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Features

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Posted on 05 July 2012

Health

Voice algorithms spot Parkinson's disease

 Parkinson's symptoms can be detected by computer algorithms that analyse voice recordings. In a blind test of voices, the system was able to spot those with Parkinson's with an accuracy of 86%.

Parkinson's is a devastating disease for those living with the condition and currently there is no cure. Diagnosis can also be slow as there are no blood tests to detect it. But now mathematician Max Little has come up with a non-invasive, cheap test which he hopes will offer a quick new way to identify the disease.

He will be kicking off the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh calling for volunteers to contribute to a huge voice database. Mr Little has discovered that Parkinson's symptoms can be detected by computer algorithms that analyse voice recordings. In a blind test of voices, the system was able to spot those with Parkinson's with an accuracy of 86%.

Mr Little was recently made a TED Fellow. The non-profit organisation behind the TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conference creates 40 such fellowships each year. The programme aims to target innovators under the age of 40 and offers them free entry to conferences and other events.