Classical Acoustic Markers for Depression in Parkinson’s Disease

Type: BA thesis

Status: finished

Date: February 1, 2022 - July 1, 2022

Supervisors: Paula Andrea Pérez-Toro, M. Sc., Andreas Maier, Elmar Nöth

Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients are commonly recognized for their tremors, although there is a wide range of different symptoms of PD. This is a progressive neurological condition, where patients do not have enough dopamine in the substancia nigra, which plays a role in motor control, mood, and cognitive functions. A really underestimated type of symptoms in PD is the mental and behavioral issues, which can manifest in depression, fatigue, or dementia. Clinical depression is a psychiatric mood disorder, caused by an individual’s difficulty in coping with stressful life events, and presents persistent feelings of sadness, negativity, and difficulty managing everyday responsibilities. This can be triggered by the lack of dopamine from PD, the upsetting and stressful situation of the Parkinson’s diagnosis as well as by the loneliness and isolation that can be caused by the Parkinson’s symptoms.
The goal of this work is to find the most suitable acoustic features that can discriminate against depression in Parkinson’s patients. Those features will be based on classical and interpretable acoustic descriptors.