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Use of Shape Models to Search Digitized Spine X-Rays
We are building a biomedical information resource consisting of digitized x-ray images and associated textual data from national health surveys. This resource, the Web-based Medical Information Retrieval System, or WebMIRS, is currently in beta test. In a future WebMIRS system, we plan to have not only text and raw image data, but quantitative anatomical feature information derived from the images and capability to retrieve images based on image characteristics, either alone or in conjunction with text descriptions associated with the images. Our archive consists of data collected in the second and third National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES), conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics. For the NHANES II survey, the records contain information for approximately 20,000 participants. Each record contains about two thousand data points, including demographic information, answers to health questionnaires, anthropometric information, and the results of a physician's examination. In addition, approximately 10,000 cervical spine and 7,000 lumbar spine x-rays were collected. WebMRS makes the text and images retrievable. Only raw images are returned; no quantitative or descriptive information about the images is stored in the database. We are conducting research into the problem of automatically or semi-automatically segmenting spine vertebrae in these images and determining vertebral boundaries with enough accuracy to be useful in classifying the vertebrae into categories of interest to researchers in osteoarthritis.