An unexpected sign of disease from the new coronavirus has been discovered by a research team from the Lincoln Laboratory, which could work to control cases where symptoms are mild
Our voice can “testify” any health problems, such as in the case of the common cold and the alteration it causes in our voice – hoarseness, an erratic utterance of speech.
Could the same be true in the case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus?
Researchers at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory claim to have found similar lesions in asymptomatic patients with coronavirus, indications and biomarkers of the substance due to the virus causing disorders in the movement of muscles along with the respiratory, laryngeal and synovial systems. The findings were published in the IEEE Open Journal of Engineering in Medicine and Biology.
According to Thomas Quartieri, a senior member of the Human Health and Performance Systems Group, for the past ten years, he and his research team have devoted themselves to the study of voice biomarkers associated with neurological disorders such as Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease,). neuron) and Parkinson’s disease, in which signs in speech indicate cerebral dysfunction in the execution of commands. Due to the symptoms caused by the new coronavirus, they investigated whether there could be a correlation with the other diseases.
Shortness of breath, a major symptom, and inflammation of the respiratory system affect the intensity of the air during the patient ‘s speech. By the time patient speaks, this air has come in contact with many more potentially infected muscles, which are responsible for the strength, volume, stability and coordination of the voice.
To investigate the case, the research team watched videos of speeches and interviews of celebrities who had been infected with the new coronavirus to compare vocal biomarkers before and after the disease.
In order to calculate the movement in the respiratory tract, they studied voice tuners through the movements of the larynx based on the stability of the voice and the movements of the joints – such as the tongue, the lips, the jaw. Looser movements of these muscles would indicate the infection by the virus, according to the hypothesis.
Indeed, by observing fluctuations every 10 milliseconds in the speech of named individuals, the researchers, by converting the changes into values that they adapted to a specially designed spectrum, found that mobility was reduced during the time they carried the coronavirus.
According to the researchers, recent preliminary results suggest that biomarkers derived from the coordination of the vocal systems may indicate the presence of the new coronavirus. However, they note that it is still too early to draw safe conclusions and further research is needed.