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Vocal Biomarkers Diagnose Diseases

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 4:33
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I never cease to be amazed by the ingenuity shown in medical advances. For instance, Beyond Verbal, a voice analytics company, has done research showing a link between voice signal characteristics and neurological disorders such as dyslexia, Parkinson’s Disease, ADHD and autism. NY Daily News Article

Research Process

Research Process

I was unaware of such research. And I marvel that anyone even thought to connect vocal characteristics, beyond instances where such are symptomatic, with disease in the first place. I mean slurred speech from a stroke is obvious. But who would expect to be able to find dyslexia by voice analysis. And if they can use voice analysis to show the above diseases, what else might be found?

That question has been answered, in part at least, in the findings of a recent study by The Mayo Clinic and Beyond Verbal. Cardiac Vocal Biomarker The study identified links between vocal features and coronary artery disease (CAD) – the most common heart disease. CAD occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries, causing heart attacks. The study found that a single biomarker in the voice signal was associated with a 19-fold increased in the likelihood of CAD.

Research Featured Data

Research Featured Data

The study was a double-blind study where 120 patients each gave three 30-second voice recordings in English. These were documented and analyzed by a voice analysis tool. Future work will seek to replicate said results in other languages and look for vocal links with other cardiovascular diseases.

Beyond Verbal CEO says of its work tying CAD to a single vocal biomarker: “This is so groundbreaking and new, that it’s hard to describe in layman’s terms.” I agree. This is a remarkable medical advance. Even if just used as a screening test for CAD, or to plot the course of CAD over a patient’s life, such may trigger necessary or earlier intervention in treating CAD thus saving lives.

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