How language flows when movements don't: An automated analysis of spontaneous discourse in Parkinson's disease

Adolfo M. García, Facundo Carrillo, Juan Rafael Orozco-Arroyave, Natalia Trujillo, Jesús F. Vargas Bonilla, Sol Fittipaldi, Federico Adolfi, Elmar Nöth, Mariano Sigman, Diego Fernández Slezak, Agustín Ibáñez, Guillermo A. Cecchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

To assess the impact of Parkinson's disease (PD) on spontaneous discourse, we conducted computerized analyses of brief monologues produced by 51 patients and 50 controls. We explored differences in semantic fields (via latent semantic analysis), grammatical choices (using part-of-speech tagging), and word-level repetitions (with graph embedding tools). Although overall output was quantitatively similar between groups, patients relied less heavily on action-related concepts and used more subordinate structures. Also, a classification tool operating on grammatical patterns identified monologues as pertaining to patients or controls with 75% accuracy. Finally, while the incidence of dysfluent word repetitions was similar between groups, it allowed inferring the patients’ level of motor impairment with 77% accuracy. Our results highlight the relevance of studying naturalistic discourse features to tap the integrity of neural (and, particularly, motor) networks, beyond the possibilities of standard token-level instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
Number of pages10
JournalBrain and Language
Volume162
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

Keywords

  • Grammatical features
  • Graph embedding
  • Latent semantic analysis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Part-of-speech tagging
  • Semantic fields
  • Spontaneous discourse
  • Word repetition

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