AI-based speech pattern analysis may allow Alzheimer's diagnosis by phone


Patterns of speech in a phone conservation can be used to correctly identify adults in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, a study published Wednesday by the journal PLOS found. Using more than 1,600 voice recordings of phone conversations made from 24 people with confirmed Alzheimer's and 99 healthy controls, researchers correctly identified those with the common form of dementia with roughly 90% accuracy, the data showed. The approach relies on the tendency of people with Alzheimer's "to speak more slowly and with longer pauses and to spend more time finding the correct word," the researchers said. These "vocal features" result in "broken messages and lack of speech fluency," which can be analyzed using an artificial intelligence-based program. The computer program was able to identify those with early Alzheimer's with essentially the same level of accuracy as a telephone-based test for cognitive function, according to the researchers.

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