Parkinson’s affects approximately 1 million Americans, and experts estimate that about 50,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. It can be difficult to identify the most subtle early signs of the disease, but new research suggests something as simple as voice recording may be able to diagnose the condition, according to The Daily Mail.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, suggests that slight changes to how one talks could be indicative of Parkinson’s disease, offering doctors the chance to diagnose it well before more significant physical symptoms present themselves.
“Science tells us voice impairment might be an early sign of Parkinson’s,” study leader Dr. Max Little told the newspaper. “It sounds counterintuitive as Parkinson’s is a movement disorder but the voice is a form of movement.
While the findings may have been encouraging, it might be years until they are implemented in a widespread setting, but there are still some signs family caregivers can look out for. According to the National Parkinson Foundation, tremors, changes to handwriting or trouble moving and walking are all warning signs.