Sonde Health and Michigan State University Collaborate on Research Study to Assess the Impact of COVID-19 on Physical Activity and Mental Health in Africa

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sonde Health, in collaboration with Michigan State University, University of Botswana, University of Ghana, University of Dar es Salaam and University of Nigeria, Nsukka, has launched a new study that uses vocal biomarkers to identify and understand the relationship between physical activity, mental health and respiratory health of people living in Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the study will expand the size and diversity of Probe’s voice biobank, which will now include voice samples and health tags from people from four continents, multiple languages ​​and ethnicities, as well as socio- economic. This increasingly diverse dataset helps validate the generalizability and applicability of Probe’s statistical health models for use around the world.

“Speech production, physical activity as predictors of emotional resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and Tanzania” aims to measure the impact of COVID-19 on physical activity , as well as whether physical activity levels are associated with mental and physical health during the pandemic. So far, over 1,000 participants from Botswana, Ghana, Tanzania and Nigeria have provided 24,000 voice samples and completed health questionnaires (such as PHQ9, GAD7, IPAQ and COVID19). The technology then measures more than 1,000 parameters in each voice sample to identify subtle vocal changes associated with changing mental and physical health.

“This collaboration illustrates what partnerships between the private sector and higher education could do to address global challenges,” said Professor Leapetswe Malete of Michigan State University. “This study in four large regions of Africa is not only innovative, but also has potential applications in other areas of research. It is essential to improve the diversity, equity and inclusion needed in research, and to improve access to communities that are normally left out due to geographic location and limited resources.

“Beyond the potential global health benefits, our research study with Michigan State University and partner universities in Africa is an important milestone for Probe, as we are now expanding our voice data collection and analysis to include a broad demographic group of people across Africa,” says David Liu, CEO of Sonde Health. “As we continue to advance our technology, the diversity of our dataset is crucial to ensuring the accuracy and applicability of our models in any population. Ultimately, having the full The industry’s most unbiased data can help us expand our leadership position in using vocal biomarkers to monitor health changes.

Although in its early stages, the study has already revealed different mental health patterns across countries.

The leaders of the study are Professor Leapetswe Malete of Michigan State University; Dr. Dale Joachim of Sonde Health; Professor Reginald Ocansey and Dr Clement Adamba of the University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana; Dr. Joyce Ndabi from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; and Dr. Dawn Tladi from the University of Botswana.

About Health Probe

Sonde Health has developed an enterprise voice biomarker platform that allows any company to license a respiratory or mental condition monitoring product or create a new voice biomarker product. Probe scales data collection, feature development, model building, and clinical validation in collaboration with its partners and customers. Drawing on more than one million voice samples from more than 80,000 people, Probe uses advanced audio signal processing and machine learning to detect and analyze subtle vocal shifts due to changes in the physiology of the voice. a person to provide key health and wellness information.

About Michigan State University

Michigan State University is a top public university in the United States and one of the top research universities in the world. As the nation’s pioneer land-grant university, MSU began as a bold experiment that democratized higher education and helped bring science and innovation into everyday life. MSU has extensive experience in managing large global and multidisciplinary projects. Key features of the MSU approach include collaborative project design and implementation, as well as the integration of capacity building, which facilitate sustainable partnerships with a triple bottom line: high political impact, strengthened institutions for continued innovation after project completion, greater human capacity for the next generation of leadership, and improved sustainability of adaptation outcomes.

Paul N. Strickland