The publication “Telephone-based Dementia Screening I: Automated Semantic Verbal Fluency Assessment” was awarded with the Best Paper Award on the PervasiveHealth 2018, the 12th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare in New York City, USA (May 21 – 24, 2018). It was written by Johannes Tröger, Nicklas Linz and Dr. Jan Alexandersson from the DFKI research department Intelligent User Interfaces, Dr. Alexandra König from the french computational science institution INRIA and Prof. Dr. Philippe Robert from the university hospital in Nice (France).
The paper describes the possibility to assess dementia screenings via telephone. The neuropsychological testing instrument of Semantic Verbal Fluency was therefore implemented and can be performed during a phone call. Although sensing technologies for automatic screening often go along with high hardware costs and installation efforts, they can still produce inaccurate results. Meanwhile, automatic speech recognition and speech analysis emerged to well-established scientific instruments and can be integrated into low-tech solutions. The authors used speech technologies in their remote telephone-based screening scenario and produced promising results: The automated classification pipeline performs equally well compared to the classifier trained on manual transcriptions of the same speech data. These results suggest the inclusion of Semantic Verbal Fluency into an automated telephone-screening system for dementia frontline screening and global risk assessment.