In clinical settings, simple 2D displays of human arteries have been shown more effective than traditional 3D rainbow models

Hanspeter and Michelle

Cambridge, Mass. – October 27, 2011 – A team of computer scientists, physicists, and physicians at Harvard have developed a simple yet powerful method of visualizing human arteries that may result in more accurate diagnoses of atherosclerosis and heart disease.

The prototype tool, called “HemoVis,” creates a 2D diagram of arteries that performs better than the traditional 3D, rainbow-colored model. In a clinical setting, the tool has been shown to increase diagnostic accuracy from 39% to 91%.

Presented today at the IEEE Information Visualization Conference(InfoVis 2011), the new visualization method offers insight to clinicians, imaging specialists, engineers, and others in a wide range of fields who need to explore and evaluate complex, branching structures.

“Our goal was to design a visual representation of the data that was as accurate and efficient for patient diagnosis as possible,” says lead author Michelle Borkin, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). “What we found is that the prettiest, most popular visualization is not always the most effective.” …

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