TORONTO, ONTARIO – Humber’s Centre for Innovation in Health and Wellness (CIHW) and Klick Labs are partnering to employ cutting-edge voice recognition technology to screen for prediabetes in the younger South Asian demographic.

Nearly nine per cent of Canadians live with diabetes, with 90 per cent of all cases being diagnosed as Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). While everyone is at risk of T2D, South Asians face a higher risk compared to the general Canadian population. This elevated risk is linked to a combination of genetic factors, lifestyle patterns, and body composition. Evidence indicates that this population tends to develop the condition at a younger age and lower body mass index (BMI) levels than other demographic groups. Diabetes in Canada incurs more than $30 billion in direct medical costs annually. Prediabetes precedes T2D, and with lifestyle changes, its onset can be delayed or prevented.

Leveraging the depth and breadth of Humber’s expertise, and interdisciplinary collaboration, CIHW focuses on innovative solutions for health equity, prevention and management of chronic diseases, and community health and wellness. One of the key areas of focus for CIHW is prevention of prediabetes/Type 2 diabetes in the community.

“Early identification of prediabetes, particularly in asymptomatic individuals, is crucial for intervention and risk reduction,” says Vanita Varma, Director of the Centre for Innovation in Health & Wellness at Humber. “However, the challenge lies in the absence of noticeable symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. Within Humber's health programs, we emphasize the significance of early intervention. This pilot study employs non-invasive and cost-effective methods, such as vocal biomarkers, to contribute to reducing diabetes risk in at-risk populations.”

Through engagement of students and staff from Humber’s Faculty of Health Sciences & Wellness with research staff from both Humber and Klick Labs, this research will employ a machine learning-based acoustic analysis model to identify a specific vocal biomarker in individuals with prediabetes within the South Asian population in the Peel and Toronto regions. Sub-analyses will consider factors such as age, sex, gender, family history, socioeconomic status, smoking, drinking, and postal code and housing.

“Vocal biomarkers are at the cutting edge of digital health research,” said Yan Fossat, senior vice-president at Klick Labs. “Identification of prediabetes by voice with a mobile phone can remove the barriers to diagnostic access that currently exist.”

In October 2023, Fossat and his team announced groundbreaking research in Mayo Clinic Proceedings: Digital Health around the AI model created to detect Type 2 diabetes using 10 seconds of voice.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) has provided funding through the Mobilize Research Grant supplemented by Humber and Klick Labs. The project will run until August.

For more information on the initiative please visit:

For more details on Klick Labs, visit:

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About Klick Applied Sciences (including Klick Labs)
Klick Applied Sciences’ diverse team of data scientists, engineers, and biological scientists conducts scientific research and develops AI/ML and software solutions as part of the company’s work to support commercial efforts using its proven business, scientific, medical, and technological expertise. Its 2019 Voice Assistants Medical Name Comprehension study laid the scientific foundation for rigorously testing voice assistant consumer devices in a controlled manner. Klick Applied Sciences is part of the Klick Group of companies, which also includes Klick Health (including Klick Katalyst and btwelve), Klick Media Group, Klick Consulting, Klick Ventures, and Sensei Labs. Established in 1997, Klick has offices in New York, Philadelphia, Toronto, London, São Paulo, and Singapore. Klick has consistently been ranked a Best Managed Company, Great Place to Work, Best Workplace for Women, Best Workplace for Inclusion, Best Workplace for Professional Services, and Most Admired Corporate Culture.

For more information, please contact:

Sylvie Lendvay
Media Relations and External Communications Specialist
Humber College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning | 416.729.8940

Marisa McWilliams
Director, Communications
Klick Applied Sciences | 416.214.4977