Vocal Biomarkers: What our voice tells us about our health
A voice reveals a lot about a person’s health: Does it sound strong? Does it sound weak? Is it hoarse? Are there indications of pain or fatigue? Modern digital technologies have recently made it possible to detect the smallest changes in the voice. But now, more research is needed to make the results of this voice monitoring usable for medical and diagnostic purposes. To this end, a team at the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) led by Dr. Guy Fagherazzi, director of the Department of Population Health and head of the Deep Digital Phenotyping Research Unit, has written a review on the topic of “vocal biomarkers”. In this paper, the research team describes the state of the art of voice analysis for health purposes and the evaluation of speech recordings with the help of artificial intelligence. The scientists have also described a pipeline in which the corresponding techniques can be coordinated and used for all the way up to medical applications. They have thus created an important basis for systematically advancing voice analysis in the field of digital health and making it ready for use in clinical practice. The publication “Voice For Health: The Use Of Vocal Biomarkers From Research To Clinical Practice” was published on April 16th in the journal “Digital Biomarkers“
New insights into the genetic risk factors of Lewy body dementia
Prof Rejko Krüger, Director of Transversal Translational Medicine at LIH, contributed to an international study aiming to shed light into the genetic determinants of Lewy body dementia (LBD), a common yet understudied neurodegenerative disease. Leveraging advanced genome sequencing techniques in a large study population, the scientists identified five risk genes involved in the onset and progression of this form of dementia, and brought forward the critical role of mutations in a subset of these genes in LBD development. The study also showed that LBD displays common features with Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease, thereby providing a deeper understanding of the complex genetic architecture of this age-related neurodegenerative condition and paving the way for the development of targeted therapies. The findings were published in February 2021 in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics.
Connected devices unravel associations between physical activity habits and weight change
Dr Guy Fagherazzi, Director of the LIH Department of Population Health (DoPH) and leader of the Deep Digital Phenotyping Research Unit, and Dr Laurent Malisoux, leader of the Physical Activity, Sport and Health research group at DoPH, exploited the potential of digital health tools to investigate the relationship between both the level and frequency of physical activity and weight variations. The study, which was published on April 15th in the top digital health journal “Journal of Medical Internet Research - mHealth and uHealth”, is a collaboration with the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the French manufacturer of connected e-health devices Withings.
[Press release] CON-VINCE study enters homestretch
Originally launched in April 2020 under the aegis of the Research Luxembourg COVID-19 Taskforce, the CON-VINCE study aims to evaluate the prevalence and dynamics of the spread of COVID-19 within the Luxembourgish population, with a specific focus on asymptomatic and mildly symptomatic individuals. The last round of testing of the CON-VINCE participants is due to start in April 2021, approximately one year after the first set of visits upon inclusion in the study. The final wave will provide a comprehensive insight into the evolution and transmission of the disease over an extended timeframe, particularly from an immunity perspective.
Pelican Grant awarded to LIH PhD candidates
On February 9th, Eleftheria Charalambous and Mohaned Benzarti, doctoral candidates from the LIH Department of Infection and Immunity (DII) and the LIH Department of Oncology (DONC), respectively, were awarded the 2020 Pelican Grant by the Fondation du Pélican de Mie et Pierre Hippert-Faber. The grant will support training and mobility activities in the context of their research projects on the microbiome and on cancer metabolism.
[Press release] Predi-COVID extended to children
Originally launched in April 2020 with the aim of identifying risk factors and biomarkers associated with COVID-19 severity in the adult population, Predi-COVID has now officially been extended to children. The study, coordinated by the Luxembourg Institute of Health (LIH) and carried out under the aegis of the Research Luxembourg COVID-19 Task Force, will particularly benefit from the collaboration with the Centre Hospitalier de Luxembourg (CHL) for the recruitment of younger children.
[Press release] A national survey on sleep quality to better prevent neurodegenerative diseases
The National Centre of Excellence in Research on Parkinson’s Disease (NCER-PD) launches a nation-wide research survey on sleep behaviour disorders under the patronage of the Ministry of Health.
Understanding the impact of dietary fibres on the gut microbiome
On February 9th, Erica Grant, doctoral candidate within the Eco-Immunology and Microbiome group of the LIH Department of Infection and Immunity (DII), was awarded the 2020 Pelican Grant by the Fondation du Pélican de Mie et Pierre Hippert-Faber. The grant will support her training and mobility activities in the context of her research project on the gut microbiome.
LUX:plorations comics: explaining science through art!
Several PhD candidates from the LIH Departments of Infection and Immunity (DII), Population Health (DoPH) and Oncology (DONC) contributed to “LUX:plorations”, an innovative series of catchy cartoons promoted by the Doctoral Education in Science Communication (DESCOM) project of the University of Luxembourg. The aim of the initiative? Explaining science and research to the lay public in a colourful and artistic way!