Although Parkinson’s can be debilitating to those suffering from it, there are lots of early warning signs that the disease might develop in the future, which could help to manage symptoms before they progress.
At the moment there’s no definitive way to diagnose Parkinson’s, doctors carry out a series of tests and medical imaging to rule out other conditions. However, mathematician and all-round brainy guy Max Little has been working on a way to develop software that could detect Parkinson’s by analysing lots and lots of voices.
According to Little, analysing a person’s voice and picking up on differences in speech could signal that someone has the early stages of Parkinson’s. Lifehacker writes:
“Using data from 50 patients with Parkinson’s, who had their voices recorded once a week for six months, Little was able to develop an algorithm to detect changes in voice purely associated with Parkinson’s. In recent tests, the software accurately picked out Parkinson’s patients from a random population with 86 percent accuracy.”
In order to further his research, Little is currently encouraging people around the world to record their voices.
Little’s work is still in the very early stages and he doesn’t expect the technology to replace clinical expertise, but could provide a cheap and quick way for doctors to analyse patients they think may be at risk.