Project Summary 

The phase I objective of SPIMA is to create a phone-based system that longitudinally and remotely assesses the mood of patients suffering from major depression.  The ultimate objective of this SBIR is to automate the assessment of depression and deliver that automated assessment remotely over telecommunications or internet infrastructure.  The value of the system is for patients and providers to have an unobtrusive way to gain reater insight into the progression of depression, and potential response to therapy.  The core technology is the SPIMA index that is calculated based on performing signal processing of voice acoustics and will correlate to standard clinical depression rating scales.  The phase I will begin with a first user study to give use case scenarios on the design of SPIMA and collect 150 voice samples from 30 subjects. The voice algorithms will be tested for reliability on these diverse voice samples.  Through a second study of fifteen depressed patients over eight weeks, the SPIMA index will be validated.  The objective of that study will be to establish the overall feasibility of SPIMA to predict a patient’s mood and response to medical therapy over time.  In the phase II study, SPIMA will be validated with a larger patient population through a phase IV clinical trial.  It will also be applied to run off a mobile phone as a step towards more continuous mood monitoring.  The project is significant as it can provide a new means to manage this chronic and debilitating disease.

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