Evidence of Syntactic Language Impairment in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Leveraging Automated Language Analysis

Hali Lindsay, Johannes Tröger, Nicklas Linz, Jan Alexandersson, Johannes Prudlo

In: 10th International Conference of Experimental Linguistics. International Conference of Experimental Linguistics (ExLing-2019) September 25-27 Lisbon Portugal Springer 2019.


Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects muscle function, breathing, speech and in some cases cognitive abilities. Cognitive impairment has been identified in up to 50% of ALS patients with current research focusing on executive function and language impairment. In this study, we consider 17 healthy controls and 61 ALS patients (16 with cognitive impairment and 45 without) performance on a free speech task (Cookie theft picture description). Measures of language impairment are automated and used to evaluate the entire ALS population for indications of language impairment. Results show that both ALS patients with and without cognitive impairment show signs of syntactic language impairment.


Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence