hundreds of millions people around the world suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, but these are still underdiagnosed or detected too late for optimal intervention. start Acceptable tries to change that, assuming that the first signs of certain conditions can be seen – or heard – in a person’s voice.
“Accexible works at the intersection of neuroscience, linguistics and mathematics,” said Carla Zaldua Aguirre, CEO of the company, during a keynote at WIRED Health this month of March. Accexible’s product, accessible on computer, app or via phone call, assesses the linguistic content of a person’s speech, as well as the way they speak, to identify changes that may indicate an underlying problem. Aguirre promises 90% accuracy and results in just minutes. The idea is that GPs can use the app as a screening test and neurologists can use it to track their patients’ progress over time.
The company said it was already used by 10,000 patients and 40 practitioners in five markets, and Accexible is running pilot projects in Spain, Colombia and the UK. If a patient presents with a memory complaint, a doctor can use the technology to perform a screening test and then refer them to a memory clinic for further attention if needed.
“There is a preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease where you can’t see the symptoms, but there are biological biomarkers,” says Aguirre. The company is studying whether the model can predict the levels of beta-amyloid, the protein that accumulates in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Aguirre’s hope is that Accexible will eventually be able to detect a range of health conditions and speed up access to treatment.