Parkinsonism and Related Disorders

Can AI make people happy? The effect of AI-based chatbot on smile and speech in Parkinson's disease

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Introduction: Approaches for objectively measuring facial expressions and speech may enhance clinical and research evaluation in telemedicine, which is widely employed for Parkinson's disease (PD). This study aimed to assess the feasibility and efficacy of using an artificial intelligence-based chatbot to improve smile and speech in PD. Further, we explored the potential predictive value of objective face and speech parameters for motor symptoms, cognition, and mood. Methods: In this open-label randomized study, we collected a series of face and conversational speech samples from 20 participants with PD in weekly teleconsultation sessions for 5 months. We investigated the effect of daily chatbot conversations on smile and speech features, then we investigated whether smile and speech features could predict motor, cognitive, and mood status. Results: A repeated-measures analysis of variance revealed that the chatbot conversations had a significant interaction effect on the mean and standard deviation of the smile index during smile sections (both P = .02), maximum duration of the initial rise of the smile index (P = .04), and frequency of filler words (P = .04), but no significant interaction effects were observed for clinical measurements including motor, cognition, depression, and quality of life. Explorative analysis using statistical and machine-learning models revealed that the smile indices and several speech features were associated with motor symptoms, cognition, and mood in PD. Conclusion: An artificial intelligence-based chatbot may positively affect smile and speech in PD. Smile and speech features may capture the motor, cognitive, and mental status of patients with PD.