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What a Voice Analysis Could Tell Us About Putin’s State of Mind




April 15, 2022 – As the war in Ukraine intensified, Japanese researchers analysed snippets from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s voice for several weeks. Researchers found that his mental health problems became more apparent as he experienced increased stress levels. Researchers found that his stress levels increased and that his mental health problems were evident. Scientists know for a long time that diseases can affect organs like the brain, heart, and lungs. They also know that patients with depression tend to speak faster and with fewer pauses. Parkinson’s patients tend to have a low volume voice and a monotone sound. Multiple sclerosis patients may have a low-volume voice and a monotone quality. After studying voice differences in a variety of people, researchers can train an algorithm that can detect signs of stress in a voice. This can be done by researching voice differences in different populations and teasing out differences between stressed and healthy voices. Voice analysis is being used by researchers and companies. There are several apps that can be downloaded and used on smartphones. Okazaki explains that voice analysis is used to determine the state of the vocal chords. The vocal cords become stiff when there is tension or stress. He says that this is an involuntary response and cannot be controlled by the individual. “So speech sounds can be used to measure the state of the psyche. Okazaki suggested that you recall the sounds of your voice when you are nervous. He then compared these speech sounds to a calm talk he gave in September 2020 at United Nations. In this talk, he praised international cooperation. Okazaki stated that his company continues to analyze Putin’s voice, but does not make any predictions about when or if he will surrender. He said, “It must not be said that predicting yielding [is] difficult.” “This is because there are not enough data to make reliable forecasts. “Experts: Not so fast” Alexander S. Young, MD is a professor and interim chair of biobehavioral sciences and psychiatry at the David Geffen School of Medicine, UCLA. “In fact, I would recommend in this case not making any such suggestion. True psychiatric evaluation is required. Experts in the field agree that voice analysis is promising but still has a long way to go. Satrajit S.Ghosh, PhD is principal research scientist at McGovern Research Institute for brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He uses neuroimaging and speech to improve mental health assessment. He has also reviewed published studies that used speech to diagnose psychiatric disorders. He says that the field is still in its infancy. It’s easy to get excited about these things. [But] I feel that the field isn’t advanced enough to know the exact information we can extract voice information in relation to human behavior. Ghosh agrees with other experts that there are concerns about the technology. Ghosh says there are concerns about the technology, just like other experts. He believes voice analysis will be useful for all purposes and has done research on its use for depression. However, he suggests that a more practical focus should be placed on conditions like dementia and the loss or dysfunction of nerve cells. “In those cases I have a truth-to-point to,” he said. He was referring to evidence of brain plaque buildup that can support voice analysis findings. Lillian Glass, PhD is a Los Angeles communication expert and body language expert. She says that focusing on voice is like focusing on the elephant’s tail when trying to describe an elephant. “”You must look at the body language. Do you see him moving? Are there many movements? Tone and speech content are also important. These are the aspects that will help you determine how your leaders are doing. Ghomi suggests this tip to consumers who are drawn to the apps to evaluate themselves: “Think about it as participating in research at that point. “Range of Voice Analysis Research:Cardiac Risk: Mayo Clinic researchers reported that an AI-based computer algorithm predicted whether a person might have heart problems due to clogged vessels based on speech recordings. Three 30-second voice recordings were taken from 108 patients and analyzed using a smartphone app. The system evaluated more than 80 features in voice recordings and gave each person an individual score. The researchers gave each person a score over a 2-year period. Those with high scores were 2.6 times more likely have a cardiac issue, and 3 times more likely show plaque buildup on tests. They extracted 21 voice features from interview recordings, and compared them between three groups: 33 people who were not depressed, 26 with minor depression, 34 with major depression. Other researchers discovered seven voice indicators that showed significant differences among the three groups. Other researchers found that speech samples were taken from veterans who had been diagnosed with PTSD. They also identified voice features that are more common in people with PTSD. The company’s founder and chief operating officer, Jim Harper, said that a user speaks for 90 seconds and responds to questions. After that, the app gives a report on their stress level. He says that the goal is to encourage engagement and not to diagnose. “The goal is to encourage engagement,” he says, emphasizing that the tool’s intent is to promote general wellness, not to diagnose.

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New GR Pharmacy to Serve Spanish-speaking Patients




GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — By the end of the year, Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood will have a new pharmacy.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria began construction Monday morning on the $1.5 million project. The new pharmacy will include both walk-up and drive-thru services.

Trinity Health Clinica Santa Maria practice leader Kameron Selleck it will offer convenience in a neighborhood that doesn’t have a pharmacy close in proximity, making it challenging for patients to get their prescriptions in a timely manner.

“A lot of our patients do encounter a lot of social barriers in their lives,” Selleck said.

He added that a language barrier can make it difficult patients to get their prescriptions. He said nearly every employee at Clinica Santa Maria is bilingual in Spanish and the plan is for that trend to carry over to new pharmacy and pharmacy tech hires.

“I think this project was announced almost five years ago, so it’s here,” Selleck said. “I just really encourage the community to be as excited as we are.

The pharmacy is at 730 Cesar E. Chavez Ave. SW (formerly Grandville Avenue) at Martin Luther King Jr. Street (formerly Franklin Street) in Grand Rapids. It will be the seventh Trinity Health pharmacy in the Grand Rapids area, with the other locations being Cathedral Square, the Wege Building at Trinity Heath Saint Mary’s, Hudsonville, Rockford, Byron Center and Southeast Grand Rapids.

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Tulip Time Crowds Encouraging for Returning Festivals




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Tulip Time saw big crowds this year as it returned to a more regular schedule.

The event was cancelled in 2020 and scaled back last year because of the pandemic.

Hot temperatures caused damage to some of Holland’s tulips, Tulip Time organizers say.

The heat caused challenges for the 2022 festival. The Tulip Immersion Garden, a new attraction, had to close early because the hot temperatures caused too much damage to the flowers, Tulip Time Executive Director Gwen Auwerda said.

“They don’t like 80 degree, 90 degree weather. Tulips prefer it to be about 40 at night, 60 to 70, maybe 80 during the day,” Auwerda said.

Heat closes down Tulip Time Immersion Garden early

The organization is working on final numbers but saw attendance return to pre-pandemic levels.

“I do know that the carnival exceeded 2019 by 25 to 30%, so that was fabulous for them and it was packed everywhere in town,” Auwerda said.

Kevin Knight, the owner of Market Zero, said the festival definitely provided a boost as they worked to keep up with demand. 

“It’s a huge kick off to your summer season,” Knight said. “Our fridges were completely full and got completely empty and completely full and completely empty, so it was about everything we could handle.”

Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022. Inside Market Zero in downtown Holland on May 16, 2022.

The return of crowds could be good sign for other events coming back this summer, like the Festival of the Arts in Grand Rapids. Mark Azkoul, an organizer for the event that began in 1970, sees the success of Tulip Time as encouraging.

Tulip Time has record-breaking opening weekend

“We’ve been out for two years so this is a big thing for us and for the city to get Festival back up and going,” Azkoul said.

Organizers created the Plein Air event for 2021, which combined outdoor art and music.

The 2022 event runs June 3 through June 5. After taking a break because of the pandemic the festival needs extra help.    

“A lot of people still don’t know yet festival is coming back, so we really want to get the word out. We need more volunteers,” Azkoul said.

People interested in volunteering can sign up on the Festival of the Arts website.


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Mom Does ‘small Part’ to Help Parents Who Need Formula




HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Though there appears to an end of the baby formula shortage in sight, it’s still causing problems for parents, so a mother in Holland did what she could to help.

Abbott Nutrition has announced its entered into an agreement with the federal Food and Drug Administration to restart its Sturgis plant within two weeks. The closure of that plant has been a huge contributing factor to the shortage. The company expects its products to ship to stores eight weeks after production resumes.

But for now, many parents can’t find the formula they need. The low supply has some stores limiting the number of formulas customers can purchase, adding that they are in “extraordinary high” demand.

The baby formula shelves at a Meijer in Holland.

So Caitlin Dampier, a mother of two whose youngest is a 3-month-old girl, stepped up to help where she could.

“I really wish I could help out more, but this is just my small part,” Dampier said.

She got a box of Enfamil formulas that she’s not using because she’s breastfeeding.

“When you’re pregnant, you get free samples and so I thought I would just offer mine for free for mothers who need them,” Dampier said. “I kept it around in case I wasn’t able to breastfeed.”

5 things to know if you can’t find baby formula

Dampier made a post on Facebook this week directed at parents who can’t find formula. The box she received included three cans of Enfamil formulas and two ready-made formulas.

Two mothers reached out to her, including Kourtney Hann, another Holland resident. She’s one of thousands of mothers across the country who have had to go to great lengths to find food for their baby.

“I have had to go to stores maybe 45 minutes away just to even try to get formula,” she said. “It’s very hard to find them where I’m at right now. I went to Walmart yesterday and all they had was Similac and my daughter has a really bad reaction to Similac.”

Hann was able to connect with Dampier and picked up a can of Enfamil. Dampier left the box on her front porch with the message, “Please take only the formula you chose and tear out some coupons for yourself. My prayers are with you during this difficult time.”

The box of Enfamil products Caitlin Dampier left at her door for mothers to pick up.

Hann said she was down to her last can of baby formula which lasts her about five days. Now that she has received another can from Dampier, she’ll be able to feed her 9-month-old for the next two weeks.

“Being a mom is hard enough as it is. You have so many other struggles and to be afraid to know if you’re going to be able to feed your baby or not is a struggle,” Dampier said. “You want to do everything for your kids so when you’re not able to it’s hard. It’s just the worst feeling in the world.”


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