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Open Access Technical advance

Computer-assisted lip diagnosis on traditional Chinese medicine using multi-class support vector machines

FuFeng Li12*, Changbo Zhao3, Zheng Xia2, Yiqin Wang1, Xiaobo Zhou2 and Guo-Zheng Li3*

Author affiliations

1 Laboratory of Information Access and Synthesis of TCM Four Diagnosis, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, 201203, China

2 Department of Radiology, The Methodist Hospital Research Institute & Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University, Houston, TX, USA

3 Department of Control Science & Engineering, Tongji University, Shanghai, 201804, China

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:127  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-127

Published: 16 August 2012

Abstract

Background

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the lip diagnosis is an important diagnostic method which has a long history and is applied widely. The lip color of a person is considered as a symptom to reflect the physical conditions of organs in the body. However, the traditional diagnostic approach is mainly based on observation by doctor’s nude eyes, which is non-quantitative and subjective. The non-quantitative approach largely depends on the doctor’s experience and influences accurate the diagnosis and treatment in TCM. Developing new quantification methods to identify the exact syndrome based on the lip diagnosis of TCM becomes urgent and important. In this paper, we design a computer-assisted classification model to provide an automatic and quantitative approach for the diagnosis of TCM based on the lip images.

Methods

A computer-assisted classification method is designed and applied for syndrome diagnosis based on the lip images. Our purpose is to classify the lip images into four groups: deep-red, red, purple and pale. The proposed scheme consists of four steps including the lip image preprocessing, image feature extraction, feature selection and classification. The extracted 84 features contain the lip color space component, texture and moment features. Feature subset selection is performed by using SVM-RFE (Support Vector Machine with recursive feature elimination), mRMR (minimum Redundancy Maximum Relevance) and IG (information gain). Classification model is constructed based on the collected lip image features using multi-class SVM and Weighted multi-class SVM (WSVM). In addition, we compare SVM with k-nearest neighbor (kNN) algorithm, Multiple Asymmetric Partial Least Squares Classifier (MAPLSC) and Naïve Bayes for the diagnosis performance comparison. All displayed faces image have obtained consent from the participants.

Results

A total of 257 lip images are collected for the modeling of lip diagnosis in TCM. The feature selection method SVM-RFE selects 9 important features which are composed of 5 color component features, 3 texture features and 1 moment feature. SVM, MAPLSC, Naïve Bayes, kNN showed better classification results based on the 9 selected features than the results obtained from all the 84 features. The total classification accuracy of the five methods is 84%, 81%, 79% and 81%, 77%, respectively. So SVM achieves the best classification accuracy. The classification accuracy of SVM is 81%, 71%, 89% and 86% on Deep-red, Pale Purple, Red and lip image models, respectively. While with the feature selection algorithm mRMR and IG, the total classification accuracy of WSVM achieves the best classification accuracy. Therefore, the results show that the system can achieve best classification accuracy combined with SVM classifiers and SVM-REF feature selection algorithm.

Conclusions

A diagnostic system is proposed, which firstly segments the lip from the original facial image based on the Chan-Vese level set model and Otsu method, then extracts three kinds of features (color space features, Haralick co-occurrence features and Zernike moment features) on the lip image. Meanwhile, SVM-REF is adopted to select the optimal features. Finally, SVM is applied to classify the four classes. Besides, we also compare different feature selection algorithms and classifiers to verify our system. So the developed automatic and quantitative diagnosis system of TCM is effective to distinguish four lip image classes: Deep-red, Purple, Red and Pale. This study puts forward a new method and idea for the quantitative examination on lip diagnosis of TCM, as well as provides a template for objective diagnosis in TCM.

Keywords:
Traditional chinese medicine; Computer-assisted lip diagnosis; Image analysis; Feature selection; Support vector machine