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Title: Accurate telemonitoring of Parkinson's disease symptom severity using nonlinear speech signal processing and statistical machine learning
Author: Tsanas, Athanasios
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 3916
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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This study focuses on the development of an objective, automated method to extract clinically useful information from sustained vowel phonations in the context of Parkinson’s disease (PD). The aim is twofold: (a) differentiate PD subjects from healthy controls, and (b) replicate the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) metric which provides a clinical impression of PD symptom severity. This metric spans the range 0 to 176, where 0 denotes a healthy person and 176 total disability. Currently, UPDRS assessment requires the physical presence of the subject in the clinic, is subjective relying on the clinical rater’s expertise, and logistically costly for national health systems. Hence, the practical frequency of symptom tracking is typically confined to once every several months, hindering recruitment for large-scale clinical trials and under-representing the true time scale of PD fluctuations. We develop a comprehensive framework to analyze speech signals by: (1) extracting novel, distinctive signal features, (2) using robust feature selection techniques to obtain a parsimonious subset of those features, and (3a) differentiating PD subjects from healthy controls, or (3b) determining UPDRS using powerful statistical machine learning tools. Towards this aim, we also investigate 10 existing fundamental frequency (F_0) estimation algorithms to determine the most useful algorithm for this application, and propose a novel ensemble F_0 estimation algorithm which leads to a 10% improvement in accuracy over the best individual approach. Moreover, we propose novel feature selection schemes which are shown to be very competitive against widely-used schemes which are more complex. We demonstrate that we can successfully differentiate PD subjects from healthy controls with 98.5% overall accuracy, and also provide rapid, objective, and remote replication of UPDRS assessment with clinically useful accuracy (approximately 2 UPDRS points from the clinicians’ estimates), using only simple, self-administered, and non-invasive speech tests. The findings of this study strongly support the use of speech signal analysis as an objective basis for practical clinical decision support tools in the context of PD assessment.
Supervisor: Little, Max ; McSharry, Patrick ; Howell, Peter Sponsor: EPSRC ; Intel
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biomedical engineering ; Machine learning ; Signal processing ; Mathematical biology ; Artificial Intelligence ; Pattern recognition (statistics) ; Bioinformatics (technology) ; Mathematical modeling (engineering) ; Parkinson's disease ; signal processing ; statistical machine learning ; pattern recognition ; feature selection ; Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS)