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Abdominal organ segmentation is highly desirable but difficult, due to large differences between patients and to overlapping grey-scale values of the various tissue types. The first step in automating this process is to cluster together the pixels within each organ or tissue type. The authors propose to form images based on second-order statistical texture transforms (Haralick transforms) of a CT or MRI scan. The original scan plus the suite of texture transforms are then input into a Hopfield neural network (HNN). The network is constructed to solve an optimization problem, where the best solution is the minima of a Lyapunov energy function. On a sample abdominal CT scan, this process successfully clustered 79-100% of the pixels of seven abdominal organs. It is envisioned that this is the first step to automate segmentation. Active contouring (e.g., SNAKE's) or a back-propagation neural network can then be used to assign names to the clusters and fill in the incorrectly clustered pixels.
Date of Publication: July 1999