Speech a new marker for depression treatment response

August 13, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Speech can measure the severity of depression as well as a patient’s response to treatment, a new collaborative study between the University of Melbourne and the Center for Psychological Consultation in Wisconsin, USA has revealed.

The study, the largest of its kind in the world and published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, found that improvement in patients diagnosed with depression and undergoing can be monitored over the phone by looking at changes in their speech.

Dr Adam Vogel, Head of the Speech Neuroscience Unit at the University of Melbourne, said that speech is a strong marker of brain health, and changes in how we sound reflects how well our brain is working.

“The speech of people with depression changes when they respond to treatment, becoming faster and with shorter pauses. Those with more severe depression produce longer pauses and have slower speaking rates,” he said.

The randomized controlled trial of 105 patients looked at vocal acoustic properties such as timing, pitch and intonation to see if they could provide reliable biomarkers to depression severity and responses to treatment.

Patients were required to call an automated telephone system and leave samples of their speech, such as saying how they felt, reading a passage of text and reciting the alphabet.

“This offers greater treatment flexibility as we can now check on our patients remotely, looking at their patterns even from remote or rural areas,” said Dr James Mundt, Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Psychological Consultation in Wisconsin, USA.

“We know that depressed have difficulties expressing themselves, so if we can improve how we assess , then we can improve how we treat it.”

Explore further: It's not just entertainers who experience voice problems

Related Stories

It's not just entertainers who experience voice problems

November 22, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- In recent weeks, popular singers Adele and Keith Urban have canceled tours in order to undergo surgery to correct problems associated with their voices. Their stories draw attention to the need to precisely ...

'Special K' could relieve depression

June 7, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Recreational drug and anaesthetic, ketamine, is being trialled in people with severe depression and is providing almost instant relief from symptoms, offering fresh hope of a quick new way to manage the ...

Brain 'talks over' boring speech quotes

March 26, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Storytelling is a skill not everyone can master, but even the most crashing bore gets help from their audience’s brain which ‘talks over’ their monotonous quotes, according to scientists.

Recommended for you

Half of people believe fake facts

December 7, 2016

Many people are prone to 'remembering' events that never happened, according to new research by the University of Warwick.

MRI scans detect 'brain rust' in schizophrenia

December 7, 2016

A damaging chemical imbalance in the brain may contribute to schizophrenia, according to research presented at the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Annual Meeting in Hollywood, Florida.

Helping children achieve more in school

December 7, 2016

Not all children do well in school, despite being intellectually capable. Whilst parental relationships, motivation and self-concept all have a role to play, a recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology ...

Want to give a good gift? Think past the 'big reveal'

December 6, 2016

Gift givers often make critical errors in gift selection during the holiday season, according to a new research article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.