Vocal-source biomarkers for depression - a link to psychomotor activity
September 9, 2012
A hypothesis in characterizing human depression is that change in the brain's basal ganglia results in a decline of motor coordination. Such a neuro-physiological change may therefore affect laryngeal control and dynamics. Under this hypothesis, toward the goal of objective monitoring of depression severity, we investigate vocal-source biomarkers for depression; specifically, source features that may relate to precision in motor control, including vocal-fold shimmer and jitter, degree of aspiration, fundamental frequency dynamics, and frequency-dependence of variability and velocity of energy. We use a 35-subject database collected by Mundt et al. in which subjects were treated over a six-week period, and investigate correlation of our features with clinical (HAMD), as well as self-reported (QIDS) Total subject assessment scores. To explicitly address the motor aspect of depression, we compute correlations with the Psychomotor Retardation component of clinical and self-reported Total assessments. For our longitudinal database, most correlations point to statistical relationships of our vocal-source biomarkers with psychomotor activity, as well as with depression severity.