A "Verbal Thermometer" for Assessing Neurodegenerative Disease: Automated Measurement of Pronoun and Verb Ratio from Speech

William Jarrold, Adria Rofes, Stephen Wilson, Peter Pressman, Edward Stabler, Marilu Gorno-Tempini

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    2 Citaten (Scopus)

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    Clinicians often use speech to characterize neurodegenerative disorders. Such characterizations require clinical judgment, which is subjective and can require extensive training. Quantitative Production Analysis (QPA) can be used to obtain objective quantifiable assessments of patient functioning. However, such human-based analyses of speech are costly and time consuming. Inexpensive off-the-shelf technologies such as speech recognition and part of speech taggers may avoid these problems. This study evaluates the ability of an automatic speech to text transcription system and a part of speech tagger to assist with measuring pronoun and verb ratios, measures based on QPA. Five participant groups provided spontaneous speech samples. One group consisted of healthy controls, while the remaining groups represented four subtypes of frontotemporal dementia. Findings indicated measurement of pronoun and verb ratio was robust despite errors introduced by automatic transcription and the tagger and despite these off-the-shelf products not having been trained on the language obtained from speech of the included population.

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