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Mathematical algorithm 'can detect Parkinson's disease'

Mathematical algorithm 'can detect Parkinson's disease'
30th January 2013

A mathematician has detailed how he developed an algorithm that can diagnose Parkinson's disease over the phone.

Max Little told a crowd of academics at a TEDtalks event in Edinburgh that he became interested in Parkinson's because he has a friend who has been diagnosed with it and is displaying typical motor symptoms.

Having studied mathematics at the University of Oxford, Mr Little had some experience in using algorithms to detect voice disorders.

He became aware of a project that was recording the voices of Parkinson's patients and found his algorithm produced an accurate diagnosis in 86 per cent of cases.

Mr Little has since honed the process and has produced a method that is 99 per cent accurate in diagnosing Parkinson's from the patient's voice alone.

He hopes the technology will eventually facilitate official clinical diagnoses of the condition over the phone.

"Voice-based tests can be administered remotely and patients can do the tests themselves. Also, they are high speed, taking less than 30 seconds and since they don't involve expert staff time, they are ultra low cost," he explained.

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