How speech analytics is revolutionizing the monitoring and diagnosis of neurological disorders

Speech analytics is a rapidly evolving technology that is transforming the field of digital medicine by providing advanced tools for the assessment and diagnosis of neurological disorders and cognitive impairment. Neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and Ataxia can affect the speech and language function of individuals, making it challenging for effective communication. These deficits lead to reduced quality of life and impact every aspect of daily activities. However, with the help of speech analysis, healthcare professionals can now monitor and diagnose these disorders with more precision and accuracy, leading to improved treatment and patient outcomes. Here we discuss changes in speech analytics technology and its impact on the monitoring and diagnosis of neurological disorders.

An Overview of Speech Analytics Technology

Speech analytics is the process of extracting and analyzing data from spoken language, including acoustic and linguistic features, to derive clinically meaningful insights. It involves the use of evidence-based algorithms and specialized software to synthesize and analyze audio and voice recordings and extract relevant information about the speaker’s words, grammar, speech patterns, voice quality, articulation, resonance and respiration.

The key benefits of speech analytics include improved accuracy, speed, and efficiency in monitoring change resulting from neurological disorders. By analyzing the speech of patients, sponsors, and health and medical professionals can track change resulting from disease progression and treatment response. This information can inform decisions on the efficacy of treatments and provide objective data on changes to quality of life.

At Redenlab, we have developed pharmaceutical-grade software for remote and in-person data collection and speech elicitation that can be accessed easily by sites, testers and patients. Data can be captured across multiple platforms, either on purpose-built apps for desktop or smartphone or device-agnostic web-based protocols.

Application of Speech Analytics in monitoring and identification of Neurological Disorders

Speech analytics has been widely used in clinical work-ups of various brain disorders, including ataxia, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, depression, and neurodevelopmental conditions, as well as performance changes resulting from fatigue.

For instance, individuals with a brain disease can experience changes to their speech. These changes result in difficulty communicating daily needs, talking to friends, or completing tasks as part of their employment (like meeting with clients). Altered speech also results in stigma, with listeners often making assumptions about intelligence based on how someone sounds. 

Practically, speech analytics can be used to assess the impact of poor coordination of muscles involved in speech (tongue, mouth and lips). This analysis can provide insight into the severity of the disease and its impact on the individual. Changes to the speech musculature are particularly important in conditions that directly impact motor control, like ALS / motor neurone disease and ataxia.

Other user cases include genetic conditions where individuals may present with subtle deficits years before receiving a diagnosis. In Huntington’s Disease, speech analytics can help identify very early changes in the disease that otherwise would be difficult to detect. These changes highlight the onset of neurological change and may signal an appropriate time to begin treatment.

Similarly, individuals with Parkinson’s Disease develop significant communication problems as the disease progresses. Speech becomes quiet, unclear and slower. These issues can combine with cognitive deficits (thinking skills) to make communicating very challenging. By assessing and analyzing speech, we can predict rates of decline, measure changes in disease progression and inform decisions about treatment efficacy.

The Future of Speech Analytics in Neurological Disorder Diagnosis

Advancements in speech analytics technology, such as those developed by Redenlab, have paved the way for more intelligent use of speech in clinical trials and healthcare research. With sophisticated data analysis pipelines focused on providing data-informed outcomes on speech production, language, and speech perception, speech analytics research has the potential to revolutionize clinical practice and treatment outcomes.

Data from speech batteries can be used to identify deficits in performance and monitor changes in brain function over time. With more than  150,000 recordings from thousands of speakers, the potential for targeted precision measurement of performance is huge

Speech analytics is a game-changing technology that has optimized meaningful measurement of neurological disease. Its numerous benefits, including improved accuracy, speed, and efficiency, make it a valuable tool for clinical trialists, healthcare professionals, clinicians and patients. With the continuous advancements in speech analytics, the future of neurological disorder monitoring is bright, and we can expect to see more innovative solutions to improve patient outcomes and quality of life.

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