"Your voice is really important," Patel was quoted as saying. "You react to (stimuli) with your voice automatically, without even realising it... now, the question is if we can use (voices) to indicate other neurological disorders as well," she said.
The symptoms in the early stages of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease are very similar, according to Patel. "By the time the disease has progressed enough to be properly diagnosed, there is not much you can do," she said.(Early Signs of Alzheimer's May be Seen in Young Adults)
If her study finds changes in voice patterns, Patel said it could be possible to develop non-invasive and less expensive methods to detect whether or not a person in the early stages of a disease has Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. The test, she said, would be simple to administer, and could even potentially be done over the phone.
Patel is currently using electroencephalogram (EEG) and auditory feedback to determine how Alzheimer's patients respond to various speech tasks, and if their responses differ from those of Parkinson's patients.