CSD Researchers Discover Methods for Early Detection of Parkinson's Disease

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Researchers in the Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders (CSD) in partnership with researchers at the University of Florida's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, have successfully developed a method for the early detection of Parkinson's disease with 93 percent accuracy. The research, which was first presented at the Acoustical Society of America Conference, used automated acoustic methods of observing normal speech to detect speech patterns and auditory irregularities consistent with Parkinson's disease.

According to principal investigator Rahul Shrivastav, Ph.D., professor and CSD department chair, this new methodology may not only aid in early detection, but can potentially be used to track the progression of Parkinson's disease and quantify the effects of treatment and medication for the disorder.

"What's really exciting about this method is that it's particularly sensitive to Parkinson's disease speech, relies on acoustic measurements that have been used for more than 30 years, and is effective with only two seconds of speech," said Dr. Shrivastav. "That's significant in several ways: the detection methodology is non-invasive, easy to administer, inexpensive and capable of being used remotely and in telemedicine applications."

Parkinson's disease is a neurological disorder affecting a half million people in the U.S. with 50 thousand new diagnosed cases per year (NIH-NINDS). While there is no cure for Parkinson's disease, early detection is particularly important since the treatments currently available for controlling symptoms are most effective at that stage.

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