TORONTO, October 27, 2021
Winterlight Labs published new research examining speech patterns in older adults with and without cognitive impairment. The paper, published in Frontiers in Digital Health, reports on a study that assessed speech patterns in older adults with and without cognitive impairment as measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA), a screening tool for Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Those with signs of cognitive impairment also had different speech patterns, including increased word-finding difficulty, reduced information content and reduced syntactic complexity. Those with MCI or AD showed similar patterns, as well as having reduced coherence of language, which declined further at 6-month follow up.
These findings help to validate the use of speech-based measures for detecting cognitive impairment and dementia, and help to shed light on what aspects of speech are most affected by disease. The results from this study suggest that speech-based digital measures can be used to develop sensitive screening tools and help to measure cognitive decline over time.
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