PDVocal: Towards Privacy-preserving Parkinson’s Disease Detection using Non-speech Body Sounds


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disorder resulting from the progressive loss of dopaminergic nerve cells. People with PD usually demonstrate deficits in performing basic daily activities, and the relevant annual social cost can reach about $25 billion in the United States. Early detection of PD plays an important role in symptom relief and improvement in performance of activities in daily life (ADL), which eventually reduces societal and economic burden. However, conventional PD detection methods are inconvenient in daily life (e.g., requiring users to wear sensors). To overcome this challenge, we propose and identify the nonspeech body sounds as the new PD biomarker, and utilize the data in smartphone usage to realize the passive PD detection in daily life without interrupting the user. Specifically, we present PDVocal, an end-to-end smartphone-based privacypreserving system towards early PD detection. PDVocal can passively recognize the PD digital biomarkers in the voice data during daily phone conversation. At the user end, PDVocal filters the audio stream and only extracts the non-speech body sounds (e.g., breathing, clearing throat and swallowing) which contain no privacy-sensitive content. At the cloud end, PDVocal analyzes the body sounds of interest and assesses the health condition using a customized residual network. For the sake of reliability in real-world PD detection, we investigate the method of the performance optimizer including an opportunistic learning knob and a long-term tracking protocol. We evaluate our proposed PDVocal on a collected dataset from 890 participants and real-life conversations from publicly available data sources. Results indicate that nonspeech body sounds are a promising digital biomarker for privacy-preserving PD detection in daily life.

In The 25rd ACM Annual International Conference on Mobile Computing and Networking