Analyzing the effectiveness of vocal features in early telediagnosis of Parkinson's disease

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Sakar B. E., SERBES G., Sakar C. O.

PLOS ONE, vol.12, no.8, 2017 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 12 Issue: 8
  • Publication Date: 2017
  • Doi Number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0182428
  • Journal Name: PLOS ONE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The recently proposed Parkinson's Disease (PD) telediagnosis systems based on detecting dysphonia achieve very high classification rates in discriminating healthy subjects from PD patients. However, in these studies the data used to construct the classification model contain the speech recordings of both early and late PD patients with different severities of speech impairments resulting in unrealistic results. In a more realistic scenario, an early telediagnosis system is expected to be used in suspicious cases by healthy subjects or early PD patients with mild speech impairment. In this paper, considering the critical importance of early diagnosis in the treatment of the disease, we evaluate the ability of vocal features in early telediagnosis of Parkinson's Disease (PD) using machine learning techniques with a two-step approach. In the first step, using only patient data, we aim to determine the patient group with relatively greater severity of speech impairments using Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) score as an index of disease progression. For this purpose, we use three supervised and two unsupervised learning techniques. In the second step, we exclude the samples of this group of patients from the dataset, create a new dataset consisting of the samples of PD patients having less severity of speech impairments and healthy subjects, and use three classifiers with various settings to address this binary classification problem. In this classification problem, the highest accuracy of 96.4% and Matthew's Correlation Coefficient of 0.77 is obtained using support vector machines with third-degree polynomial kernel showing that vocal features can be used to build a decision support system for early telediagnosis of PD.