Nonlinear analysis using Lyapunov exponents in breast thermograms to identify abnormal lesions
Ng, Eddie Yin-Kwee
Date of Issue2012
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Breast diseases are one of the major issues in women’s health today. Early detection of breast cancer plays a significant role in reducing the mortality rate. Breast thermography is a potential early detection method which is non-invasive, non-radiating, passive, fast, painless, low cost, risk free with no contact with the body. By identifying and removing malignant tumors in early stages before they metastasize and spread to neighboring regions, cancer threats can be minimized. Cancer is often characterized as a chaotic, poorly regulated growth. Cancerous cells, tumors, and vasculature defy have irregular shapes which have potential to be described by a nonlinear dynamical system. Chaotic time series can provide the tools necessary to generate the procedures to evaluate the nonlinear system. Computing Lyapunov exponents is thus a powerful means of quantifying the degree of the chaos. In this paper, we present a novel approach using nonlinear chaotic dynamical system theory for estimating Lyapunov exponents in establishing possible difference between malignant and benign patterns. In order to develop the algorithm, the first hottest regions of breast thermal images are identified first, and then one dimensional scalar time series is obtained in terms of the distance between each subsequent boundary contour points and the center of the mass of the first hottest region. In the next step, the embedding dimension is estimated, and by time delay embedding method, the phase space is reconstructed. In the last step, the Lyapunov exponents are computed to analyze normality or abnormality of the lesions. Positive Lyapunov exponents indicates abnormality while negative Lyapunov exponents represent normality. The normalized errors show the algorithm is satisfactorily, and provide a measure of chaos. It is shown that nonlinear analysis of breast thermograms using Lyapunov exponents may potentially capable of improving reliability of thermography in breast tumor detection as well as the possibility of differentiating between different classes of breast lesions.
Infrared physics & technology
© 2012 Elsevier B.V.