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This article is the author's final published version in npj Microgravity, Volume 10, Issue 1, 2024, Article number 40.

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2024


Spaceflight associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) is one of the largest physiologic barriers to spaceflight and requires evaluation and mitigation for future planetary missions. As the spaceflight environment is a clinically limited environment, the purpose of this research is to provide automated, early detection and prognosis of SANS with a machine learning model trained and validated on astronaut SANS optical coherence tomography (OCT) images. In this study, we present a lightweight convolutional neural network (CNN) incorporating an EfficientNet encoder for detecting SANS from OCT images titled "SANS-CNN." We used 6303 OCT B-scan images for training/validation (80%/20% split) and 945 for testing with a combination of terrestrial images and astronaut SANS images for both testing and validation. SANS-CNN was validated with SANS images labeled by NASA to evaluate accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity. To evaluate real-world outcomes, two state-of-the-art pre-trained architectures were also employed on this dataset. We use GRAD-CAM to visualize activation maps of intermediate layers to test the interpretability of SANS-CNN's prediction. SANS-CNN achieved 84.2% accuracy on the test set with an 85.6% specificity, 82.8% sensitivity, and 84.1% F1-score. Moreover, SANS-CNN outperforms two other state-of-the-art pre-trained architectures, ResNet50-v2 and MobileNet-v2, in accuracy by 21.4% and 13.1%, respectively. We also apply two class-activation map techniques to visualize critical SANS features perceived by the model. SANS-CNN represents a CNN model trained and validated with real astronaut OCT images, enabling fast and efficient prediction of SANS-like conditions for spaceflight missions beyond Earth's orbit in which clinical and computational resources are extremely limited.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.