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JMIR Med Inform. 2021 Mar 15;9(3):e23415. doi: 10.2196/23415.


BACKGROUND: Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory disease with variable clinical presentations, including transient flushing, fixed erythema, papules, pustules, and phymatous changes on the central face. Owing to the diversity in the clinical manifestations of rosacea, the lack of objective biochemical examinations, and nonspecificity in histopathological findings, accurate identification of rosacea is a big challenge. Artificial intelligence has emerged as a potential tool in the identification and evaluation of some skin diseases such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and psoriasis.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to utilize a convolutional neural network (CNN) to differentiate the clinical photos of patients with rosacea (taken from 3 different angles) from those of patients with other skin diseases such as acne, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema that could be easily confused with rosacea.

METHODS: In this study, 24,736 photos comprising of 18,647 photos of patients with rosacea and 6089 photos of patients with other skin diseases such as acne, facial seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema were included and analyzed by our CNN model based on ResNet-50.

RESULTS: The CNN in our study achieved an overall accuracy and precision of 0.914 and 0.898, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.972 for the detection of rosacea. The accuracy of classifying 3 subtypes of rosacea, that is, erythematotelangiectatic rosacea, papulopustular rosacea, and phymatous rosacea was 83.9%, 74.3%, and 80.0%, respectively. Moreover, the accuracy and precision of our CNN to distinguish rosacea from acne reached 0.931 and 0.893, respectively. For the differentiation between rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and eczema, the overall accuracy of our CNN was 0.757 and the precision was 0.667. Finally, by comparing the CNN diagnosis with the diagnoses by dermatologists of different expertise levels, we found that our CNN system is capable of identifying rosacea with a performance superior to that of resident doctors or attending physicians and comparable to that of experienced dermatologists.

CONCLUSIONS: The findings of our study showed that by assessing clinical images, the CNN system in our study could identify rosacea with accuracy and precision comparable to that of an experienced dermatologist.

PMID:33720027 | DOI:10.2196/23415

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