Conference Proceedings

Can we detect altered disease state in early stage Huntington’s Disease using acoustic markers of speech?

AP Vogel, C Shirbin, AJ Churchyard, JC Stout

Proceedings of the Australasian International Conference on Speech Science and Technology | Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association (ASSTA) | Published : 2012


Altered prosody has been described in symptomatic Huntington’s Disease (HD) individuals, however, the extent to which acoustic analysis of speech is sensitive to gene positive pre-manifest (PreHD) individuals is unknown. Speech samples were acquired from 30 individuals carrying the mutant HTT gene (13 PreHD, 17 early stage HD) and 15 matched controls. Participants read a passage, produced a monologue, counted from 1-20 and said the days of the week. Data were analysed acoustically for measures of timing, frequency and intensity. Tasks were compared to determine their relative sensitivity to disease state. Tasks with greater cognitive demand appeared more suitable for detecting Huntington’s d..

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University of Melbourne Researchers