Researchers Explore Speech-Based System for Early Alzheimer’s Detection Patient speech could soon be measured and assessed as a part of early Alzheimer’s detection, according to new research and development at Spain’s University of Basque Country. The school’s multidisciplinary research group, known as ELEKIN, is working to develop non-invasive ways for medical professionals to diagnose diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Official ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   June 01, 2015
Researchers Explore Speech-Based System for Early Alzheimer’s Detection
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   June 01, 2015
Researchers Explore Speech-Based System for Early Alzheimer’s Detection
The ASHA Leader, June 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.20062015.16
The ASHA Leader, June 2015, Vol. 20, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.20062015.16
Patient speech could soon be measured and assessed as a part of early Alzheimer’s detection, according to new research and development at Spain’s University of Basque Country.
The school’s multidisciplinary research group, known as ELEKIN, is working to develop non-invasive ways for medical professionals to diagnose diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
Official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s frequently requires a list of invasive, costly tests, including medical examinations, neuropsychological assessments, neuroimaging and blood tests—and previous research has suggested that treatment is more effective before the brain becomes severely damaged.
Among the early-detection methodologies in development by ELEKIN is Automatic Spontaneous Speech Analysis, in which researchers record patient descriptions of personal experiences. Analysts measure certain speech occurrences (for example, the duration and frequency of patients’ pauses when trying to recall what they wanted to say).

Official diagnosis of Alzheimer’s frequently requires a list of invasive, costly tests, including medical examinations, neuropsychological assessments, neuroimaging and blood tests.

“We want to provide doctors with tools to detect elements that cannot be seen at a glance … If they have [an] accurate measurement, it can help them to diagnose disorders or carry out more exact outpatient follow-up,” says Karmele López de Ipiña, coordinator of the ELEKIN research group.
An estimated 5.1 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, and the number is expected to grow in coming years.
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June 2015
Volume 20, Issue 6