Simulation studies of data classification by artificial neural networks: potential applications in medical imaging and decision making

J Digit Imaging. 1993 May;6(2):117-25. doi: 10.1007/BF03168438.


Artificial neural networks are being investigated in the field of medical imaging as a means to facilitate pattern recognition and patient classification. In the work reported here, the effects of internal structure and the nature of input data on the performance of neural networks were investigated systematically using computer-simulated data. Network performance was evaluated quantitatively by means of receiver operating characteristic analysis and compared with the performance of an ideal statistical decision maker. We found that the relatively simple neural networks investigated in this study can perform at the level of an ideal decision maker. These simple networks were also found to learn accurately even when the training data are extremely unbalanced with respect to the prevalence of actually positive cases and to differentiate input data patterns by recognizing their unique characteristics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation*
  • Decision Making, Computer-Assisted*
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Humans
  • Neural Networks, Computer*
  • ROC Curve*