Breast cancer screening: researchers develop an algorithm to limit the number of false positives

Breast cancer screening is done by medical imaging and by an analysis of the images by two radiologists… And to avoid missing anything, we are looking for techniques with very high sensitivity… and who says high sensitivity, says risk of false positives… that is to say that we will decree that a case is suspect when there are no cancers.

This has consequences in particular on the patients because a suspicion of cancer leads to the performance of a biopsy, where a piece of tissue is taken… a gesture that is therefore invasive.

And this number of false positives is not negligible: it represents ¼ of the examinations, 25%.

To try to limit this number, we can therefore use deep learning…. trained artificial intelligence. This is what these researchers have developed.

For this, they used more than 20,000 MRI images from 14,000 patients. This is a particularly large volume of data for this type of study. And they show on the one hand that the algorithm is as efficient as a radiologist…

And on the other hand, that by using a single radiologist combined with this algorithm, we could reduce the number of false positives by 20%. Irene Buvat is a CNRS research director. She directs the translational imaging laboratory in oncology at Inserm and Institut Curie.


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New treatment reduces cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease

These are the mid-term results of a clinical trial conducted on nearly 1,800 patients at an early stage of the disease. This is an announcement made by the Eisai laboratory, for the moment no results have been published.

The drug in question is called lecanemab. It is a monoclonal antibody designed to eliminate clusters of proteins in the brain, which would be, because it is still debated, at the origin of Alzheimer’s disease.

For 18 months, these patients received intravenous infusions of this drug or a placebo. And their cognition was then rated on an 18-point scale. As a result, the treatment reportedly improved cognition by half a point and reduced the overall rate of cognitive decline by 27%. Promising results but many researchers remain cautious…because this is an announcement of course, but also because the benefit provided is, according to them, quite low.

SpaceX could help NASA extend the life of Hubble

Hubble was launched in 1990 and it is still active. But a problem arises: because of the friction with the atmosphere, Hubble descends slowly towards the Earth. Initially positioned at an orbit of 600 km, it now flies around 540 km. And there is no propulsion on board…

The American space agency entrusted the firm of Elon Musk with a feasibility study. It must make it possible to determine whether it would be possible to moor to the telescope and to move it to a more stable orbit therefore… to raise it. Without this, Hubble is estimated to have a high chance of falling to Earth by 2037.

Planting trees in the desert does not reduce the impacts of global warming, on the contrary

Afforestation of the world’s drylands has been suggested as a way to reduce global warming. The idea is to plant trees so they can recapture CO2 from the atmosphere. But what is the real effect of this action?

These Israeli researchers are not only interested in the carbon footprint of this forestation, but in its total impact. And they found that the climate benefits are minor. The effect of carbon sequestration is counteracted by another effect, that of the reduction of the reflective power of the forest. Desert lands are usually light and therefore reflect sunlight, while forests are dark and tend to absorb it. On a large scale, such a reduction in reflectivity can generate significant warming effects… planting trees in these environments… could therefore in turn produce warming. The authors point out that reforestation remains an important lever, but that it cannot replace an overall reduction in emissions.

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Breast cancer screening: researchers develop an algorithm to limit the number of false positives

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