After years of education and training, physicians can sometimes struggle with the interpretation of microscope slides and mammograms. [Richard] Levenson, a pathologist who studies artificial intelligence for image analysis and other applications in biology and medicine, believes there is considerable room for enhancing the process.
“While new technologies are constantly being designed to enhance image acquisition, processing, and display, these potential advances need to be validated using trained observers to monitor quality and reliability,” Levenson said. “This is a difficult, time-consuming, and expensive process that requires the recruitment of clinicians as subjects for these relatively mundane tasks. “Pigeons’ sensitivity to diagnostically salient features in medical images suggest that they can provide reliable feedback on many variables at play in the production, manipulation, and viewing of these diagnostically crucial tools, and can assist researchers and engineers as they continue to innovate.”
“Pigeons do just as well as humans in categorizing digitized slides and mammograms of benign and malignant human breast tissue,” said Levenson.