Detecting Parkinson's disease and its cognitive phenotypes via automated semantic analyses of action stories
NPJ Parkinsons Dis. 2022 Nov 25;8(1):163. doi: 10.1038/s41531-022-00422-8.
Action-concept outcomes are useful targets to identify Parkinson's disease (PD) patients and differentiate between those with and without mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI, PD-nMCI). Yet, most approaches employ burdensome examiner-dependent tasks, limiting their utility. We introduce a framework capturing action-concept markers automatically in natural speech. Patients from both subgroups and controls retold an action-laden and a non-action-laden text (AT, nAT). In each retelling, we weighed action and non-action concepts through our automated Proximity-to-Reference-Semantic-Field (P-RSF) metric, for analysis via ANCOVAs (controlling for cognitive dysfunction) and support vector machines. Patients were differentiated from controls based on AT (but not nAT) P-RSF scores. The same occurred in PD-nMCI patients. Conversely, PD-MCI patients exhibited reduced P-RSF scores for both texts. Direct discrimination between patient subgroups was not systematic, but it yielded best outcomes via AT scores. Our approach outperformed classifiers based on corpus-derived embeddings. This framework opens scalable avenues to support PD diagnosis and phenotyping.