A combination of image processing with neural network sorting was conducted to demonstrate feasibility of automated cervical smear screening. Nuclei were isolated to generate a series of data points relating to the density and size of individual nuclei. This was followed by segmentation to isolate entire cells for subsequent generation of data points to bound the size of the cytoplasm. Data points were taken on as many as ten cells per image frame and included correlation against a series of filters providing size and density readings on nuclei. Additional point data was taken on nuclei images to refine size information and on whole cells to bound the size of the cytoplasm, twenty data points per assessed cell were generated. These data point sets, designated as neural tensors, comprise the inputs for training and use of a unique neural network to sort the images and identify those indicating evidence of disease. The neural network, named the Fast Analog Associative Memory, accumulates data and establishes lookup tables for comparison against images to be assessed. Six networks were trained to differentiate normal cells from those evidencing various levels abnormality that may lead to cancer. A blind test was conducted on 77 images to evaluate system performance. The image set included 31 positives (diseased) and 46 negatives (normal). Our system correctly identified all 31 positives and 41 of the negatives with 5 false positives. We believe this technology can lead to more efficient automated screening of cervical smears.
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