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In Journal of affective disorders ; h5-index 79.0

BACKGROUND : Variations in speech intonation are known to be associated with changes in mental state over time. Behavioral vocal analysis is an algorithmic method of determining individuals' behavioral and emotional characteristics from their vocal patterns. It can provide biomarkers for use in psychiatric assessment and monitoring, especially when remote assessment is needed, such as in the COVID-19 pandemic. The objective of this study was to design and validate an effective prototype of automatic speech analysis based on algorithms for classifying the speech features related to MDD using a remote assessment system combining a mobile app for speech recording and central cloud processing for the prosodic vocal patterns.

METHODS : Machine learning compared the vocal patterns of 40 patients diagnosed with MDD to the patterns of 104 non-clinical participants. The vocal patterns of 40 patients in the acute phase were also compared to 14 of these patients in the remission phase of MDD.

RESULTS : A vocal depression predictive model was successfully generated. The vocal depression scores of MDD patients were significantly higher than the scores of the non-patient participants (p < 0.0001). The vocal depression scores of the MDD patients in the acute phase were significantly higher than in remission (p < 0.02).

LIMITATIONS : The main limitation of this study is its relatively small sample size, since machine learning validity improves with big data.

CONCLUSIONS : The computerized analysis of prosodic changes may be used to generate biomarkers for the early detection of MDD, remote monitoring, and the evaluation of responses to treatment.

Wasserzug Yael, Degani Yoav, Bar-Shaked Mili, Binyamin Milana, Klein Amit, Hershko Shani, Levkovitch Yechiel


Depression screening, Machine learning, Predictive analytics, Remote patient monitoring, Speech prosody, Voice analysis