App predicts COPD attack through voice analysis

App predicts COPD attack through voice analysis
App predicts COPD attack through voice analysis

Pulmonologist and researcher at the MUMC+, Sami Simons, together with his team and patients, are developing an app that can predict a COPD attack. Simons thinks that a change in voice predicts a COPD attack. He tries to demonstrate this in the SPEAK study. He will tell more about this during the ICT&health World Conference in Maastricht from 14 to 16 May. SPEAK stands for Speaking up to detect lung attacks.

During the ICT&health World Conference, Sami Simons will give two presentations. In the first session he talks about innovation at the MUMC+ and the SPEAK and DACIL studies. In the second session he gives a glimpse into the ‘living room of the future’ with a prototype of the app.

“The pulmonologist who trained me could often hear on the telephone whether someone with COPD was having a lung attack. She said ten years ago that we should do research into this. However, the technology for examining the voice was not yet well developed. Apps were also still new and not everyone had a smartphone. That has really changed enormously over the past ten years, so the opportunity to do something with this is now available,” says Simons.

Treatment methods for lung attacks

Simons’ research focuses on the search for new and more targeted treatment methods for lung attacks in people with COPD and includes both laboratory-oriented research and human studies. He works closely with researchers from the NUTRIM research institute of Maastricht University and supervises various PhD students.

Dr. Simons has been working as a pulmonologist at the MUMC+ since 2019. He specializes in the guidance and treatment of people with COPD. He is also responsible for the lung function department. Simons is also chairman of the COPD section of the Dutch Association for Physicians for Pulmonary Diseases and Tuberculosis (NVALT) and is a member of the European Respiratory Society (ERS).


COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is the most common lung disease in the world. In the Netherlands, more than half a million people suffer from it. It affects people of all ages, although the majority are over 60 years of age. The condition progresses erratically. People with COPD have various complaints such as shortness of breath, coughing or phlegm. Although people with COPD suffer from the disease on a daily basis, some days the patient is doing better than others.

If a lung attack can be predicted by voice analysis, treatment advice can also be given in a timely manner. “With the app we hope to reduce variations in the daily burden of disease and prevent a lung attack or at least take the edge off it. To do this, the app analyzes the patient’s voice. This must be entered into the app every day. The patient is reminded of this by the app.” The SPEAK study is financed by the Lung Fund.

The article is in Dutch

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