Tröger, J., Baykara, E., Zhao, J., Huurne, D. ter, Possemis, N., Mallick, E., Schäfer, S., Schwed, L., Mina, M., Linz, N., Ramakers, I., & Ritchie, C. (2022). Validation of the Remote Automated ki:e Speech Biomarker for Cognition in Mild Cognitive Impairment: Verification and Validation following DiME V3 Framework. Digital Biomarkers, 6(3), 107–116.
Introduction: Progressive cognitive decline is the cardinal behavioral symptom in most dementia-causing diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. While most well-established measures for cognition might not fit tomorrow’s decentralized remote clinical trials, digital cognitive assessments will gain importance. We present the evaluation of a novel digital speech biomarker for cognition (SB-C) following the Digital Medicine Society’s V3 framework: verification, analytical validation, and clinical validation. Methods: Evaluation was done in two independent clinical samples: the Dutch DeepSpA (N = 69 subjective cognitive impairment [SCI], N = 52 mild cognitive impairment [MCI], and N = 13 dementia) and the Scottish SPeAk datasets (N = 25, healthy controls). For validation, two anchor scores were used: the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) scale. Results: Verification: The SB-C could be reliably extracted for both languages using an automatic speech processing pipeline. Analytical Validation: In both languages, the SB-C was strongly correlated with MMSE scores. Clinical Validation: The SB-C significantly differed between clinical groups (including MCI and dementia), was strongly correlated with the CDR, and could track the clinically meaningful decline. Conclusion: Our results suggest that the ki:e SB-C is an objective, scalable, and reliable indicator of cognitive decline, fit for purpose as a remote assessment in clinical early dementia trials.