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Seminar: Kathleen Fraser – Computerized language analysis for the detection of dementia: past findings, current efforts, and the long road ahead

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Dementia is a gradual decline of cognitive abilities, often resulting from neurodegeneration. In some cases, such as primary progressive aphasia (PPA), language abilities are specifically impaired. In other cases, such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD), language disabilities may occur together with other cognitive impairments. In each of these instances, a narrative language sample can provide a wealth of data regarding an individual’s linguistic capabilities. Traditionally, analysis of speech samples was conducted by hand, but this is painstaking and time-consuming work. In this talk, I will show that many lexical and syntactic features can be automatically extracted from speech transcripts and used in machine learning classifiers to distinguish between PPA participants and controls, between participants with different subtypes of PPA, and between AD participants and controls. I will also discuss some of the challenges we face in terms of small data sets, the use of automatic speech recognition in these populations, and potential confounding factors.

Bio: Katie Fraser is a PhD candidate in the University of Toronto Computational Linguistics group. Her dissertation work focuses on automatically detecting signs of dementia through computational analysis of narrative speech. She has published papers in a number of computer science conferences, as well as the journals Cortex and the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. Her work has been supported by NSERC and Google, and she was an invited participant in the 2015 MIT Rising Stars in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science workshop. She is also a co-founder of Winterlight Labs, a Toronto-based start-up focused on building tools to monitor cognitive impairment through speech. Katie holds a Masters of Computer Science from Dalhousie University and a B.Sc. in Physics from St. Francis Xavier University.

Read more about Katie Fraser here: http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~kfraser/.

Date: 2016-03-17 10:30 - 12:00

Location: L308, Lennart Torstenssonsgatan 8

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