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Pap smear testing is the examination of cells taken from the uterine cervix to detect signs of precancer- ous and cancerous changes.A properly taken and analyzed Pap smear can detect very early precancerous changes. These precancerous cells can then be eliminated,usually in a relatively simple,outpatient procedure.Detected early,cervical cancer has an almost 100 percent curerate.One of the great success stories of modern medicine is the 70 percent reduction in cervical cancer in countries where women regulary receive Pap smear testing. Traditionally,Pap smear testing relies on the human eye to look for abnormal cells under a microscope.It is the only large-scale laboratory test that is not automated.Since a patient with a serious abnormality can have fewer than a dozen abnormal cells among the 300,000-500,000 normal cells on her Pap smear,it is very difficult to detect all cases of early cancer using this"needle-in-a-haystack"search.Imagine proof-reading 80 books a day,each containing over 300,000 words,looking for a few books which possess a dozen spelling errors!Relying on this manual inspection alone makes it inevitable that some abnormal Pap smears will be missed,no matter how carefully the laboratory analalizes them.In fact,even the best laboratories can miss 10 to 30 percent of abnormal cases. PAPNET Computer-assisted Cytology Test(Neruomedical Systems,Inc.;Suffern,NY)represents a new ap- proach in the computer-assisted Pap smear testing.It uses a recent advance in computer technology known as neural network,to assist medical professionals in the examination of Pap smears.This system was developed by teaming artificial intelligence experts together with leading medical authorities in the field of Pap smear analysis. PAPNET computers screen and analyze each of the 300,000-500,000 cells in a Pap smear,and identify the 128 most suspicious cells for subsequent prescreening on high-resolution video monitors by trained cytotechnologists and cytopathologists.By eliminating the searching process and therefore,98 percent of the work,PAPNET re- duces the labratory technician's fatigue and improves the accuracy of diagnosis by as much as ten-fold.
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