Collaborating Authors

Multimodal Inductive Transfer Learning for Detection of Alzheimer's Dementia and its Severity Machine Learning

Alzheimer's disease is estimated to affect around 50 million people worldwide and is rising rapidly, with a global economic burden of nearly a trillion dollars. This calls for scalable, cost-effective, and robust methods for detection of Alzheimer's dementia (AD). We present a novel architecture that leverages acoustic, cognitive, and linguistic features to form a multimodal ensemble system. It uses specialized artificial neural networks with temporal characteristics to detect AD and its severity, which is reflected through Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) scores. We first evaluate it on the ADReSS challenge dataset, which is a subject-independent and balanced dataset matched for age and gender to mitigate biases, and is available through DementiaBank. Our system achieves state-of-the-art test accuracy, precision, recall, and F1-score of 83.3% each for AD classification, and state-of-the-art test root mean squared error (RMSE) of 4.60 for MMSE score regression. To the best of our knowledge, the system further achieves state-of-the-art AD classification accuracy of 88.0% when evaluated on the full benchmark DementiaBank Pitt database. Our work highlights the applicability and transferability of spontaneous speech to produce a robust inductive transfer learning model, and demonstrates generalizability through a task-agnostic feature-space. The source code is available at

Alzheimer's Dementia Recognition through Spontaneous Speech: The ADReSS Challenge Machine Learning

The ADReSS Challenge at INTERSPEECH 2020 defines a shared task through which different approaches to the automated recognition of Alzheimer's dementia based on spontaneous speech can be compared. ADReSS provides researchers with a benchmark speech dataset which has been acoustically pre-processed and balanced in terms of age and gender, defining two cognitive assessment tasks, namely: the Alzheimer's speech classification task and the neuropsychological score regression task. In the Alzheimer's speech classification task, ADReSS challenge participants create models for classifying speech as dementia or healthy control speech. In the the neuropsychological score regression task, participants create models to predict mini-mental state examination scores. This paper describes the ADReSS Challenge in detail and presents a baseline for both tasks, including feature extraction procedures and results for classification and regression models. ADReSS aims to provide the speech and language Alzheimer's research community with a platform for comprehensive methodological comparisons. This will hopefully contribute to addressing the lack of standardisation that currently affects the field and shed light on avenues for future research and clinical applicability.

A Longitudinal Multi-modal Dataset for Dementia Monitoring and Diagnosis Artificial Intelligence

Dementia is a family of neurogenerative conditions affecting memory and cognition in an increasing number of individuals in our globally aging population. Automated analysis of language, speech and paralinguistic indicators have been gaining popularity as potential indicators of cognitive decline. Here we propose a novel longitudinal multi-modal dataset collected from people with mild dementia and age matched controls over a period of several months in a natural setting. The multi-modal data consists of spoken conversations, a subset of which are transcribed, as well as typed and written thoughts and associated extra-linguistic information such as pen strokes and keystrokes. We describe the dataset in detail and proceed to focus on a task using the speech modality. The latter involves distinguishing controls from people with dementia by exploiting the longitudinal nature of the data. Our experiments showed significant differences in how the speech varied from session to session in the control and dementia groups.

Comparing Natural Language Processing Techniques for Alzheimer's Dementia Prediction in Spontaneous Speech Machine Learning

Alzheimer's Dementia (AD) is an incurable, debilitating, and progressive neurodegenerative condition that affects cognitive function. Early diagnosis is important as therapeutics can delay progression and give those diagnosed vital time. Developing models that analyse spontaneous speech could eventually provide an efficient diagnostic modality for earlier diagnosis of AD. The Alzheimer's Dementia Recognition through Spontaneous Speech task offers acoustically pre-processed and balanced datasets for the classification and prediction of AD and associated phenotypes through the modelling of spontaneous speech. We exclusively analyse the supplied textual transcripts of the spontaneous speech dataset, building and comparing performance across numerous models for the classification of AD vs controls and the prediction of Mental Mini State Exam scores. We rigorously train and evaluate Support Vector Machines (SVMs), Gradient Boosting Decision Trees (GBDT), and Conditional Random Fields (CRFs) alongside deep learning Transformer based models. We find our top performing models to be a simple Term Frequency-Inverse Document Frequency (TF-IDF) vectoriser as input into a SVM model and a pre-trained Transformer based model `DistilBERT' when used as an embedding layer into simple linear models. We demonstrate test set scores of 0.81-0.82 across classification metrics and a RMSE of 4.58.

Artificial Intelligence, speech and language processing approaches to monitoring Alzheimer's Disease: a systematic review Artificial Intelligence

Language is a valuable source of clinical information in Alzheimer's Disease, as it declines concurrently with neurodegeneration. Consequently, speech and language data have been extensively studied in connection with its diagnosis. This paper summarises current findings on the use of artificial intelligence, speech and language processing to predict cognitive decline in the context of Alzheimer's Disease, detailing current research procedures, highlighting their limitations and suggesting strategies to address them. We conducted a systematic review of original research between 2000 and 2019, registered in PROSPERO (reference CRD42018116606). An interdisciplinary search covered six databases on engineering (ACM and IEEE), psychology (PsycINFO), medicine (PubMed and Embase) and Web of Science. Bibliographies of relevant papers were screened until December 2019. From 3,654 search results 51 articles were selected against the eligibility criteria. Four tables summarise their findings: study details (aim, population, interventions, comparisons, methods and outcomes), data details (size, type, modalities, annotation, balance, availability and language of study), methodology (pre-processing, feature generation, machine learning, evaluation and results) and clinical applicability (research implications, clinical potential, risk of bias and strengths/limitations). While promising results are reported across nearly all 51 studies, very few have been implemented in clinical research or practice. We concluded that the main limitations of the field are poor standardisation, limited comparability of results, and a degree of disconnect between study aims and clinical applications. Attempts to close these gaps should support translation of future research into clinical practice.