TORONTO, June 4, 2021
In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Toronto and the University Health Network, Winterlight Labs published new research comparing how digital speech measures compare to clinical assessments of speech in Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI). Featured in a special issue of the journal Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, in this study clinicians rated speech samples from participants with AD, MCI and healthy controls on characteristics including word-finding difficulty, incoherence, perseveration and errors in speech.
Patients with AD and MCI were found to have higher word-finding difficulty and incoherence compared to healthy controls. Those with AD additionally had higher ratings of perseveration and speech errors. We identified the speech features with the highest correlations with each clinician-rated speech characteristic. For example, higher word finding difficulty ratings were related to shorter words, slower speech rate and higher numbers of pauses in speech.
This paper provides validation of automatically computed speech measures against clinical assessments, demonstrating the utility of digital speech assessments for detecting speech patterns related to AD and MCI.
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