New Technology May Detect Parkinson's With A Phone Call

Phone

Photo: Stacia Sidlow via Flickr

The Parkinson’s Voice Initiative is testing a new technology that aims to detect Parkinson’s through a phone call.While at Oxford, mathematician Max Little developed an algorithm to detect voice disorders. When he tried those algorithms to detect Parkinson’s disease, he did so with about 86 per cent accuracy, he writes on The Huffington Post.

Now, the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative is in the process of analysing 10,000 voices collected using the standard telephone network. 

“This incredible and unique dataset will tell us whether it is possible to use something as ubiquitous as the telephone to detect and monitor the disease,” Little writes. “This now becomes a ‘big data’ analysis problem, and until the analysis is done, we can’t know for sure if it will work.”

Somewhere between four and six million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease. The current form of testing is very costly, time-consuming, and logistically difficult, Little says. If this technology actually works, it would be possible to test roughly 75 per cent of the world’s population at a very small cost.

Watch Little’s TED talk on the test below.

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