Neural networks in radiology: An introduction and evaluation in a signal detection task

John M Boone, V. G. Sigillito, G. S. Shaber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Scopus citations


Neural networks are a computer architecture, implementable in software or hardware, that allow an entirely new approach to the computerized perception of data. These so-called connectionist models are inspired by what is known about the architecture of biological neurons, in which the 'intelligence' or processing capability of the network is a result of the interconnection strengths between large arrays of nonlinear processing nodes. Neural networks are described and then are used to analyze the common radiological problem of pattern recognition on a noisy background. Classical signal detection theory is used to compare network performance against that of human observers, using computer-generated sets of very simple 'nodules'. The neural network performed with better accuracy, relative to human observer performance, in the detection of this elementary test object. Although these results may not scale up with more complex images, the favorable performance of neural networks at this level suggests that further investigation is warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)234-241
Number of pages8
JournalMedical Physics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • connectionist models
  • neural networks
  • receiver operating curve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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