Imaging and Diagnostics Publications
Histological studies from autopsy specimens have characterized hard exudates as a composition of lipid-laden macrophages or noncellular materials including lipid and proteinaceous substances (hyaline substances). However, the characteristics of hard exudates in living patients have not been examined due to insufficient resolution of existing equipment. In this study, we used adaptive optics scanning laser ophthalmoscopy (AO-SLO) to examine the characteristics of hard exudates in patients with retinal vascular diseases. High resolution imaging using AO-SLO enables morphological classification of retinal hard exudates into two types, which could not be distinguished either on fundus examination or by spectral domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT). One, termed a round type, consisted of an accumulation of spherical particles (average diameter of particles: 26.9 ± 4.4 μm). The other, termed an irregular type, comprised an irregularly shaped hyper-reflective deposition. The retinal thickness in regions with round hard exudates was significantly greater than the thickness in regions with irregular hard exudates (P = 0.01 →0.02). This differentiation of retinal hard exudates in patients by AO-SLO may help in understanding the pathogenesis and clinical prognosis of retinal vascular diseases.
Humans are very adept at extracting the "gist" of a scene in a fraction of a second. We have found that radiologists can discriminate normal from abnormal mammograms at above-chance levels after a half-second viewing (d' ∼ 1) but are at chance in localizing the abnormality. This pattern of results suggests that they are detecting a global signal of abnormality. What are the stimulus properties that might support this ability? We investigated the nature of the gist signal in four experiments by asking radiologists to make detection and localization responses about briefly presented mammograms in which the spatial frequency, symmetry, and/or size of the images was manipulated. We show that the signal is stronger in the higher spatial frequencies. Performance does not depend on detection of breaks in the normal symmetry of left and right breasts. Moreover, above-chance classification is possible using images from the normal breast of a patient with overt signs of cancer only in the other breast. Some signal is present in the portions of the parenchyma (breast tissue) that do not contain a lesion or that are in the contralateral breast. This signal does not appear to be a simple assessment of breast density but rather the detection of the abnormal gist may be based on a widely distributed image statistic, learned by experts. The finding that a global signal, related to disease, can be detected in parenchyma that does not contain a lesion has implications for improving breast cancer detection.
IMPORTANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may provide a novel complementary source for better understanding the epidemiologic factors of infectious eye diseases, which could better inform eye health care and disease prevention. OBJECTIVE: To assess whether data from internet-based social media and search engines are associated with objective clinic-based diagnoses of conjunctivitis. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: Data from encounters of 4143 patients diagnosed with conjunctivitis from June 3, 2012, to April 26, 2014, at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center, were analyzed using Spearman rank correlation of each weekly observation to compare demographics and seasonality of nonallergic conjunctivitis with allergic conjunctivitis. Data for patient encounters with diagnoses for glaucoma and influenza were also obtained for the same period and compared with conjunctivitis. Temporal patterns of Twitter and Google web search data, geolocated to the United States and associated with these clinical diagnoses, were compared with the clinical encounters. The a priori hypothesis was that weekly internet-based searches and social media posts about conjunctivitis may reflect the true weekly clinical occurrence of conjunctivitis. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Weekly total clinical diagnoses at UCSF of nonallergic conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis, glaucoma, and influenza were compared using Spearman rank correlation with equivalent weekly data on Tweets related to disease or disease-related keyword searches obtained from Google Trends. RESULTS: Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of nonallergic conjunctivitis among the 4143 patients (2364 females [57.1%] and 1776 males [42.9%]) with 5816 conjunctivitis encounters at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term pink eye (ρ, 0.68 [95% CI, 0.52 to 0.78]; P < .001) and correlated moderately with Twitter results about pink eye (ρ, 0.38 [95% CI, 0.16 to 0.56]; P < .001) and with clinical diagnosis of influenza (ρ, 0.33 [95% CI, 0.12 to 0.49]; P < .001), but did not significantly correlate with seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis diagnosis at UCSF (ρ, 0.21 [95% CI, -0.02 to 0.42]; P = .06) or with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.13 [95% CI, -0.06 to 0.32]; P = .19). Seasonality of clinical diagnoses of allergic conjunctivitis at UCSF correlated strongly with results of Google searches in the United States for the term eye allergy (ρ, 0.44 [95% CI, 0.24 to 0.60]; P < .001) and eye drops (ρ, 0.47 [95% CI, 0.27 to 0.62]; P < .001). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE: Internet-based search engine and social media data may reflect the occurrence of clinically diagnosed conjunctivitis, suggesting that these data sources can be leveraged to better understand the epidemiologic factors of conjunctivitis.