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In Journal of medical Internet research ; h5-index 88.0

BACKGROUND : Assessing a patient's suicide risk is challenging for health professionals because it depends on voluntary disclosure by the patient and often has limited resources. The application of novel machine learning approaches to determine suicide risk has clinical utility.

OBJECTIVE : This study aimed to investigate cross-sectional and longitudinal approaches to assess suicidality based on acoustic voice features of psychiatric patients using artificial intelligence.

METHODS : We collected 348 voice recordings during clinical interviews of 104 patients diagnosed with mood disorders at baseline and 2, 4, 8, and 12 months after recruitment. Suicidality was assessed using the Beck Scale for Suicidal Ideation and suicidal behavior using the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale. The acoustic features of the voice, including temporal, formal, and spectral features, were extracted from the recordings. A between-person classification model that examines the vocal characteristics of individuals cross sectionally to detect individuals at high risk for suicide and a within-person classification model that detects considerable worsening of suicidality based on changes in acoustic features within an individual were developed and compared. Internal validation was performed using 10-fold cross validation of audio data from baseline to 2-month and external validation was performed using data from 2 to 4 months.

RESULTS : A combined set of 12 acoustic features and 3 demographic variables (age, sex, and past suicide attempts) were included in the single-layer artificial neural network for the between-person classification model. Furthermore, 13 acoustic features were included in the extreme gradient boosting machine learning algorithm for the within-person model. The between-person classifier was able to detect high suicidality with 69% accuracy (sensitivity 74%, specificity 62%, area under the receiver operating characteristic curve 0.62), whereas the within-person model was able to predict worsening suicidality over 2 months with 79% accuracy (sensitivity 68%, specificity 84%, area under receiver operating characteristic curve 0.67). The second model showed 62% accuracy in predicting increased suicidality in external sets.

CONCLUSIONS : Within-person analysis using changes in acoustic features within an individual is a promising approach to detect increased suicidality. Automated analysis of voice can be used to support the real-time assessment of suicide risk in primary care or telemedicine.

Min Sooyeon, Shin Daun, Rhee Sang Jin, Park C Hyung Keun, Yang Jeong Hun, Song Yoojin, Kim Min Ji, Kim Kyungdo, Cho Won Ik, Kwon Oh Chul, Ahn Yong Min, Lee Hyunju


artificial intelligence, digital health tool, mood disorder, prediction, screening, suicide, voice analysis