More targeted diagnostic and treatment methods are needed to improve outcomes in neurodegenerative disorders such as Hereditary Ataxias and Dementias. These initiatives bring together leading researchers across the world where the potential utility of speech acoustics is evaluated.
Speech impairment is ubiquitous in many Hereditary Ataxias and is often considered a sensitive marker of disease progression and treatment response. Speech is however, rarely investigated and when considered, limited natural history data are available. SpeechATAXIA is a global initiative that brings researchers and clinicians together to address this.
Patients who suffer from frontotemporal dementia (FTD) present as a pathologically heterogeneous group. Only ~50% of patients experience language decline characterised either by impaired speech production or by impaired word comprehension/semantic memory. This presents an opportunity to investigate speech and language signatures based on FTD phenotypes with the goal of improving diagnostic accuracy and monitoring disease progression.