More verbs and fewer nouns: what AI reveals about how people with Parkinson's speak

More verbs and fewer nouns: what AI reveals about how people with Parkinson’s speak

Thanks to the’artificial intelligence, scientists have succeeded in highlighting language differences in patients with Parkinson’s disease. I’analysis of many conversations allowed us to make the following observation: people with Parkinson’s use more verbs and fewer nouns than others.

The results of the study, published in the journal Parkinsonism & Related Disorders (Source 1), suggest that the use of such an AI could be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease, both language differences would be noticeable and relevant.

Our results suggest that even in the absence of cognitive decline, the conversations of patients with Parkinson’s disease differed from those of healthy subjects.”, commented Professor Katsuno, responsible for the study, in a press release (source 2). “When we attempted to identify PD patients or healthy controls based on these conversational changes, we were able to identify PD patients with an accuracy of more than 80%. This result suggests the possibility of a language analysis using [cette méthode] to diagnose Parkinson’s disease”, he indicated.

In all, the AI ​​screened 37 language features. It found that the 53 Parkinson’s patients in the study were using fewer common nouns, proper nouns and filler words per sentence than the 53 “healthy” controls. Conversely, Parkinsonian patients used more verbs than the others.

A concrete example: the description of a morning

If I ask them to talk about their morning”, details Dr. Katsunori Yokoi, co-author of the study, “a Parkinson’s patient will say something like ‘I woke up at 4:50. I thought it was a little early, but I got up. It took me about half an hour to go to the bathroom, so I washed up and got dressed around 5:30. My husband cooked breakfast. I had breakfast after 6am. Then I brushed my teeth and got ready to go out. Whereas a healthy control patient might say something like this: ‘Well, this morning I woke up at six o’clock, got dressed and, yes, washed my face. Then I fed my cat and my dog. My daughter cooked a meal, but I told her I couldn’t eat and I, uh, drank water.

While specifying that these are only examples, the researchers point out that the total duration of the response is similarbut that the rhythm of speech and content are fundamentally different. We can clearly see it here, Parkinson’s patients are visibly shorter, more descriptive sentenceswithout small connecting words, which generates more verbs.

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