When it comes to the information in a mammogram, Purdue scientists say less is more – and their findings could bring medical care to many far-flung communities.
A team of researchers, including Bradley J. Lucier, has found that digitized mammograms, the X-ray cross sections of breast tissue that doctors use to search for cancer, are actually interpreted more accurately by radiologists once they have been "compressed" using techniques similar to those used to lessen the memory demand of images in digital cameras. Though compression strips away much of the original data, it still leaves intact those features that physicians need most to diagnose cancer effectively. Perhaps equally important, digitization could bring mammography to many outlying communities via mobile equipment and dial-up Internet connections.
"Any technique that improves the performance of radiologists is helpful, but this also means that mammograms can be taken in remote places that are underserved by the medical community," said Lucier, who is a professor of mathematics and computer science in Purdues College of Science. "The mammograms can then be sent electronically to radiologists, who can read the digitized versions knowing they will do at least as well as the original mammograms."
Chad Boutin | EurekAlert!
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