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The “Sound” of diabetes

LIH scientists to identify vocal biomarkers of diabetes distress in new digital health study

07 December 2023 3minutes

In November 2023, the “Société Luxembourgeoise de Diabétologie” (SLD) awarded EUR 5,000 to the Deep Digital Phenotyping (DDP) research unit at the LIH Department of Precision Health (DoPH), in support of the DIAVOX project. The grant will support the development and validation of a novel vocal biomarker for the real-time monitoring of diabetes-related distress in diabetic patients in Luxembourg.  

Diabetes distress refers to the worries, concerns and fears resulting from the burden of living with diabetes and of its constant daily self-management. This condition is very common among patients, affecting 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 individuals with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, respectively, but remains under evaluated in current clinical practice.

Diabetes distress is associated with poorer quality of life and an increased risk of diabetes-related complications. The DIAVOX project therefore aims to leverage the enormous potential of a patient’s voice and of artificial intelligence techniques to open up new possibilities for the detection and remote-monitoring of this major psychosocial health factor”, explains Dr Guy Fagherazzi, DDP Group Leader, Director of the DoPH and leader of the study.

Using advanced machine-learning algorithms, the project will analyse data from an ongoing international cohort with 842 participants with type 1 and type 2 diabetes as part of the Colive Voice study. This will be further integrated with data collected specifically from newly recruited Luxembourg-based participants, thereby ensuring that the identified vocal biomarker is accurate and relevant for the country’s people with diabetes. Indeed, the research team aims to include a total of 300 patients from Luxembourg for the purpose of the study. The collected data will include sociodemographic, lifestyle, diabetes-related and distress-related parameters, as well as clinical data, patient-reported outcomes and voice recordings.

Our findings could subsequently be integrated into monitoring devices such as smartphone applications, vocal assistants and telemedicine solutions, thus enabling a fast, unbiased and regular assessment of diabetes distress”, he adds.

The SLD grant will primarily support the research work performed by PhD candidate Abir Elbéji, who will focus on the development and validation of the vocal biomarker, as well as the postdoctoral activities of Dr Charline Bour, in collaboration with the French research centre Clinatec and the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Grenoble.

DIAVOX is an important step towards a future where voice, an accessible and universally present tool, can be used to improve health and well-being. We are very grateful to the Société Luxembourgeoise de Diabétologie for supporting our efforts in this innovative area of research and look forward to seeing how our work can transform the lives of people living with diabetes and diabetes-related distress.

concludes Dr Fagherazzi.

The study is currently recruiting both people with and without diabetes. Interested individuals can participate through the Colive Voice platform accessible here.

Scientific Contact

  • Guy
    Director, Department of Population Health



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