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Tags: Parkinson | diagnosis

New Method Helps Target Parkinson's

Tuesday, 27 November 2012 01:05 PM EST

Michigan State University scientists have come up with a simple and cheap new way to diagnose Parkinson’s disease — a technique that has proven to be more than 90 percent effective in early testing.

The method involves monitoring a patient's speech patterns and specific movement patterns of the tongue and jaw that are hallmarks of the condition.

Rahul Shrivastav, head of MSU's Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders who helped develop the new technique, said it could also be used to track the progression of Parkinson's, and measure the effectiveness of treatments for the disorder.
Currently, there is no effective way to diagnose the neurological disease or track its progress.
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"In Parkinson's disease, a common limitation is that the movements become slow and have a reduced range," said Shrivastav. "We believe we see this pattern in speech too — the tongue doesn't move as far as it should, doesn't move as quickly as it should and produces subtle changes in speech patterns."
The new method is particularly sensitive to Parkinson's disease speech and, Shrivastav said, is effective with only two seconds of speech.
"That's significant in several ways: The detection methodology is noninvasive, easy to administer, inexpensive and capable of being used remotely and in telemedicine applications," he said.
Shrivastav noted doctors typically diagnose Parkinson’s by gauging the effectiveness of drug treatments on early symptoms of the disease, including tremors, slow movements, or rigid muscles.
"If the symptoms go away," he said, "then it's assumed you must have Parkinson's disease."
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Parkinson's affects a half-million Americans, with 50,000 new cases diagnosed every year. It occurs when the brain stops producing dopamine, which helps control muscle movement. There is no cure for Parkinson's, but early detection can speed treatments that can control symptoms.
The findings by Shrivastav and colleagues MSU and the University of Florida's Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences were recently presented at a meeting of the Acoustical Society of America.

© HealthDay

Michigan State scientists have come up with a simple way to diagnose and track Parkinson’s disease.
Tuesday, 27 November 2012 01:05 PM
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