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posted by martyb on Thursday May 08 2014, @03:15PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]

Bryan F. Shaw, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in Baylor's College of Arts and Sciences. When his son was diagnosed with retinoblastoma (the formation of tumors on the retina) he learned that "white eye" (a white spot appearing in the pupil) was a sign of leukocoria which is a precursor to the disease.

This led him to research old photographs of his son to see if they showed the white eye symptom. His research indicated that, indeed, the symptom was present as early as 12 days old. Since his investigation, investigators at Baylor and Harvard University have reviewed more than 7,000 photographs to determine the presence of the symptoms. Dr. Shaw is developing software that can detect the "white eye" symptom in the photographs of children.

Ultimately, Shaw would like to see this software available anywhere there's a picture of a child. "I would like this application, this software, to be free, and I would want it anywhere a picture of a kid is: your laptop computer, your Flickr account, your Facebook account, your phone, your camera," Shaw says. "I don't care where."

Dr. Shaw will need more samples to validate the detector, both from parents who have had their children diagnosed with retinoblastoma, and those without. His goal is to improve the symptom detection methodology while reducing the incidence of false positives.

You can submit a photo for analysis, but be mindful that this is currently version 0.1 of the software.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by skullz on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:32PM

    by skullz (2532) on Thursday May 08 2014, @04:32PM (#40945)

    I think that what this guy is doing is good but they seem to be stuck on the software and the complex techniques to automatically flag it. How about, right now, a blog with some example pictures and some advice on how to get a good shot / angle? False positives with software would be a nightmare but how about just looking at the picture?

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Angry Jesus on Thursday May 08 2014, @05:46PM

      by Angry Jesus (182) on Thursday May 08 2014, @05:46PM (#40971)

      There are already websites out there exactly like what you are asking for. Tons of news [thv11.com] stories, [hlntv.com] youtube videos [youtube.com] and dedicated informational sites. [knowtheglow.org]

      The fact that you didn't know about them shows why this software is important -- it doesn't require educating the public in order to be useful. Facebook could make it part of their standard photo upload process and alert people when it finds something. They are already running facial recognition on all the photos, at least this would benefit society.

      • (Score: 2) by skullz on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:02PM

        by skullz (2532) on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:02PM (#40975)

        Thanks for the links, very informative (someone mod Jesus up!). Going to go blast my kids with the flash ASAP.

      • (Score: 2) by tynin on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:51PM

        by tynin (2013) on Thursday May 08 2014, @06:51PM (#40995) Journal

        Very informative. I had no idea about this. One should hope if you have a kid, and took them in for regular check ups, that the doctor would notice. However I still plan on checking out my sons eyes tonight.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:24PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:24PM (#41016)

          I had no idea about this

          Over a decade ago, I would listen to the radio broadcasts of Dean Edell MD.
          He was mentioning this repeatedly even back then (minus the software).
          I guess we need more parenting (self-)support groups to share knowledge (the Cooperatives thing yet again).

          -- gewg_

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by MozeeToby on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:05PM

            by MozeeToby (1118) on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:05PM (#41061)

            Because 4 cases per million kids makes worrying about it a losing proposition. You can't worry about everything that can affect your kid. You certainly can't know the details of how to detect every one in 250,000 chance risk that your child faces growing up. It's just not possible.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:25PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @09:25PM (#41064)

              The network effect, crowdsourcing, the Many Eyes thing, 6 degrees of separation--there are lots of names for what I'm referencing.
              It only takes 1 someone who heard Dr. Dean, or who knows someone who is aware, or knows someone who knows someone who is aware.
              Guilds, user groups, support groups, cooperatives--whatever you want to call them--I'm saying they're a Good Thing(tm).

              -- gewg_

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:36PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 08 2014, @07:36PM (#41023)

        ...And a Wikipedia page. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leukocoria [wikipedia.org]

    • (Score: 2) by sjames on Thursday May 08 2014, @10:56PM

      by sjames (2882) on Thursday May 08 2014, @10:56PM (#41091) Journal

      It's fairly simple. It is exactly like the redeye effect but it's white due to the condition of the retina. So if you see a picture with red eye but someone has one red, one white, they need to see an ophthalmologist.