Volume 117, Issue 2, February 2005
Index of content:
- BIOACOUSTICS 
117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1830668View Description Hide Description
Assessing the proportion of biological cells in a volume of interest undergoing structural changes, such as cell death, using high-frequency ultrasound (20–100 MHz), requires the development of a theoreticalmodel of scattering by any arbitrary cell ensemble. A prerequisite to building such a model is to know the scattering by a single cell in different states. In this paper, a simple model for the high-frequency acoustic scattering by one cell is proposed. A method for deducing the backscatter transfer function from a single, subresolution scatterer is also devised. Using this method, experimental measurements of backscatter from homogeneous, subresolution polystyrene microspheres and single, viable eukaryotic cells, acquired across a broad, continuous range of frequencies were compared with elasticscattering theory and the proposed cell scatteringmodel, respectively. The resonant features observed in the backscatter transfer function of microspheres were found to correspond accurately to theoretical predictions. Using the spacing of the major spectral peaks in the transfer functions obtained experimentally, it is possible to predict microsphere diameters with less than 4% error. Such good agreement was not seen between the cell model and the measuredbackscatter from cells. Possible reasons for this discrepancy are discussed.
Pitch and formant profiles of human vowels and vowel-like baboon grunts: The role of vocalizer body size and voice-acoustic allometry117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1848011View Description Hide Description
Key voice features—fundamental frequency and formant frequencies—can vary extensively between individuals. Much of the variation can be traced to differences in the size of the larynx and vocal-tract cavities, but whether these differences in turn simply reflect differences in speaker body size (i.e., neutral vocal allometry) remains unclear. Quantitative analyses were therefore undertaken to test the relationship between speaker body size and voice and formant frequencies for human vowels. To test the taxonomic generality of the relationships, the same analyses were conducted on the vowel-like grunts of baboons, whose phylogenetic proximity to humans and similar vocal production biology and voice acoustic patterns recommend them for such comparative research. For adults of both species, males were larger than females and had lower mean voice and formant frequencies. However, beyond this, variation did not track body-size variation between the sexes in either species, nor within sexes in humans. In humans, formant variation correlated significantly with speaker height but only in males and not in females. Implications for general vocal allometry are discussed as are implications for speech origins theories, and challenges to them, related to laryngeal position and vocal tract length.
Automatic classification and speaker identification of African elephant (Loxodonta africana) vocalizations117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1847850View Description Hide Description
A hidden Markov model (HMM) system is presented for automatically classifying African elephant vocalizations. The development of the system is motivated by successful models from human speech analysis and recognition. Classification features include frequency-shifted Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients (MFCCs) and log energy, spectrally motivated features which are commonly used in human speech processing. Experiments, including vocalization type classification and speaker identification, are performed on vocalizations collected from captive elephants in a naturalistic environment. The system classified vocalizations with accuracies of 94.3% and 82.5% for type classification and speaker identification classification experiments, respectively. Classification accuracy, statistical significance tests on the model parameters, and qualitative analysis support the effectiveness and robustness of this approach for vocalization analysis in nonhuman species.
Acoustic characterization in whole blood and plasma of site-targeted nanoparticle ultrasound contrast agent for molecular imaging117(2005); http://dx.doi.org/10.1121/1.1810251View Description Hide Description
The ability to enhance specific molecular markers of pathology with ultrasound has been previously demonstrated by our group employing a nanoparticle contrast agent [Lanza et al., Invest. Radiol. 35, 227–234 (2000); Ultrasound Med. Biol. 23, 863–870 (1997)]. One of the advantages of this agent is very low echogenicity in the blood pool that allows increased contrast between the blood pool and the bound, site-targeted agent. We measured acoustic backscatter and attenuation coefficient as a function of the contrast agent concentration, ambient pressure, peak acoustic pressure, and as an effect of duty cycle and wave form shape. Measurements were performed while the nanoparticles were suspended in either whole porcine blood or plasma. The nanoparticles were only detectable when insonified within plasma devoid of red blood cells and were shown to exhibit backscatter levels more than 30 dB below the backscatter from whole blood. Attenuation of nanoparticles in whole porcine blood was not measurably different from that of whole blood alone over a range of concentrations up to eight times the maximum in vivo dose. The resulting data provide upper bounds on blood pool attenuation coefficient and backscatter and will be needed to more precisely define levels of molecular contrast enhancement that may be obtained in vivo.