When doctors ask you to say “ahhhh”, it is usually to look at the condition of your throat. Dr. Max Little, Chairman of the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative, has developed Speech Recognition software which compares a patient’s voice to a database of vocal recordings of Parkinson’s patients and those who do not have the disease. Early testing of the technology have demonstrated it to be 99% accurate, and the project is currently amassing 10,000 further recordings to further assess the software’s ability to detect Parkinson’s. Apparently, those individuals with Parkinson’s show specific vocal patterns e.g., tremors.
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegenerative disease behind Alzheimer’s disease and affects one million people in the USA. There is no lab test specific for the disease. Parkinson’s has the best outcomes when identified early – as the disease has no cure – but the progression of the disease can be slowed by pharmaceutical therapy. The diagnosis, up until now, has relied on clinical assessments of stress, muscle reflexes, gait, brain scans and so on. The use of this voice recognition technology is showing great promise. Calling your doctor may soon take on a whole new meaning.
Until next time…