Cloud telephony used to aid diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease

Aculab Cloud used to collate voice samples for research study

Aculab is pleased to report that Aculab Cloud is being used to aid the development of a quick and cost effective method of objectively scoring the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, through the detection of changes in the voice.

Parkinson’s disease, a disorder of the central nervous system currently affects at least 6.3 million people around the world. Despite many years of research there is still no known cure – there are no blood tests that can detect it and other tests are expensive, time-consuming and logistically difficult.

However, mathematician Max Little believes he has developed a new way of detecting Parkinson’s disease, which is quick, cheap and easy to perform. Max realised that a person’s voice is affected as much by Parkinson’s as is limb movement, so he devised a high-accuracy way to detect symptoms through the analysis of voice recordings.

The analysis itself requires quite complex algorithms, but capturing the voice clips for analysis is a very simple and quick process. Using Aculab Cloud, The Parkinson’s Voice Initiative was able to purchase a range of telephone numbers and write an application that plays a number of pre-recorded questions and exercises for the caller to complete. In turn, these responses are recorded and stored. It takes on average 3 minutes for the caller to complete the survey.

Dr Little became interested in understanding voice from a mathematical perspective while he was studying for a PhD at Oxford University in 2003,”I was looking for a practical application of my research and I found it in analysing voice disorders, for example, when someone’s voice has broken down from over-use or after surgery on the vocal folds.” Dr Little continued, “It didn’t occur to me originally that people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders could also be detected in the same way.”

Faye McClenahan, Head of Strategic Marketing at Aculab, commented, “We are very pleased to be contributing towards such an important study.” McClenahan continued, “With so many people affected by Parkinson’s, it’s likely we all know someone who could benefit from the results of this project, which is a good example of the breadth of applications for which the Aculab Cloud telephony platform can be used”.

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