A simple voice test to detect Parkinson`s

Updated: Sep 27, 2012, 13:37 PM IST

London: Researchers claimed to have detected Parkinson`s disease with 99 per cent accuracy through simple voice recordings.

A team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a computer programme that is able to recognise the tremors, breathiness and weakness in the voice, which are thought to be early indicators of the condition.

The voice analysis software can even provide an unprecedented level of detail that can distinguish how far along a patient is with the disease.

Now, The Parkinson`s Voice Initiative led by British scientist Dr Max Little, is looking to see if the same results can be repeated with voice recordings taken over the telephone.

Little is calling on healthy volunteers as well as patients with Parkinson`s to take part in a three minute phone call where they are asked to say `aah`, speak a few sentences and answer some questions.

"Science tells us voice impairment might be an early sign of Parkinson`s. It sounds counterintuitive as Parkinson`s is a movement disorder but the voice is a form of movement," he said.

"We don`t tend to think of the larynx and vocal chords but you are moving them when you make speech sounds. It`s a complex sound of movement and it tends to degrade in Parkinson`s," he was quoted by the paper as saying.

"Neurologists look at changes in the ability to move, which is done with the limbs, but we are looking in the vocal organs - the sounds that come out of the mouth. We are fairly confident we can detect the disease over the telephone," he said.