New smartphone app to detect signs of Parkinson's

A new smartphone app can detect early signs of Parkinson's disease years before people experience tremors, a study has found.

The app picks up subtle changes in a person's voice, gait and manual dexterity to diagnose the condition.

"The condition is hard to diagnose, with specialists having to take a detailed history of people's symptoms and analysing them for physical signs of the disease. Using smartphone data may help to make this process much easier," said Dr Max Little, a mathematician from Aston University who is leading the project.

The app is being tested in a group of 2,500 people with diagnosed Parkinson's symptoms, or genes known to be linked to the disease, and healthy individuals, 'The Times' reported.

An earlier analysis of voice recordings suggests that effects such as increased breathiness, drifting pitch and altered vowel sounds can detect Parkinson's with 99 per cent accuracy.

In another study, participants walked 20 steps back and forth with the phone in their pocket. The data was then used to identify, with 98 per cent accuracy, those who had Parkinson's.

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