# how do i count an overlapping cells image as a single cells instead of one big cell using image processing tool?

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Muhammad Asyraf on 22 Jan 2014
Answered: izyan hanum on 12 Mar 2015
hi, I am a new user of MATLAB image processing tools and i want to process an image of sputum cells sample to detect how many cells are there in one sample image. but in some case, two or more cell are overlap. the problem are, the are difficult to find a suitable features to detect the cell as the cell are not fix in shape, size, length. i try to detect and count the nucleus inside the cell however there some cells that have no nucleus. so how do i detect the cell as single cells.i here attach a sample image. thank you.

Image Analyst on 22 Jan 2014
Since you can't reliably count cells - even a person couldn't do it - then what you do in these cases is to measure what you can measure. And what you can measure is the size of an individual cell, and the area of all cells. So measure blob areas in the usual way, then throw out blobs bigger than a certain size because they must be agglomerates of more than 1 cell. So now you can find the average cell size. Now you can get the area of all red things in the image and you just divide by the area of a single cell to get the number of cells in the image. Most likely you'll find that that measurement correlates as well with whatever you're trying to correlate with than if you were able to get the exact cell count. Chances are it will be just as good a measurement.

#### 1 Comment

Muhammad Asyraf on 22 Jan 2014
Thank you for your quick response. honestly, im still very new in using matlab. correct me if im wrong. do u mean that i need to find the size of a single cell and then eliminates other cells which exceed of the size value of the single cell?how can i find the average cell size?

izyan hanum on 12 Mar 2015
muhammad asyraf i have same problem with you. can you help me how to measure the cell. aduhh tolong lah :(