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This paper presents a new method for classification of neck movement patterns related to whiplash-associated disorders (WAD) using a resilient backpropagation neural network (BPNN). WAD are a common diagnosis after neck trauma, typically caused by rear-end car accidents. Since physical injuries seldom are found with present imaging techniques, the diagnosis can be difficult to make. The active range of the neck is often visually inspected in patients with neck pain, but this is a subjective measure, and a more objective decision support system, that gives a reliable and more detailed analysis of neck movement pattern, is needed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the predictive ability of a BPNN, using neck movement variables as input. Three-dimensional (3-D) neck movement data from 59 subjects with WAD and 56 control subjects were collected with a ProReflex system. Rotation angle and angle velocity were calculated using the instantaneous helical axis method and motion variables were extracted. A principal component analysis was performed in order to reduce data and improve the BPNN performance. BPNNs with six hidden nodes had a predictivity of 0.89, a sensitivity of 0.90 and a specificity of 0.88, which are very promising results. This shows that neck movement analysis combined with a neural network could build the basis of a decision support system for classifying suspected WAD, even though further evaluation of the method is needed.
Information Technology in Biomedicine, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:7 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Dec. 2003