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Friday math movie: A test for Parkinson’s

By Murray Bourne, 18 Aug 2012

Mathematician Max Little describes how an analysis of a person's voice could tell if they have Parkinson's disease. This could be a great thing, as the disease affects over 6 million people worldwide.

He points out there are currently no easy (or cheap) ways to diagnose Parkinson's disease.

He proposes a solution based on our speech patterns. In a healthy person, the vocal cords produce a signal (a modified sine wave) which is regular, but those suffering from Parkinson's disease produce a signal which demonstrates tremor and weakness (the signal is not so clean and regular.)

Little has set up the Parkinson's Voice Initiative, which collects voice patterns by smartphone app, in order to move this research forward.

So this is an interesting application of periodic trigonometric graphs.

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