Using a multi-agent system approach for microaneurysm detection in fundus images

Carla Pereira, Diana Veiga, Jason Mahdjoub, Zahia Guessoum, Luís Gonçalves, Manuel Ferreira, João Monteiro
Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 2014, 60 (3): 179-88

OBJECTIVE: Microaneurysms represent the first sign of diabetic retinopathy, and their detection is fundamental for the prevention of vision impairment. Despite several research attempts to develop an automated system to detect microaneurysms in fundus images, none has shown the level of performance required for clinical practice. We propose a new approach, based on a multi-agent system model, for microaneurysm segmentation.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A multi-agent based approach, preceded by a preprocessing phase to allow construction of the environment in which agents are situated and interact, is presented. The proposed method is applied to two available online datasets and results are compared to other previously described approaches.

RESULTS: Microaneurysm segmentation emerges from agent interaction. The final score of the proposed approach was 0.240 in the Retinopathy Online Challenge.

CONCLUSIONS: We achieved competitive results, primarily in detecting microaneurysms close to vessels, compared to more conventional algorithms. Despite these results not being optimum, they are encouraging and reveal that some improvements may be made.

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