A.I. detects skin cancer better than dermatologists in international study

Skin cancer detection won’t be turned over to machines anytime soon, but artificial intelligence detected skin cancer more accurately than a large group of international dermatologists in controlled testing, Agence France Presse reports.

In an academic study and clinical trial published in Annals of Oncology, the study’s lead author, Professor Holger A. Haenssle, of the University of Heidelberg Department of Dermatology, wrote, “Most dermatologists were outperformed by the CNN. Regardless of any physician’s level of experience, they may benefit from assistance by a CNN’s image classification.”

Man versus machine

The study pitted 58 dermatologists from 17 countries against a deep learning convolutional neural network (CNN).

Prior to the test, researchers from Germany, France, and the U.S.  taught the CNN to differentiate benign skin lesions from dangerous melanomas. In the process, the team showed more than 100,000 images of correctly identified skin cancers to the neural network, which was designed with Google’s Inception v4 CNN architecture.

The 58 dermatologists were divided into three self-identified groups: beginners with less than two years of experience, skilled with two to five years, and experts with more than five years of experience. There were 19 beginners, 11 skilled, and 30 experts among the group.

Two tests were run. In one test the dermatologists were shown 100 dermoscopic images with no other information. They were asked to indicate whether the cancer was a melanoma or benign. In addition, the doctors were asked whether they would recommend excision, short-term follow-up, or no action. Four weeks later the dermatologists were shown the same images again, this time with additional clinical information about the patients plus close-up images.

The results

The CNN scored higher than the overall group of dermatologists on both tests, with and without extra information. The dermatologists accurately identified an average of 86.5 percent of the skin cancers on the image-only test. In the second test, with more information, the doctors averaged 88.9 percent accuracy.  The CNN, however, correctly detected the types of cancers 95 percent of the time based on images only.

Rated by experience group, none of the three groups of dermatologists was as accurate as the neural network. The team did report, however, that 18 of the dermatologists scored higher than the CNN.

“The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists,” Haenssle said. It also “misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma … this would result in less unnecessary surgery.”

According to the authors of the study, the test does not mean machines will replace doctors. One issue is that melanomas can be difficult to recognize or image in some parts of the body such as the toes and scalp. The study calls for repeated, large-sized clinical tests.

The test does show, however, that dermatologists at all skill levels could benefit from A.I. assistance in skin cancer classification.

Product Review

Garmin’s Forerunner 245 Music is all a runner needs to measure performance

Garmin's new Forerunner 245 fitness watch offers advanced metrics, onboard color maps and music. Is this trio a winning combination? We put the watch through its paces to find out.
Movies & TV

The best movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Movies & TV

Prime-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Emerging Tech

The moon is shrinking as it loses heat, new images reveal

New research suggests the Moon is shrinking. NASA scientists have used data from their Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera to look at wrinkles in the surface of the Moon which are formed as it loses heat and shrinks in size.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google I/O wrap-up, Lyft and Uber strike, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the Google I/O conference, the Lyft and Uber strike, Amazon’s New York Go store, Germany’s electric delivery truck highway, Japan’s successful rocket launch, and more.

Fitbit’s kid-friendly Ace 2 fitness tracker now available for pre-order

Fitbit is now selling the Ace 2 fitness tracker for kids. The entry-level wearable counts steps, tracks active minutes, and monitors sleep to help keep kids active and encourage healthy habits throughout the day.
Product Review

Propella 2.2 is proof that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good ebike

Starting at $999, the Propella 2.2 ebike is well-equipped and affordable, yet still nimble and lightweight, which makes it a great option for bike commuters and urban riders who don’t want to break the bank.
Home Theater

Run to the beat of your favorite music with the best running headphones

Running is a great source of exercise but isn't always the most thrilling, especially when you're fiddling to keep your headphones in place. Check out our picks for the best headphones for running, so you never have to miss a beat again.
Health & Fitness

Coros pushes the limits with light, long-lasting Vertix adventure watch

Coros continues to turn heads in the fitness watch market. With a titanium frame and 45 days of battery life, the new Coros Vertix is the lightest and longest lasting adventure watch now available.
Smart Home

Trying to lose weight? The best bathroom scales measure more than pounds

Today's scales measure everything from your body mass index to your bone mass, and with connected apps and fitness trackers, could be the tool to help you reach your health and fitness goals.

The Garmin Forerunner 35 gets a $50 price slash on Amazon

If you’re looking for an easy way to keep track of your fitness goals, a fitness tracker might be just what you need. The Garmin Forerunner 35 is one of our all-time favorites, and it’s on sale right now for $120.
Emerging Tech

Think your kid might have an ear infection? This app can confirm it

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a new A.I.-powered smartphone app that’s able to listen for ear infections with a high level of accuracy. Here's how it works.

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that you sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Emerging Tech

UV-activated superglue could literally help to heal broken hearts

Scientists at China's Zhejiang University have developed a UV-activated adhesive glue that is capable of efficiently healing damage to organs, including the heart. Here's how it works.