Health TED Fellows

How your 3-minute phone call could help diagnose Parkinson’s

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Max Little, MIT postdoc and TED Fellow, shares this news: 6.3 million people worldwide have Parkinson’s, which means that many of us know someone suffering from this incurable disease. Although no biomarkers for the disease are currently known, Max’s research has shown that using voice recordings alone, it is possible to quantify the symptoms of the disease — with a 3-minute phone call.

This is why TED Fellow Max Little, in collaboration with Aculab and PatientsLikeMe, and the whole TED Fellows team, are very happy to announce the launch of the Parkinson’s Voice Initiative today at TEDGlobal 2012.

The PVI could enable several exciting advances in healthcare, including: reducing the need to visit a clinic to get symptom checkups, and a radically efficient and cost-effective way to recruit very large numbers of subjects into clinical trials for new treatments.

And you can help. The project needs a few minutes of your time to record a voice sample that will be used to develop the accuracy of voice technology over the telephone network.

The Initiative has local numbers set up in several countries around the world; anyone with Parkinson’s or without can call in. Please visit to learn how to contribute your recordings.