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Study builds on one of the largest longitudinal studies of cognitive and brain changes in older adults with ASD

Aural Analytics will sponsor speech and language biomarker collection and analysis via its Speech Vitals Technology Platform

PHOENIX, ARIZ. – August 5th, 2021 – Aural Analytics, Inc.,  Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), and Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions announced today they have entered into a partnership on an innovative study that will examine the validity of assessing speech and language biomarkers in autistic adults. This study will be a part of a larger study evaluating the Strengthening Skills program, a behavioral intervention that can be individualized to improve independence and quality of life in autistic adults across the lifespan.

In recent work conducted by ASU and SARRC, researchers found that middle-age autistic adults without intellectual disability have reduced executive functioning abilities, reduced engagement of functional brain networks during executive function tasks, and smaller brain memory structures compared to matched adults without autism.  Similarly, the researchers also found elevated depression and anxiety levels in middle-age autistic adults. Other research also suggests that core ASD symptoms, especially social communication, may worsen with age. Social communication impairment has been explicitly linked to low rates of independent living and high rates of unemployment in autistic adults. These issues substantiate an urgent need to identify interventions that improve independence and quality of life in autistic adults across the lifespan.

The Strengthening Skills program will combine PEERS®, an evidence-based social skills program, with cognitive compensation training and mindfulness-based emotional regulation. Development and pilot testing of the intervention is supported by a Clinical Translational Research Award from the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) Autism Research Program.

Aural Analytics, who has agreed to sponsor the collection and analysis of speech and language-based outcome measures in the cohort, has focused its technology on the design, development and large-scale distribution of clinical-grade speech and language biomarkers that effectively measure important aspects of quality of life, cognition and social communication. Its widely used speech biomarkers platform will enable remote real-world-evidence collection, via participants’ personal mobile devices.

“Clinical trials of behavioral interventions and investigational medications for autism would benefit from more objective outcome measures,” said Nicole Matthews, Ph.D., co-principal investigator and research psychologist at SARRC. “Our collaboration with Aural Analytics will allow for the collection of pilot data to determine the validity of speech and language biomarkers, which correspond to core symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.”

“Aural Analytics is proud to sponsor such an important study. We have spent years understanding speech’s connection to quality of life and cognition,” said Daniel Jones, co-founder and CEO of Aural Analytics. “We design our applications to be easy to use for all and to enable real-world collection of important objective measures. This work, combined with the amazing work of our colleagues in this study, will bring about important advancements to how adults with ASD live and function every day.”

Enrollment in the study, which will be conducted at SARRC in Phoenix, is ongoing. The study is expected to last for two years with 48 autistic adults ages 21-70 years.

About Aural Analytics, Inc.

Aural Analytics is the industry’s leading speech neuroscience company harnessing the clinical utility of the world’s speech across the age range and around the world. Their suite of applications and embeddable SDKs and APIs are available in 22 languages across Android, iOS, and the web are easy to use, secure, and provide robust, clinically relevant, interpretable, and validated metrics reflecting the neurological and respiratory health of its users. For more information, please visit auralanalytics.com or follow Aural Analytics on TwitterLinkedInMedium, and Facebook.

About SARRC

Established in 1997, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) is an internationally recognized nonprofit that conducts innovative research, provides evidence-based practices, disseminates effective training and builds inclusive communities for individuals with autism and their families. SARRC is dedicated to autism research, education, evidence-based treatment, and community outreach. Additionally, SARRC is one of the only autism organizations in the world that provides a lifetime of services for individuals and their families while also conducting cutting edge research. Learn more at autismcenter.org.

About ASU and the College of Health Solutions

Arizona State University (ASU) is one of the fastest growing research enterprises among all U.S. universities, with nearly $640M in annual research expenditures and ranked sixth in the nation among institutions without a medical school (National Science Foundation Higher Education Research and Development Survey). U.S. News & World Report has ranked ASU No. 1 in innovation for six straight years. The College of Health Solutions (CHS) at ASU is committed to translating scientific health research and discovery into practice by bringing together researchers, faculty, students and community partners to improve health outcomes. CHS has made an investment in autism-related research by establishing the Autism Translational Team under the leadership of Blair Braden, PhD and in collaboration with SARRC, Aural Analytics and other partners. Learn more at chs.asu.edu and asu.edu/.

The U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity, 820 Chandler Street, Fort Detrick MD 21702-5014 is the awarding and administering acquisition office. This work is supported by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs endorsed by the Department of Defense, through the Autism Research Program under Award No. W81XWH-19-ARP-CTRA. Opinions, interpretations, conclusions and recommendations are those of the author and are not necessarily endorsed by the Department of Defense.

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