New mobile app helps early detection of Alzheimer’s disease

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Researchers at Tsukuba University have developed a mobile application that uses voice data to detect early signs of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

The prototype application is designed to be user-friendly and self-administerable, covering the growing need for screening tools that can be used in everyday life.

Addressing the challenge of speech recognition in the elderly

Language impairments are common in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and the language features characteristic of these impairments can be used to automatically detect the disease.

However, automatic speech recognition tends to be less accurate in older people, which poses a challenge for the development of an automatic tool.

To solve this problem, the Tsukuba researchers collected and analyzed speech data from 114 participants, including AD patients, MCI patients, and cognitively normal participants.

Participants performed five cognitive tasks based on neuropsychological assessments for dementia screening, including image description and verbal skills tasks.

Promising results for early detection of Alzheimer’s and MCI

The results of the study showed that language impairments, especially those related to semantic aspects such as information content and vocabulary wealth, could be reliably estimated even with poor speech recognition accuracy.

By combining these linguistic features with acoustic and prosodic features of the participant’s voice, machine learning models were able to detect MCI and AD with an accuracy of 88% and 91%, respectively.

These results, published in the journal Computer Speech & Language, demonstrate the feasibility of an automated, self-administered screening tool to detect AD and MCI.

This is the first study to show that such a tool can reliably capture speech impairments from speech data obtained under poor conditions of automatic speech recognition accuracy.

Future Impact

The proposed tool could significantly improve access to early AD detection and allow interventions to start as early as the MCI stage, potentially preventing or delaying disease progression.

As this is a prototype, more research and development will likely be needed before the tool becomes widely available.

If you care about the health of your brain, please read studies about it Vitamin D deficiency linked to Alzheimer’s and vascular dementiaAnd Higher magnesium intake could improve brain health.

Further information on the subject of health can be found in current studies How drinking milk affects the risk of heart disease and cancerand results are displayed Strawberries could help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

The study was published In computer language and language.

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