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In Computers in biology and medicine

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), a leading cause of chronic hepatic disease, can progress to liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Therefore, it is extremely important to explore early diagnosis and screening methods. In this study, we developed models based on computer tongue image analysis technology to observe the tongue characteristics of 1778 participants (831 cases of NAFLD and 947 cases of non-NAFLD). Combining quantitative tongue image features, basic information, and serological indexes, including the hepatic steatosis index (HSI) and fatty liver index (FLI), we utilized machine learning methods, including Logistic Regression, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Random Forest (RF), Gradient Boosting Decision Tree (GBDT), Adaptive Boosting Algorithm (AdaBoost), Naïve Bayes, and Neural Network for NAFLD diagnosis. The best fusion model for diagnosing NAFLD by Logistic Regression, which contained the tongue image parameters, waist circumference, BMI, GGT, TG, and ALT/AST, achieved an AUC of 0.897 (95% CI, 0.882-0.911), an accuracy of 81.70% with a sensitivity of 77.62% and a specificity of 85.22%; in addition, the positive likelihood ratio and negative likelihood ratio were 5.25 and 0.26, respectively. The application of computer intelligent tongue diagnosis technology can improve the accuracy of NAFLD diagnosis and may provide a convenient technical reference for the establishment of early screening methods for NAFLD, which is worth further research and verification.

Jiang Tao, Guo Xiao-Jing, Tu Li-Ping, Lu Zhou, Cui Ji, Ma Xu-Xiang, Hu Xiao-Juan, Yao Xing-Hua, Cui Long-Tao, Li Yong-Zhi, Huang Jing-Bin, Xu Jia-Tuo


Computer intelligent technology, Deep learning, Diagnostic model, NAFLD, Tongue image