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Scientists Teach Computers How to Analyze Brain Cells


 A computer program considers which structures of a brain cell to identify.

Researchers at the Gladstone Institutes are studying whether computers can be trained to identify structures in unstained cells.

Credit: Steven Finkbeiner/Gladstone Institutes and UCSF

Researchers at the San Francisco-based Gladstone Institutes are studying whether computers can be trained to identify structures in unstained cells.

They used deep learning to train a computer program to analyze brain cells by showing it stained and unstained images, and then they tested the system with new, unlabeled images.

Following the first round of training, the program was able to identify where cells were located in the culture dish by learning to spot a cell's nucleus. In subsequent experiments, the team increased the complexity of the features the program was looking for, and successfully trained it to distinguish dead cells for living cells, as well as to identify specific types of brain cells.

"Now that we showed that this technology works, we can start using it in disease research," says Gladstone’s Steven Finkbeiner. "Deep learning may spot something in cells that could help predict clinical outcomes and can help us screen potential treatments."

From National Institutes of Health
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Abstracts Copyright © 2018 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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