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Deep Convolutional Neural Networks for Microscopy-Based Point of Care Diagnostics

John A Quinn, Rose Nakasi, Pius K. B. Mugagga, Patrick Byanyima, William Lubega, Alfred Andama
Proceedings of the 1st Machine Learning for Healthcare Conference, pp. 271–281, 2016


Point of care diagnostics using microscopy and computer vision methods have been applied to a number of practical problems, and are particularly relevant to low-income, high disease burden areas. However, this is subject to the limitations in sensitivity and specificity of the computer vision methods used. In general, deep learning has recently revolutionised the field of computer vision, in some cases surpassing human performance for other object recognition tasks. In this paper, we evaluate the performance of deep convolutional neural networks on three different microscopy tasks: diagnosis of malaria in thick blood smears, tuberculosis in sputum samples, and intestinal parasite eggs in stool samples. In all cases accuracy is very high and substantially better than an alternative approach more representative of traditional medical imaging techniques.

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