New Automated System IDs Victims of Mass Disasters in Minutes

Nov 27, 2007, 00:00 ET from Radiological Society of North America

    CHICAGO, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A new, high-tech identification system
 developed in Japan will improve accuracy and significantly reduce the time
 it takes to identify victims of mass disasters, according to a study
 presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North
 America (RSNA).
 
     "Families waiting to hear news regarding loved ones experience trauma
 while waiting for the identification process to resolve," said Eiko Kosuge,
 D.D.S., dentist, radiologist and lecturer at the Department of Oral and
 Maxillofacial Radiology at Kanagawa Dental College in Japan. "With this new
 system, we can drastically cut the time and improve the accuracy of this
 process to help alleviate some of the emotional stress that occurs in the
 case of a mass disaster."
 
     Currently, all cases of dental identification in the wake of a mass
 disaster have to be handled one by one by forensic experts. After a mass
 disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, plane crash or act of terrorism,
 forensic experts must compare each victim's records with scores of dental
 records to try to make a proper identification. This can be very time
 consuming, taking weeks or months, and mistakes do occur.
 
     To address this problem, Dr. Kosuge and colleagues developed a novel,
 automated dental radiograph (x-ray) matching system that can not only
 reduce the task of forensic experts but also improve the accuracy of
 identification. According to Dr. Kosuge, the system can reduce the amount
 of work required for identification by up to 95 percent and produce matches
 at an average rate of less than four seconds each.
 
     The system uses a highly accurate image-matching technique called
 Phase-Only Correlation (POC). The technique is used to align images and
 measure their similarity. With POC, the system registers images, corrects
 distortion and calculates a matching score.
 
     For the study, the researchers used POC to analyze dental records of 60
 patients before and after dental treatment. The total number of pairs was
 3,600. The system produced three candidates to match each patient's x-ray.
 Computation time averaged 3.6 seconds per pair. The recognition rate was 87
 percent for the first candidate, increased to 98 percent for the second
 candidate and to 100 percent for the third. These top three candidates were
 then evaluated by forensic experts for the final matching decision, thus
 cutting the workload of the experts by 95 percent.
 
     "Our testing has demonstrated the accuracy and efficiency of the
 image-matching system," said study co-author Koichi Ito, Ph.D., assistant
 professor at the Graduate School of Information Sciences at Tohoku
 University in Japan.
 
     Drs. Kosuge and Ito predict that the system can be put into practice
 within a year.
 
     "In the case of a mass disaster, the public will never know that this
 system was used," Dr. Kosuge said. "What they will know is that instead of
 waiting a month for their loved ones to be returned, they will wait only
 days."
 
     Co-authors are R. Kawamata, D.D.S., I. Kashima, Ph.D., A. Nikaido,
 B.Eng., and T. Aoki, Ph.D.
 
     Note: Copies of RSNA 2007 news releases and electronic images will be
 available online at RSNA.org/press07 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.
 
     RSNA is an association of more than 41,000 radiologists, radiation
 oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to
 excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is
 based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)
 
     Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the
 printed abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as
 researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To
 ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA
 Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.
 
 
AT A GLANCE -- Researchers have developed an automated dental radiograph (x-ray) matching system that can identify victims of mass disasters in minutes. -- Until now, dental identification had to be performed by forensic experts and could take weeks or months. -- The new system, which uses a technology called Phase-Only Correlation (POC), is highly accurate.

SOURCE Radiological Society of North America
    CHICAGO, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- A new, high-tech identification system
 developed in Japan will improve accuracy and significantly reduce the time
 it takes to identify victims of mass disasters, according to a study
 presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North
 America (RSNA).
 
     "Families waiting to hear news regarding loved ones experience trauma
 while waiting for the identification process to resolve," said Eiko Kosuge,
 D.D.S., dentist, radiologist and lecturer at the Department of Oral and
 Maxillofacial Radiology at Kanagawa Dental College in Japan. "With this new
 system, we can drastically cut the time and improve the accuracy of this
 process to help alleviate some of the emotional stress that occurs in the
 case of a mass disaster."
 
     Currently, all cases of dental identification in the wake of a mass
 disaster have to be handled one by one by forensic experts. After a mass
 disaster such as an earthquake, tsunami, plane crash or act of terrorism,
 forensic experts must compare each victim's records with scores of dental
 records to try to make a proper identification. This can be very time
 consuming, taking weeks or months, and mistakes do occur.
 
     To address this problem, Dr. Kosuge and colleagues developed a novel,
 automated dental radiograph (x-ray) matching system that can not only
 reduce the task of forensic experts but also improve the accuracy of
 identification. According to Dr. Kosuge, the system can reduce the amount
 of work required for identification by up to 95 percent and produce matches
 at an average rate of less than four seconds each.
 
     The system uses a highly accurate image-matching technique called
 Phase-Only Correlation (POC). The technique is used to align images and
 measure their similarity. With POC, the system registers images, corrects
 distortion and calculates a matching score.
 
     For the study, the researchers used POC to analyze dental records of 60
 patients before and after dental treatment. The total number of pairs was
 3,600. The system produced three candidates to match each patient's x-ray.
 Computation time averaged 3.6 seconds per pair. The recognition rate was 87
 percent for the first candidate, increased to 98 percent for the second
 candidate and to 100 percent for the third. These top three candidates were
 then evaluated by forensic experts for the final matching decision, thus
 cutting the workload of the experts by 95 percent.
 
     "Our testing has demonstrated the accuracy and efficiency of the
 image-matching system," said study co-author Koichi Ito, Ph.D., assistant
 professor at the Graduate School of Information Sciences at Tohoku
 University in Japan.
 
     Drs. Kosuge and Ito predict that the system can be put into practice
 within a year.
 
     "In the case of a mass disaster, the public will never know that this
 system was used," Dr. Kosuge said. "What they will know is that instead of
 waiting a month for their loved ones to be returned, they will wait only
 days."
 
     Co-authors are R. Kawamata, D.D.S., I. Kashima, Ph.D., A. Nikaido,
 B.Eng., and T. Aoki, Ph.D.
 
     Note: Copies of RSNA 2007 news releases and electronic images will be
 available online at RSNA.org/press07 beginning Monday, Nov. 26.
 
     RSNA is an association of more than 41,000 radiologists, radiation
 oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists committed to
 excellence in patient care through education and research. The Society is
 based in Oak Brook, Ill. (RSNA.org)
 
     Editor's note: The data in these releases may differ from those in the
 printed abstract and those actually presented at the meeting, as
 researchers continue to update their data right up until the meeting. To
 ensure you are using the most up-to-date information, please call the RSNA
 Newsroom at 1-312-949-3233.
 
 
AT A GLANCE -- Researchers have developed an automated dental radiograph (x-ray) matching system that can identify victims of mass disasters in minutes. -- Until now, dental identification had to be performed by forensic experts and could take weeks or months. -- The new system, which uses a technology called Phase-Only Correlation (POC), is highly accurate. SOURCE Radiological Society of North America