TORONTO, November 4, 2020
At this year’s virtual edition of the Clinical Trials on Alzheimer’s Disease (CTAD) Meeting, Winterlight presented two posters highlighting recent developments in our research on speech-based biomarkers for dementia.
In a study in partnership with Alector, we assessed speech in a group of individuals with variants of Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) in a remote, longitudinal study over the course of one year. Using the Winterlight Speech Assessment, we replicated previous findings that standard language tests (including naming and fluency) were impaired in the FTD group at baseline, compared to healthy controls. Over time, we identified significant changes in the proportion of words and pauses in a picture description task, and the informativeness of descriptions. These findings help us to better understand speech and language changes in FTD and develop novel speech-based biomarkers for monitoring disease progression.
In a second poster, we provide an overview of our clinical validation research on speech-based measures in Alzheimer’s disease. We provide a framework for clinical validation of novel digital biomarkers. Based on this framework, we summarize our previous research on disease detection using classification models, measurement of disease severity with reference to standard clinical tools, and tracking disease progression over time in longitudinal studies. Overall, speech-based measures represent promising new tools for characterizing Alzheimer’s Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment, as illustrated by Winterlight’s ongoing research.
Winterlight Labs is commercializing a proprietary language-based diagnostic system that analyzes natural speech to detect and monitor dementia, Alzheimer’s, aphasia, and various other cognitive conditions. Winterlight's scalable platform uses short recorded speech samples to analyze hundreds of linguistic cues, and can detect dementia and other conditions with a high level of accuracy. This is a major improvement over current pencil-and-paper tests which are time-consuming, costly, and difficult to administer. The platform has applications in drug trials, long-term and primary care, and speech-language pathology.
Since its founding, Winterlight Labs has seen strong interest from pharmaceutical companies and other potential partners who view the technology as a major improvement over current methods of detection or screening. The company has gained support from the pan-Canadian AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), the Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the University of Toronto Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.winterlightlabs.com.
Liam Kaufman, CEO
liam [at] winterlightlabs.com