windows-7-phoneSmartphone technology is advancing at a rapid rate. These devices are now capable of diagnosing Parkinson’s and other degenerative disorders with tight accuracy. A new app can detect the disease based on the user’s movements and voice. At the moment, there are large trials of up to 3,000 patients being conducted. Initial small sampling studies indicate that the app is able to detect those with Parkinson’s with up to 99 percent accuracy.

Researchers from Aston University and Oxford University indicated that the app could be used to detect possible symptoms of the disease and monitor it in known patients. If the results of the large-scale trial are successful, doctors could simply hand their patients a smartphone, tell them to wear it for a week and then upload the data to their servers for assessment.

Voice recognition technology has come a long way, and smartphones are able to record speech patterns with incredible precision. The devices are also equipped with accelerometers, which enable them to uncover abnormalities in movement. When the voice and movement are analyzed by an algorithm, the data can show early signs of Parkinson’s disease.

The benefit of detecting the disorder at the “pre-motor” stage is that medication can lead to a better outcome. Those with this ailment do not have enough dopamine in the brain because the neurons die for unknown reasons. This results in slower movements, tremors and muscle stiffness.

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