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Early Prediction and Prevention of Depression

Major depressive disorders (MDD) affect about 4-8% percent of the general population, causing the loss of the ability to work, to have close relationships, and to have a fulfilling life. Available treatments, though effective, have only modest response rates and, most disturbingly, the question of predicting treatment response in the individual patient is not answerable for any of the currently available therapeutic approaches. A considerable number of patients suffer from recurrent episodes of depression so that the early detection of relapse is key for prevention and the development of effective longterm therapies.

Speaking Behavior and Voice Sound Characteristics

Depression significantly reduces the dynamic expressiveness of human voices, thus greatly reducing inter-individual differences. As a direct consequence, the patients' voices become more similar to each other ("depressive voice"): The patients speak in a low voice, slowly, hesitatingly, monotonously, sometimes stuttering, whispering, try several times before they bring out a word, become mute in the middle of a sentence (Kraepelin 1921). During recovery, however, the patients' speaking behavior and voice sound characteristics return to "normal" values. In a series of clinical studies we found a close correlation in two thirds of patients between speech parameters on the one hand, and psychopathology scores on the other. Consequently, speech analyses allow one to monitor the time course of improvement (and possible deterioration) in these patients.
Get involved in "natural" health issues and enjoy the benefits of health prevention . VoiceAppBanner
For details visit [ifma-health.com].

Refining Predictor Performance

OPTIMI, an EU-funded collaborative project run by a consortium of 11 academic and industrial partners, aims at refining the overall performance of the approach through a combination of several predictor variables. Goal is the reliable prediction of relapse in the individual patient at a high sensitivity and specificity. Predictors under investigation include sleep disturbances, cortisol levels, physical activity, and brain wave patterns, complemented by side effects and medical comorbidity. Predictors are constructed by means of advanced Neural Networks technologies with focus on the individual patient.


Braun S, Annovazzi C, Botella C, Bridler B, Camussi E, Delfino JP, Mohr C, Moragrega I, Papagno C, Pisoni A, Soler C, Seifritz E, Stassen HH: Assessing Chronic Stress, Coping Skills and Mood Disorders through Speech Analysis. A Self-Assessment "Voice App" for Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones. Psychopathology 2016; 49(6): 406-419 [get the article]
Braun S, Botella C, Bridler R, Chmetz F, Delfino JP, Herzig D, Kluckner VJ, Mohr C, Moragrega I, Schrag Y, Seifritz E, Soler C, Stassen HH: Affective State and Voice: Cross-Cultural Assessment of Speaking Behavior and Voice Sound Characteristics; A Normative Multi-Center Study of 577+36 Healthy Subjects. Psychopathology 2014; 47(5): 327-340
Delfino JP, Barragán E, Botella C, Braun S, Bridler R, Camussi E, Chafrat V, Lott P, Mohr C, Moragrega I, Papagno C, Sanchez S, Seifritz E, Soler C, Stassen HH: Quantifying Insufficient Coping Behavior under Chronic Stress. A cross-cultural study of 1,303 students from Italy, Spain, and Argentina. Psychopathology 2015; 48: 230-239
Mohr C, Braun S, Bridler R, Chmetz F, Delfino JP, Kluckner VJ, Lott P, Schrag Y, Seifritz E, Stassen HH: Insufficient Coping Behavior under Chronic Stress and Vulnerability to Psychiatric Disorders. Psychopathology 2014; 47: 235-243
Stassen HH, Delfino JP, Kluckner VJ, Lott P, Mohr C: Vulnerabilität und psychische Erkrankung. Swiss Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry 2014; 165(5): 152-157


speech recording
Fig. 3: We have developed a "voice app" for the analysis of speaking behavior and voice sound characteristics as a function of time and in a language-independent way. This easy-to-use "voice app" is currently available for Laptops, Tablets, and Smartphones under Windows and Android. The iPhone version is in preparation.

Everis, Spain
ETH, Switzerland
UZH, Switzerland
Freiburg, Germany
MA Systems, UK
Bristol, UK
Xiwrite, Italy
Ultrasis, UK
Jaume, Spain
Valencia, Spain
Lanzhou, China


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