Detecting diabetes mellitus and nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy using tongue color, texture, and geometry features

Bob Zhang, B. V.K. Vijaya Kumar, Dapeng Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

82 Citations (Scopus)


Diabetes mellitus (DM) and its complications leading to diabetic retinopathy (DR) are soon to become one of the 21st century's major health problems. This represents a huge financial burden to healthcare officials and governments. To combat this approaching epidemic, this paper proposes a noninvasive method to detect DM and nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), the initial stage of DR based on three groups of features extracted from tongue images. They include color, texture, and geometry. A noninvasive capture device with image correction first captures the tongue images. A tongue color gamut is established with 12 colors representing the tongue color features. The texture values of eight blocks strategically located on the tongue surface, with the additional mean of all eight blocks are used to characterize the nine tongue texture features. Finally, 13 features extracted from tongue images based on measurements, distances, areas, and their ratios represent the geometry features. Applying a combination of the 34 features, the proposed method can separate Healthy/DM tongues as well as NPDR/DM-sans NPDR (DM samples without NPDR) tongues using features from each of the three groups with average accuracies of 80.52% and 80.33%, respectively. This is on a database consisting of 130 Healthy and 296 DM samples, where 29 of those in DM are NPDR.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6603314
Pages (from-to)491-501
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014


  • Diabetes mellitus (DM) detection
  • nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) detection
  • tongue color features
  • tongue geometry features
  • tongue texture features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Detecting diabetes mellitus and nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy using tongue color, texture, and geometry features'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this