Special Issue on Speech & Dementia

Special Issue on Speech & Dementia

This is a call for papers for a Special Issue on Speech Dementia Automatic Screening for Dementia from Spoken Communication, to be published in early 2020 in Computer Speech and Language, an official publication of the International Speech Communication Association.

Dementia is an incurable progressive disease that ranks first among the age-related fears of people aged 60+ years and affects about 50 million people worldwide, a number that is estimated to double every 20 years. In 2018, costs exceeded the $1 trillion USD mark, with 90% incurred in the high-income countries. While no preventive measures nor curative therapeutic interventions for dementia are known yet, studies show that early interventions can delay the progression of the disease. Thus, it is pivotal to recognize symptoms as early as possible. Unfortunately, current diagnostic procedures require a thorough examination by medical specialists, which are too cost- and time-consuming to be provided frequently on a large scale.

Spoken language skills are well established early indicators of cognitive abilities. Since speech is the most important means of communication used on a daily basis, monitoring of relevant indicators offers great potential for easy-to-use casual testing. Recently, assessment systems based on automatic speech processing methods have been developed which automatically extract relevant acoustic and linguistic features from spoken conversations, in order to interpret signs of cognitive decline and thus supporting clinicians in the diagnosis of dementia. Such systems could improve current diagnostic practice by providing easy-to-use, low-cost means of detecting and tracking early signs of dementia, which currently cannot be offered due to cost, time, and lack of human resources.

The special issue on Speech and Dementia will bring together researchers from the fields of speech and language processing, medicine, psychology, as well as disciplines related to health and aging, and thus will contribute to the advancement of cross-disciplinary speech and language research.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):

  • Speech or language resources for detection and tracking of dementia
  • Speech and language related features for cognitive assessment (e.g. MCI, dementia)
  • Detection of early signs of dementia from speech and language data
  • Longitudinal tracking of dementia
  • User-evaluation and field trials of dementia detection
  • Methods, algorithms and tools for detection and tracking of dementia
  • Spoken communication systems for monitoring, assisting or activating people with dementia

For any questions regarding submission of papers related to the overall scope of Speech and Dementia but outside the above specified topics, please do not hesitate to contact the Editors.

Submission procedure:

Prospective authors should prepare manuscripts according to the information available at https://www.elsevier.com/journals/computer-speech-and-language/0885-2308/guide-for-authors and submit electronically through the online CSL submission system. When selecting a manuscript type, authors must click on 'Special Issue on Speech and Dementia'.

Important Dates:

Manuscript submission: 15 Jun 2019

Final decision: 31 Mar 2020

Expected publication date: June 2020


Tanja Schultz (University Bremen, DEU) tanja.schultz@uni-bremen.de

Heidi Christensen (University of Sheffield, GBR) heidi.christensen@sheffield.ac.uk

Frank Rudzicz (University of Toronto, CAN) frank@spoclab.com

Johannes Schroder (University Heidelberg, DEU) Johannes.Schroeder@med.uni-heidelberg.de