In this paper, we have investigated the differences in the voices of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and age-matched control (CO) subjects when uttering three phonemes using two complexity measures: fractal dimension (FD) and normalised mutual information (NMI). Three sustained phonetic voice recordings, /a/, /u/ and /m/, from 22 CO (mean age = 66.91) and 24 PD (mean age = 71.83) participants were analysed. FD was first computed for PD and CO voice recordings, followed by the computation of NMI between the test groups: PD–CO, PD–PD and CO–CO. Four features reported in the literature—normalised pitch period entropy (Norm. PPE), glottal-to-noise excitation ratio (GNE), detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA) and glottal closing quotient (ClQ)—were also computed for comparison with the proposed complexity measures. The statistical significance of the features was tested using a one-way ANOVA test. Support vector machine (SVM) with a linear kernel was used to classify the test groups, using a leave-one-out validation method. The results showed that PD voice recordings had lower FD compared to CO (p
< 0.008). It was also observed that the average NMI between CO voice recordings was significantly lower compared with the CO–PD and PD–PD groups (p
< 0.036) for the three phonetic sounds. The average NMI and FD demonstrated higher accuracy (>80%) in differentiating the test groups compared with other speech feature-based classifications. This study has demonstrated that the voices of PD patients has reduced FD, and NMI between voice recordings of PD–CO and PD–PD is higher compared with CO–CO. This suggests that the use of NMI obtained from the sample voice, when paired with known groups of CO and PD, can be used to identify PD voices. These findings could have applications for population screening.
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