Learning Predictive Linguistic Features for Alzheimer's Disease and related Dementias using Verbal Utterances

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Conference Proceeding

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Proceedings of the Annual Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics


Early diagnosis of neurodegenerative disorders (ND) such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related Dementias is currently a challenge. Currently, AD can only be diagnosed by examining the patient's brain after death and Dementia is diagnosed typically through consensus using specific diagnostic criteria and extensive neuropsychological examinations with tools such as the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) or the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA). In this paper, we use several Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to build diagnostic models using syntactic and lexical features resulting from verbal utterances of AD and related Dementia patients. We emphasize that the best diagnostic model distinguished the AD and related Dementias group from the healthy elderly group with 74% F-Measure using Support Vector Machines (SVM). Additionally, we perform several statistical tests to indicate the significance of the selected linguistic features. Our results show that syntactic and lexical features could be good indicative features for helping to diagnose AD and related Dementias.

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