Section: Scientific Foundations
Management of information and knowledge in medical imaging and image-guided neurosurgery
There is a strong need of a better sharing and a broader re-use of medical data and knowledge in the neuroimaging and neurosurgical fields. One of the most difficult problems is to represent this information in such a way that the structure and semantics are shared between the cognitive agents involved (i.e. programs and humans). This issue is not new, but the recent evolution of computer and networking technology (most notably, the Internet) increases information and processing tools sharing possibilities, and therefore makes this issue prevailing. The notion of “semantic web” denotes a major change in the way computer applications will share information semantics in the future, with a great impact on available infrastructures and tools. In coherence with the rest of our research topics, we are focussing on brain imaging and neurosurgery. For brain imaging, this deals with accessing, referring to, and using knowledge in the field of brain imaging, whatever the kind of knowledge - either general knowledge (e.g. models of anatomical structures, “know-how” knowledge such as image processing tools), or related to individuals (such as a database of healthy subjects' images). This covers both information of a numerical nature (i.e. derived from measurements such as images or 3D surfaces depicting anatomical features), of a symbolic nature (such as salient properties, names - referring to common knowledge - and relationships between entities), as well as processing tools available in a shared environment. Two major aspects are considered: (1) representing anatomical or anatomo-functional data and knowledge and (2) sharing neuroimaging data and processing tools. For neurosurgery, this deals with modeling and understanding the procedural and conceptual knowledge involved in the peri-operative process. This improved understanding and the associated formalization would lead to the development of context aware and intelligent surgical assist systems. Following an ontological approach, models should be defined for describing concepts and associated semantics used by the neurosurgeons when taking a decision or performing an action. Then, methods are required for acquiring/capturing both types of knowledge. Knowledge acquisition could be performed following different elicitation strategies, such as observations, interviews with experts, protocol or discourse analysis. Then we aim at analyzing the acquired data for better understanding of the surgical knowledge and for extracting formal models of surgical knowledge. We will focus on two aspects: 1) the procedural knowledge dedicated to the surgical scenario followed by the surgeon when performing a surgical procedure including main phases and the list of activities and 2) the conceptual knowledge involved in the cognitive processes followed by the surgeon in problem solving.