A test for Parkinson’s with a phone call

Parkinson’s disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide, causing weakness and tremors, but there’s no objective way to detect it early on. Yet. Applied mathematician and TED Fellow Max Little is testing a simple, cheap tool that in trials is able to detect Parkinson’s with 99 percent accuracy — in a 30-second phone call.
Max Little is a mathematician whose research includes a breakthrough technique to monitor – and potentially screen for – Parkinson’s disease through simple voice recordings.


Max Little is an applied mathematician whose goal is to “see connections between subjects, not boundaries … to see how things are related, not how they are different.” He has a background in applied mathematics, statistics, signal processing and computational engineering, and his work has been applied across disciplines like biomedicine, extreme rainfall analysis and forecasting, biophysical signal processing, and hydrogeomorphology and open channel flow measurement. Little is best known for his work on the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative, in which he and his team developed a cheap and simple tool that uses precise voice analysis software to detect Parkinson’s with 99 percent accuracy. Little is a TEDGlobal 2012 Fellow and a Wellcome Trust-MIT Postdoctoral Research Fellow.

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