefore, the diagnosis of brain tumors at the early stages of their development can significantly improve the chances of patient’s full recovery after treatment. In addition to laboratory analyses, clinicians and surgeons extract information from medical images, recorded by various systems such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-ray, and computed tomography (CT). The extracted information is used to identify the essential characteristics of brain tumors (location, size, and type) in order to achieve an accurate diagnosis to determine the most appropriate treatment protocol. In this paper, we present an automated machine vision technique for the detection and localization of brain tumors in MRI images at their very early stages using a combination of k-means clustering, patch-based image processing, object counting, and tumor evaluation. The technique was tested on twenty real MRI images and was found to be capable of detecting multiple tumors in MRI images regardless of their intensity level variations, size, and location including those with very small sizes. In addition to its use for diagnosis, the technique can be integrated into automated treatment instruments and robotic surgery systems.

Research Article

A Semi-Automated Usability Evaluation Framework for Interactive Image Segmentation Systems

For complex segmentation tasks, the achievable accuracy of fully automated systems is inherently limited. Specifically, when a precise segmentation result is desired for a small amount of given data sets, semi-automatic methods exhibit a clear benefit for the user. The optimization of human computer interaction (HCI) is an essential part of interactive image segmentation. Nevertheless, publications introducing novel interactive segmentation systems (ISS) often lack an objective comparison of HCI aspects. It is demonstrated that even when the underlying segmentation algorithm is the same throughout interactive prototypes, their user experience may vary substantially. As a result, users prefer simple interfaces as well as a considerable degree of freedom to control each iterative step of the segmentation. In this article, an objective method for the comparison of ISS is proposed, based on extensive user studies. A summative qualitative content analysis is conducted via abstraction of visual and verbal feedback given by the participants. A direct assessment of the segmentation system is executed by the users via the system usability scale (SUS) and AttrakDiff-2 questionnaires. Furthermore, an approximation of the findings regarding usability aspects in those studies is introduced, conducted solely from the system-measurable user actions during their usage of interactive segmentation prototypes. The prediction of all questionnaire results has an average relative error of 8.9%, which is close to the expected precision of the questionnaire results themselves. This automated evaluation scheme may significantly reduce the resources necessary to investigate each variation of a prototype’s user interface (UI) features and segmentation methodologies.

Research Article

Automated Estimation of Acute Infarct Volume from Noncontrast Head CT Using Image Intensity Inhomogeneity Correction

Identification of early ischemic changes (EIC) on noncontrast head CT scans performed within the first few hours of stroke onset may have important implications for subsequent treatment, though early stroke is poorly delimited on these studies. Lack of sharp lesion boundary delineation in early infarcts precludes manual volume measures, as well as measures using edge-detection or region-filling algorithms. We wished to test a hypothesis that image intensity inhomogeneity correction may provide a sensitive method for identifying the subtle regional hypodensity which is characteristic of early ischemic infarcts. A digital image analysis algorithm was developed using image intensity inhomogeneity correction (IIC) and intensity thresholding. Two different IIC algorithms (FSL and ITK) were compared. The method was evaluated using simulated infarcts and clinical cases. For synthetic infarcts, measured infarct volumes demonstrated strong correlation to the true lesion volume (for 20% decreased density “infarcts,” Pearson r = 0.998 for both algorithms); both algorithms demonstrated improved accuracy with increasing lesion size and decreasing lesion density. In clinical cases (41 acute infarcts in 30 patients), calculated infarct volumes using FSL IIC correlated with the ASPECTS scores (Pearson r = 0.680) and the admission NIHSS (Pearson r = 0.544). Calculated infarct volumes were highly correlated with the clinical decision to treat with IV-tPA. Image intensity inhomogeneity correction, when applied to noncontrast head CT, provides a tool for image analysis to aid in detection of EIC, as well as to evaluate and guide improvements in scan quality for optimal detection of EIC.

Research Article

Brain Tumor Segmentation Based on Hybrid Clustering and Morphological Operations

Inference of tumor and edema areas from brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data remains challenging owing to the complex structure of brain tumors, blurred boundaries, and external factors such as noise. To alleviate noise sensitivity and improve the stability of segmentation, an effective hybrid clustering algorithm combined with morphological operations is proposed for segmenting brain tumors in this paper. The main contributions of the paper are as follows: firstly, adaptive Wiener filtering is utilized for denoising, and morphological operations are used for removing nonbrain tissue, effectively reducing the method’s sensitivity to noise. Secondly, K-means++ clustering is combined with the Gaussian kernel-based fuzzy C-means algorithm to segment images. This clustering not only improves the algorithm’s stability, but also reduces the sensitivity of clustering parameters. Finally, the extracted tumor images are postprocessed using morphological operations and median filtering to obtain accurate representations of brain tumors. In addition, the proposed algorithm was compared with other current segmentation algorithms. The results show that the proposed algorithm performs better in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, specificity, and recall.

International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
 Journal metrics
Acceptance rate23%
Submission to final decision106 days
Acceptance to publication74 days
CiteScore5.700
Impact Factor-
 Submit

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