TORONTO, April 29, 2021
Winterlight Labs presented new research at the 2021 Society of Biological Psychiatry (SOBP) Annual Meeting highlighting the use of speech as an objective measure of anxiety.
Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in North America yet they are often underdiagnosed due to barriers such as access to care. Remote assessment of anxiety via automated speech assessment could help identify and monitor signs of anxiety disorders more efficiently. This study explored relationships between anxiety and speech measures, including the finding that as generalized anxiety symptoms increased, speech measures describing the elements of the picture task and the use of word articles decreased. We also showed that generalized anxiety scores could be divided into subscores describing cognitive-affective and somatic aspects of anxiety; however, only cognitive-affective anxiety subscores were uniquely associated with speech measures describing the use of non-words, acoustic features, and verb arousal scores. Taken together, this research helps validate the use of remote speech assessment to understand anxiety and provides insight into which aspects of speech may change with specific anxiety symptoms.
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