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Toolkit to Examine Lifelike Language (TELL): An app to capture speech and language markers of neurodegeneration


Automated speech and language analysis (ASLA) is a promising approach for capturing early markers of neurodegenerative diseases. However, its potential remains underexploited in research and translational settings, partly due to the lack of a unified tool for data collection, encryption, processing, download, and visualization. Here we introduce the Toolkit to Examine Lifelike Language (TELL) v.1.0.0, a web-based app designed to bridge such a gap. First, we outline general aspects of its development. Second, we list the steps to access and use the app. Third, we specify its data collection protocol, including a linguistic profile survey and 11 audio recording tasks. Fourth, we describe the outputs the app generates for researchers (downloadable files) and for clinicians (real-time metrics). Fifth, we survey published findings obtained through its tasks and metrics. Sixth, we refer to TELL’s current limitations and prospects for expansion. Overall, with its current and planned features, TELL aims to facilitate ASLA for research and clinical aims in the neurodegeneration arena. A demo version can be accessed here:

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Adolfo García is an Atlantic Fellow at the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) and is partially supported by the National Institute On Aging of the National Institutes of Health (R01AG075775); ANID (FONDECYT Regular 1210176, 1210195); GBHI, Alzheimer’s Association, and Alzheimer’s Society (Alzheimer’s Association GBHI ALZ UK-22-865742); Universidad de Santiago de Chile (DICYT 032351GA_DAS); and the Multi-partner Consortium to Expand Dementia Research in Latin America (ReDLat), which is supported by the Fogarty International Center and the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Aging (R01AG057234, R01AG075775, R01AG21051, and CARDS-NIH), Alzheimer’s Association (SG-20-725707), Rainwater Charitable Foundation’s Tau Consortium, the Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia, and the Global Brain Health Institute. The contents of this publication are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not represent the official views of these institutions.

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Adolfo M. García: conception, organization, figure design, writing of the first draft. Fernando Johann: review and critique. Raúl Echegoyen: review and critique. Cecilia Calcaterra: review and critique. Pablo Riera: writing of the first draft, review and critique. Laouen Belloli: writing of the first draft, review and critique. Facundo Carrillo: writing of the first draft, review and critique.

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Correspondence to Adolfo M. García.

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No approval of research ethics committees was required to accomplish the goals of this study, as it only describes software development and refers to previous literature.

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Adolfo M. García, Fernando Johann, and Cecilia Calcaterra have received financial support from TELL SA. Raúl Echegoyen is consultant to TELL SA. Laouen Belloli, Pablo Riera, and Facundo Carrillo declare that they have no financial interest.

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García, A.M., Johann, F., Echegoyen, R. et al. Toolkit to Examine Lifelike Language (TELL): An app to capture speech and language markers of neurodegeneration. Behav Res (2023).

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