188 | Can daily event narratives distinguish Alzheimer’s from frontotemporal dementia? A natural language processing study

Disorders of the Nervous System

Author: Pamela Lopes da Cunha | Email: pamelopes@gmail.com

Pamela Lopes da Cunha , Fabian Ruiz , Franco Ferrante , Lucas Sterpin , Agustin Ibañez , Andrea Slachevsky , Diana Matallana , Angela Martinez , Eugenia Hesse , Adolfo Garcia

1° Centro de Neurociencias Cognitivas, Universidad de San Andres. Bs As, Argentina.
2° LANECC, Instituto de Ciencias Biomedicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile. Santiago, Chile.
3° Instituto de Envejecimiento, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Bogota, Colombia
4° Escuela de Medicina y Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad del Rosario. Bogotá, Colombia

Dementia can disrupt how persons experience daily scenarios, affecting the representation of events and their own participation in them. In particular, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) seems to impact the recall and understanding of people and objects involved, while behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) seems to influence the perspective adopted by the subjects, often leading to a depersonalized viewpoint. As entities are manifested by nouns and perspective through the chosen grammatical person, AD and bvFTD might exhibit distinctive irregularities in their linguistic construal of daily events. However, no study has examined if such linguistic hallmarks differentiate these dementia types, let alone combining natural language processing tools with inferential and machine learning analyses. Here, persons with AD, bvFTD, and healthy controls (HCs), narrated their typical day. We used feature-extraction tools to quantify the nouns, verbs, first-person markers, and third-person markers. Our findings exhibited a specific impairment in noun retrieval for the AD population compared to HCs, while individuals with bvFTD tended to employ third-person references, emphasizing an exocentric perspective. Collective analysis of these features offered a reliable classification of patients within each group. Taken together, we underscore the potential of utilizing specific anomalies in daily narratives as a diagnostic clinical tool for distinguishing between AD and bvFTD.