Sonde Partners with Mass General on Voice Biomarker Research

Sonde Health and ;the Massachusetts General Hospital Frontotemporal Disorders (FTD) Unit have been selected by the Massachusetts Artificial Intelligence and Technology Center for Connected Care in Aging and Alzheimer's Disease (MassAITC) to lead a study on vocal biomarkers for remote detection and monitoring of mild cognitive impairment in the home.

Funded by MassAITC and the National Institute on Aging (NIA), a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), the project is part of a $1.7 million grant to explore the use of artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies for in-home care. Specifically, it will evaluate the feasibility of obtaining voice recordings of older individuals ithat can be used to monitor speech and memory functions.

"Nearly 90 percent of older adults wish to stay in their homes for as long as possible. Digital technologies, and digital biomarkers in particular, have great potential to support this shift," said David Liu, CEO of Sonde Health, in a statement. "By monitoring cognitive health from afar through vocal biomarkers, Sonde's technology could help facilitate this desire to age in place, offering these patients the ability to remain in a familiar environment without sacrificing quality care."

The project will enroll 50 adults from the FTD Unit. Participants will be ages 55 and above and represent a range of cognitive function from normal cognition through subjective cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and mild dementia. The study will examine the potential for Sonde's vocal biomarker platform to monitor and detect changes in cognitive function. Participants will record 10-15 voice samples and responses to cognitive assessments both in the laboratory and from their smartphones at home. Voice recordings will be analyzed for acoustic features that correlate with mental status, which are expected to provide insights into how vocal biomarkers can be used as an effective tool for tracking cognitive health over time.

"As the population of older adults continues to grow, there is a critical need for remote monitoring technologies that can detect cognitive impairment early and accurately," said Deepak Ganesan, director of the MassAITC, in a statement. "By supporting a study that combines Sonde Health's vocal biomarker technology and Massachusetts General Hospital's expertise in clinical dementia research, we believe we're one step closer to developing the tools and resources needed to elevate aging-in-place care models."

"With this pilot study, we are excited to partner with Sonde Health to contribute new insights into how voice-based remote monitoring of cognitive function for older adults will potentially augment specialized clinical evaluations," said Dr. Brad Dickerson, director of the MGH Frontotemporal Disorders Unit and professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, in a statement.

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