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Image analysis helps diagnose parasitic disease

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Advanced imaging software has helped doctors to diagnose a rare disease by providing highly focused images of the guilty parasite.

The patient was suffering from epileptic fits caused by schistosomiasis, which is rare in the UK but common the Africa and Asia where the patient had been travelling. Several species of flatworm can cause the disease, and the doctors needed to study brain biopsies to determine which species were growing in the patient.

Normally, however, the eggs are too large to be sharply focused in a single focal plane at the required magnification, so the team at Addenbroke’s Hospital in Cambridge, UK, used Auto-Montage Pro from Syncroscopy to generate images with enough detail to determine the species.