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 ...

New treatment welcome news for Parkinson's and stroke patients

July 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- New research developed by The University of Queensland is set to change the future treatment of speech problems associated with stroke and Parkinson's disease.

Brain 'hears' voices when reading direct speech

July 26, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- When reading direct quotations, the brain ‘hears’ the voice of the speaker, say scientists.

'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.

Traumatic brain injury shows strong link to depression, but treatments lack study

April 14, 2011
(PhysOrg.com) -- Vanderbilt researchers conducting an extensive analysis of studies on traumatic brain injury (TBI), report today that 30 percent of TBI patients, or approximately 360,000 patients each year, will also suffer ...

Recommended for you

How much people earn is associated with how they experience happiness

December 18, 2017
People who earn more money tend to experience more positive emotions focused on themselves, while people who earn less take greater pleasure in their relationships and ability to connect with others, according to research ...

Could cognitive interventions be useful in treating depression?

December 18, 2017
A new study by experimental psychologists from the University of Bristol has examined whether cognitive bias modification (CBM) for facial interpretation, a digital health intervention that changes our perception for emotional ...

Suicidal thoughts rapidly reduced with ketamine, finds study

December 14, 2017
Ketamine was significantly more effective than a commonly used sedative in reducing suicidal thoughts in depressed patients, according to researchers at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC). They also found that ketamine's ...

Do bullies have more sex?

December 14, 2017
Adolescents who are willing to exploit others for personal gain are more likely to bully and have sex than those who score higher on a measure of honesty and humility. This is according to a study in Springer's journal Evolutionary ...

Eating together as a family helps children feel better, physically and mentally

December 14, 2017
Children who routinely eat their meals together with their family are more likely to experience long-term physical and mental health benefits, a new Canadian study shows.

Children's screen-time guidelines too restrictive, according to new research

December 14, 2017
Digital screen use is a staple of contemporary life for adults and children, whether they are browsing on laptops and smartphones, or watching TV. Paediatricians and scientists have long expressed concerns about the impact ...

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.