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In this paper, we propose a method based on association rule-mining to enhance the diagnosis of medical images (mammograms). It combines low-level features automatically extracted from images and high-level knowledge from specialists to search for patterns. Our method analyzes medical images and automatically generates suggestions of diagnoses employing mining of association rules. The suggestions of diagnosis are used to accelerate the image analysis performed by specialists as well as to provide them an alternative to work on. The proposed method uses two new algorithms, PreSAGe and HiCARe. The PreSAGe algorithm combines, in a single step, feature selection and discretization, and reduces the mining complexity. Experiments performed on PreSAGe show that this algorithm is highly suitable to perform feature selection and discretization in medical images. HiCARe is a new associative classifier. The HiCARe algorithm has an important property that makes it unique: it assigns multiple keywords per image to suggest a diagnosis with high values of accuracy. Our method was applied to real datasets, and the results show high sensitivity (up to 95%) and accuracy (up to 92%), allowing us to claim that the use of association rules is a powerful means to assist in the diagnosing task.
Date of Publication: Feb. 2008