March 30, 2023

scientists are studying a new diagnostic method | metropolises

Scientists at Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania are developing a new method to facilitate the early diagnosis of Parkinson’s from speech. Speech disorders are known as one of the characteristic symptoms of the disease and the strategy could contribute to the early initiation of treatment.

The characteristic signs of the disease, such as muscle stiffness, tremors and balance problems, usually appear after 80% of the nerve cells in the brain have been lost. Speech difficulties can occur even in the early stages of the disease, with a lower pitch of voice, slower and more fragmented speech and less expression, the researchers explain.


Currently, the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is made by the patient’s clinical history and neurological examination. There is no specific test to diagnose it or a way to prevent the neurodegenerative disease.

In the Lithuanian study, researchers used artificial intelligence to study speech samples from 104 people, including 61 Parkinson’s patients and 43 healthy volunteers. Each recorded their voice in an acoustic chamber and an algorithm was used to process the recordings and analyze the differences.

“We are not creating a substitute for routine patient screening. Our method is designed to facilitate early diagnosis of the disease and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment,” says professor and data scientist Rytis Maskeliūnas. He believes that technological advances will facilitate image analysis.

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Parkinson’s is a neurological disease that affects the patient’s movements. It occurs due to the degeneration of cells located in an area of ​​the brain called the substantia nigra. These cells produce dopamine, which is responsible for channeling nerve currents throughout the body.

A decrease or lack of dopamine affects motor function, as well as the function of the vocal cords, diaphragm, and lungs.

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