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HI:LIGHTS: Detecting heart health through the voice

Das Bild zeigt die drei Gründer von Noah Labs alle in creme-farbenen Pullovern mit der Aufschrift "Noah Labs" und einem breiten Lächeln auf dem Gesicht. Sie befinden sich in einem Raum mit Loft-Charakter. Oliver Piepenstock formt entsprechend ihres Kernthemas der Herzgesundheit ein Herz mit seinen Händen.

Team Noah Labs. (c) Noah Labs.

The journey of AI start-up Noah Labs began in 2021, when Oliver Piepenstock (34) and Marcus Hott (28) met at the Entrepreneur First incubator in Berlin during a start-up speed dating session. Both had applied to the organization of the same name, which invests six-figure sums in talented people right from the start out of conviction, without program participants having to present a business idea. This was also the case for Oliver and Marcus, who subsequently joined forces in the incubator and founded their company, the heart of which is the medical device “Noah Labs Ark”. This is an AI-based cardiovascular telemonitoring platform and is now to be expanded to include “Noah Labs Vox”, a voice-based AI software for the early detection of decompensated heart failure.

Founders bring experience from the healthcare sector

The medical sector was not new territory for Oliver and Marcus when they founded the company, as they had both worked in this field before: Marcus had worked as a software developer with machine learning and AI at Harvard Medical School and recognized the potential of these technologies for the healthcare sector. At the time, Oliver, an economist, already had his own healthcare company in the field of elderly care called Mecasa. 
Oliver and Marcus received support from the Berlin Startup Scholarship (BSS) from December 2021 to April 2023 to further develop the business idea for their new company. In addition, the founders also took part in the Humboldt-Innovation GmbH mentoring program between 2022 and 2023.

The founding duo becomes a trio with physician Dr. Leonhard Riehle

Until then, the founders were still a duo, but this changed in 2024 when Dr. Leonhard Riehle (31), who had completed his medical studies at the Charité hospital in Berlin and had led clinical studies on voice and also worked in the field of cardiology, joined and completed the founding team. 
A promising constellation of an economist, software developer and doctor, whose Noah Labs Ark software was quickly approved as a Class IIa medical device. The telemonitoring platform is already being used successfully in numerous medical practices. The Noah Labs team takes care of setting up all the devices, other technical tasks and also offers medical staff training on how to use them correctly. As a result, doctors are able to concentrate fully on treating their patients' cardiovascular diseases, monitor the effectiveness of treatment in real time and intervene medically in good time if vital signs and symptoms deteriorate. In this way, patients are cared for even if they have to wait months for their next appointment with a cardiologist. At this point, Noah Labs closes a gap in the healthcare system. 

Telemonitoring Noah Labs

AI-based cardiovascular telemonitoring platform "Noah Labs Ark". (c) Noah Labs.

Voice-based AI software Noah Labs Vox is tested within a study by Mayo Clinic, U.S., and Charité

But that is not all: Noah Labs is currently developing the voice-based AI software Noah Labs Vox which is to be used for the early detection of decompensated heart failure. As part of the “AI-Based Voice Analysis for Monitoring Patients Hospitalized with Acute Decompensated Heart Failure” study, or “VAMP-HF” for short, the German Heart Center at Charité and the Mayo Clinic in the USA are investigating the extent to which patients with advanced heart failure can be monitored telemedically via the sound of their voice, using AI from Noah Labs. 

A close look at the software: How can the condition of the heart be determined using the voice?

But how can the condition of the heart be determined from the voice? To answer this, it is necessary to explain what happens in the body of people with heart failure with “hydropic decompensation”: Due to the severely reduced pumping function of the heart, sufficient fluid can no longer be transported from the tissues to the excretory organs, so that the fluid accumulates in the body, such as in the lungs, leading to a life-threatening deterioration in general condition. Doctors then administer medication to strengthen the heart and drugs to improve the elimination of fluid. It is essential that the effectiveness of the therapy is closely monitored and adjusted. This is where voice monitoring by Noah Labs Vox is helpful, as a greater accumulation of fluid in the body leads to a change in the propagation of sound waves, resulting in a temporary change in the voice. In contrast to human hearing, which cannot perceive these changes, Noah Labs Vox makes them measurable. 
The software analyzes hundreds of parameters in patient voice samples and identifies the smallest changes. The AI records the amount of fluid excreted and can thus predict the effectiveness of the therapy so that doctors can adjust the treatment before symptoms occur.

Noah Labs contribute to a significant reduction of cardiovascular events, hospitalizations and mortality 

Noah Labs Ark has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events, hospitalizations and mortality. If Noah Labs Vox is also approved as a medical device, these events will presumably occur even less frequently. Noah Labs Vox may also be used for other cardiovascular diseases in the future. This is currently being tested.
With its products, Noah Labs is demonstrating a further facet of the possible applications of AI and motivating people to continue exploring the potential of the technology.


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