Automatic measurement of prosody in behavioral variant FTD.

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TitleAutomatic measurement of prosody in behavioral variant FTD.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsNevler, N, Ash, S, Jester, C, Irwin, DJ, Liberman, M, Grossman, M
Date Published2017 Aug 15
KeywordsAged, Atrophy, Female, Frontotemporal Dementia, Gray Matter, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Male, Middle Aged, Prefrontal Cortex, Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted, Speech, Speech Production Measurement

OBJECTIVE: To help understand speech changes in behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), we developed and implemented automatic methods of speech analysis for quantification of prosody, and evaluated clinical and anatomical correlations.METHODS: We analyzed semi-structured, digitized speech samples from 32 patients with bvFTD (21 male, mean age 63 ± 8.5, mean disease duration 4 ± 3.1 years) and 17 matched healthy controls (HC). We automatically extracted fundamental frequency (f0, the physical property of sound most closely correlating with perceived pitch) and computed pitch range on a logarithmic scale (semitone) that controls for individual and sex differences. We correlated f0 range with neuropsychiatric tests, and related f0 range to gray matter (GM) atrophy using 3T T1 MRI.RESULTS: We found significantly reduced f0 range in patients with bvFTD (mean 4.3 ± 1.8 ST) compared to HC (5.8 ± 2.1 ST; = 0.03). Regression related reduced f0 range in bvFTD to GM atrophy in bilateral inferior and dorsomedial frontal as well as left anterior cingulate and anterior insular regions.CONCLUSIONS: Reduced f0 range reflects impaired prosody in bvFTD. This is associated with neuroanatomic networks implicated in language production and social disorders centered in the frontal lobe. These findings support the feasibility of automated speech analysis in frontotemporal dementia and other disorders.

Alternate JournalNeurology
PubMed ID28724588
PubMed Central IDPMC5562969
Grant ListP01 AG017586 / AG / NIA NIH HHS / United States