Connected speech markers of amyloid burden in primary progressive aphasia


Introduction Positron emission tomography (PET) amyloid imaging has become an important part of the diagnostic workup for patients with primary progressive aphasia (PPA) and uncertain underlying pathology. Here, we employ a semi-automated analysis of connected speech (CS) with a twofold objective. First, to determine if quantitative CS features can help select primary progressive aphasia (PPA) patients with a higher probability of a positive PET amyloid imaging result. Second, to examine the relevant group differences from a clinical perspective. Methods 117 CS samples from a well-characterised cohort of PPA patients who underwent PET amyloid imaging were collected. Expert consensus established PET amyloid status for each patient, and 40% of the sample was amyloid positive. Results Leave-one-out cross-validation yields 77% classification accuracy (sensitivity: 74%, specificity: 79%). Discussion Our results confirm the potential of CS analysis as a screening tool. Discriminant CS features from lexical, syntactic, pragmatic, and semantic domains are discussed.

Antoine Slegers, Ph.D.
Étudiant au Doctorat