Speech and language characteristics differentiate Alzheimer's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies

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Introduction: Early differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is important, but it remains challenging. Different profiles of speech and language impairments between AD and DLB have been suggested, but direct comparisons have not been investigated. Methods: We collected speech responses from 121 older adults comprising AD, DLB, and cognitively normal (CN) groups and investigated their acoustic, prosodic, and linguistic features. Results: The AD group showed larger differences from the CN group than the DLB group in linguistic features, while the DLB group showed larger differences in prosodic and acoustic features. Machine-learning classifiers using these speech features achieved 87.0% accuracy for AD versus CN, 93.2% for DLB versus CN, and 87.4% for AD versus DLB. Discussion: Our findings indicate the discriminative differences in speech features in AD and DLB and the feasibility of using these features in combination as a screening tool for identifying/differentiating AD and DLB.