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Performing blood counts automatically
Date:11/11/2010

The patient feels drawn and tired, keeps having a high temperature even after recovering from cold some time ago. The doctor suggests performing a differential blood count to try to determine the cause. He takes some blood and has it analyzed in the laboratory a routine procedure in medical diagnostics. In a differential blood count the leukocytes, the white blood cells, are quantitatively and qualitatively assessed. The values obtained assist further diagnosis and are important indicators for disorders such as inflammations, allergies as well as parasitic or autoimmune diseases. Usually blood samples are analyzed with the aid of blood counting machines. However, if abnormalities are seen in the sample the MLS must assess the abnormal cells manually a very time-consuming method. For the trained specialist at the microscope this means counting, counting and more counting.

With the HemaCAM, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen have developed a system that automates the assessment of blood counts and at the same time improves the quality of the findings. In collaboration with Horn Imaging GmbH the device has been approved in accordance with the Medicinal Product Guidelines. "The core idea was to combine a microscope with digital image processing," explains Dr. Christian Mnzemeyer, group manager for medical image processing at IIS. "Whereas existing methods such as flow cytometry are based on physical measuring methods, the HemaCAM imitates humans." Like a human eye, a camera looks through the microscope. Image processing software automatically analyzes up to eight abnormal blood smears and provides classification suggestions.

The expert describes the operation of the new diagnosis system, which makes working procedures in the laboratory more efficient: "For this we have trained our system with expert knowledge. The background to this is a database in which every cell has been entered manually. Computer
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Contact: Dr. Christian Muenzenmayer
christian.muenzenmayer@iis.fraunhofer.de
49-913-177-67310
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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