PDLab – research into Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s Disease Research

Subtle changes in behaviour may warn of early-onset of Parkinson’s Disease before it becomes diagnosable. One question is how to measure this? PDLab have published research detecting PD using machine learning to analyse users’ typing pattern, which is a pretty clever, unobtrusive source of data.

Similarly, this research demonstrates that early-onset Alzheimers can be seen through changes in writing style (example table below taken from paper).

Patterns of linguistic changes expected in normal aging and dementia

Linguistic marker Normal aging Dementia
Lexical
    Vocabulary size Gradual increase, possible slight decrease in later years Sharp decrease
    Repetition Possible slight decrease/increase Pronounced increase
    Word specificity Possible slight increase/decrease Pronounced decrease
    Word class deficit Insignificant change Pronounced deficit in nouns; possible compensation in verbs
    Fillers Possible slight increase Pronounced increase
Syntactic
    Overall complexity No change or gradual decline, possible rapid decline around mid-70s Sharp decline
    Use of passive Possible slight decrease Pronounced decrease
    Auxiliary verb Be-passives dominate Get-passives dominate
    Agentless passive Moderate decrease Greater decrease

There’s also an interesting radiolab podcast on this latter research.

Source: PDLab – research into Parkinson’s Disease

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