Medical Image Analysis 


Medical image computing (MIC) is an interdisciplinary field at the intersection of computer science, information engineering, electrical engineering, physics, mathematics, and medicine. This field develops computational and mathematical methods for solving problems pertaining to medical images and their use for biomedical research and clinical care.

The main goal of MIC is to extract clinically relevant information or knowledge from medical images. While closely related to the field of medical imaging, MIC focuses on the computational analysis of the images, not their acquisition. The methods can be grouped into several broad categories: image segmentation, image registration, image-based physiological modeling, and others.

Some examples: 

  • XRay, X-Ray images (2D): X-ray imaging is based on the fact that tissue will absorb photons from an X-ray beam in relation to the electron density of the tissue. This means that bones absorb more photons than lean tissue does.
  • The number of photons passing through the body of interest will then be detected either by film or now by image detectors that convert the body's direct attenuation of the photons into digital images. The resulting images are a two-dimensional projection of a three-dimensional structure. A disadvantage of X-ray-based techniques is ionizing radiation, which limits the usefulness of these techniques for longitudinal studies.
  • MRI, Magnetic Resonance Image (2D, 3D): Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that uses powerful magnets, radio waves, and a computer to make detailed pictures inside your body. Your doctor can use this test to diagnose you or to see how well you've responded to treatment. Unlike X-rays and computed tomography (CT) scans, MRIs do not use the damaging ionizing radiation of X-rays.
  • CT, Computerized Tomography (2D): Pictures of structures within the body created by a computer that takes the data from multiple X-ray images and turns them into pictures. The computerized tomography (CT) scan can reveal some soft tissue and other structures that cannot be seen in conventional X-rays. Using the same dosage of radiation as that of an ordinary X-ray machine, an entire slice of the body can be made visible with about 100 times more clarity with the CT scan.

The tomograms ("cuts") for CT are usually made 5 or 10 mm apart. The CT machine rotates 180 degrees around the patient's body. The machine sends out a thin X-ray beam at 160 different points. Crystals positioned at the opposite points of the beam pick up and record the absorption rates of the varying thicknesses of tissue and bone. The data are then relayed to a computer that turns the information into a 2-dimensional cross-sectional image. 

  • NM, Nuclear Medicine (3D): Nuclear medicine is a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive materials, or radiopharmaceuticals, to examine organ function and structure. Nuclear medicine imaging is a combination of many different disciplines. These include chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer technology, and medicine. This branch of radiology is often used to help diagnose and treat abnormalities very early in the progression of a disease, such as thyroid cancer. 

Because X-rays pass through soft tissue, such as intestines, muscles, and blood vessels, these tissues are difficult to visualize on a standard X-ray, unless a contrast agent is used. This allows the tissue to be seen more clearly. Nuclear imaging enables visualization of organ and tissue structure as well as function.

Personal appreciation 

Just as the signals, I do not like this field of biomedicine, but I understand it can be a significant tool that allows making advances in medicine, particularly for some very important diseases, such as cardiac or neuronal illnesses (such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer).

  • I worked in this field for a year, you can read my experience here .