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In Frontiers in physiology

The quality of tongue images has a significant influence on the performance of tongue diagnosis in Chinese medicine. During the acquisition process, the quality of the tongue image is easily affected by factors such as the illumination, camera parameters, and tongue extension of the subject. To ensure that the quality of the collected images meet the diagnostic criteria of traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners, we propose a deep learning model to evaluate the quality of tongue images. First, we acquired the tongue images of the patients under different lighting conditions, exposures, and tongue extension conditions using the inspection instrument, and experienced Chinese physicians manually screened them into high-quality and unqualified tongue datasets. We then designed a multi-task deep learning network to classify and evaluate the quality of tongue images by adding tongue segmentation as an auxiliary task, as the two tasks are related and can promote each other. Finally, we adaptively designed different task weight coefficients of a multi-task network to obtain better tongue image quality assessment (IQA) performance, as the two tasks have relatively different contributions in the loss weighting scheme. Experimental results show that the proposed method is superior to the traditional deep learning tongue IQA method, and as an additional task of the network, it can output the tongue segmentation area, which provides convenience for follow-up clinical tongue diagnosis. In addition, we used network visualization to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method qualitatively.

Xian Huimin, Xie Yanyan, Yang Zizhu, Zhang Linzi, Li Shangxuan, Shang Hongcai, Zhou Wu, Zhang Honglai


deep learning, multi-task learning model, tongue image quality assessment, tongue segmentation, traditional Chinese medicine