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Dialing In a Parkinson’s Diagnosis


(WGGB) — Tremors, trouble walking, stiff and achy muscles. There are many unmistakable signs of Parkinson’s.

Now, researchers are looking at another symptom that could help diagnose the disease with a phone call.

Listen closely to these men.

“It’s a learning experience every time,” says Richard Bailey, a Parkinson’s patient.

“Yea, I didn’t know what was causing it,” adds another Parkinson’s patient, David Akins.

Do their voices tell you they have Parkinson’s?

“We are discovering new things about how Parkinson’s affects the voice,” says Dr. Max Little,

Little, from MIT, says in lab settings, his team’s technology was able to detect the disease with 99 percent accuracy, just by listening to voice recordings.

The Parkinson’s Voice Initiative is collecting phoned-in voices from around the world and measuring 130 features, including breathiness, tremors, vocal pitch and tone.

“Not all of them are that easy to hear and that’s why you need precision algorithms in order to be able to pick these things out,” says Little.

Little’s goal – “to reduce the costs involved in doing for example mass-scale screening.”

He says it could also help doctors optimize drug timing and dosage by evaluating patients’ voice changes as their medications wear off throughout the day.

Detecting disease – just by dialing in.

So far, more than 18,000 people from around the world, those with and without Parkinson’s, have shared their voices for the research.

All it takes is a three minute call. For the number and more information, log on to this website.

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