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In Medical & biological engineering & computing ; h5-index 32.0

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder that typically affects people between 23 and 60 years old causing chronic synovial inflammation, symmetrical polyarthritis, destruction of large and small joints, and chronic disability. Clinical diagnosis of RA is stablished by current ACR-EULAR criteria, and it is crucial for starting conventional therapy in order to minimize damage progression. The 2010 ACR-EULAR criteria include the presence of swollen joints, elevated levels of rheumatoid factor or anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA), elevated acute phase reactant, and duration of symptoms. In this paper, a computer-aided system for helping in the RA diagnosis, based on quantitative and easy-to-acquire variables, is presented. The participants in this study were all female, grouped into two classes: class I, patients diagnosed with RA (n = 100), and class II corresponding to controls without RA (n = 100). The novel approach is constituted by the acquisition of thermal and RGB images, recording their hand grip strength or gripping force. The weight, height, and age were also obtained from all participants. The color layout descriptors (CLD) were obtained from each image for having a compact representation. After, a wrapper forward selection method in a range of classification algorithms included in WEKA was performed. In the feature selection process, variables such as hand images, grip force, and age were found relevant, whereas weight and height did not provide important information to the classification. Our system obtains an AUC ROC curve greater than 0.94 for both thermal and RGB images using the RandomForest classifier. Thirty-eight subjects were considered for an external test in order to evaluate and validate the model implementation. In this test, an accuracy of 94.7% was obtained using RGB images; the confusion matrix revealed our system provides a correct diagnosis for all participants and failed in only two of them (5.3%). Graphical abstract.

Alarcón-Paredes Antonio, Guzmán-Guzmán Iris P, Hernández-Rosales Diana E, Navarro-Zarza José E, Cantillo-Negrete Jessica, Cuevas-Valencia René E, Alonso Gustavo A


Computer-aided diagnosis, Gripping force, Machine learning, Medical assistive strategy, Rheumatoid arthritis