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Title: Thermal and visual imaging and accelerometry developments to assist with arthritis diagnosis
Author: Nwaizu, Harriet Uchenna
ISNI:       0000 0004 8509 5108
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2019
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Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is a disease that causes pain and inflammation in the joints of children. Its early diagnosis is important to avoid damage to the joints. Joint warmth, redness and movement restriction may be indicators of active arthritis hence accurate objective means to measure temperature, colour and range of movement (ROM) at the joint may assist diagnosis. In this study, three techniques with a potential to assist clinicians in diagnosing JIA were developed. These were based on high-resolution thermal imaging (HRTI), visual imaging and accelerometry. A detailed correlation analysis was performed between the developed methods and the consultant's clinical assessment of JIA diagnosis. Twenty-two patients (age: mean=10.6 years, SD = 2 years) with JIA diagnosis were recruited. 18 participated in the thermal/visual imaging study only, 2 in the accelerometry study only and 2 in both thermal/visual imaging and accelerometry studies. Thermal and visual images of the front and back of the knees and ankles of 20 patients were studied. All ethical approvals from Sheffield Hallam University and the National Health Service (NHS) were duly obtained before commencing the study. The thermal/visual imaging study involved developing image processing techniques to accurately identify and segment the regions of interest (ROIs). A tracking algorithm to accurately locate the ROIs was also implemented. An accelerometry system that is capable of recording movements from 4 channels was developed and its signals were processed by frequency spectrum analysis, short-time Fourier transform and wavelet packet analysis. The thermal imaging results showed a combined 71% correlation (for the front of knees and ankles) with clinical assessment. It may be possible that patients whom their arthritic joint was cooler than their healthy joints may have relied on their healthy leg more extensively for mobility (due to the pain on the arthritic leg) thus increasing its joints temperature. It was also found that JIA may affect the skin colour with a combined 42% correlation between the knees and ankles. The accelerometry results showed a 75% correlation with clinical assessment. The study for the first time brought together the three techniques of thermal imaging, visual imaging and accelerometry to assist with JIA diagnosis. The study demonstrated that the developed techniques have potential in assisting clinicians with JIA diagnosis. Improvements in timely diagnosis allow more effective treatment and can reduce the likelihood of joint damage in rheumatoid arthritis.
Supervisor: Saatchi, Reza Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available