New Test Can Diagnose Parkinson’s Disease With a Phone Call
Parkinson’s affects some 6 million people worldwide. Although surgery and drugs can hold back its progression, there is no cure.
Diagnosing it and tracking its course usually relies on an assessment of someone’s symptoms using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, which involves tests of motor skills, for example. The process is time-consuming, expensive and requires people to attend a clinic for the tests to be carried out.
It is partly because of this that it is thought that around a fifth of cases of Parkinson’s are never diagnosed.
But the disease often manifests early on in the voice, as it affects the ability to control the vocal cords and soft palate. Common signs include a quaver in the voice, softer speech and breathiness or hoarseness, though they can be subtle at first. This makes Parkinson’s a perfect candidate for diagnosis over the phone.
(via Diagnosing Parkinson’s in a phone call with a computer - health - 09 July 2012 - New Scientist)