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Voice screening App delivers rapid results for Parkinson’s and severe COVID

A new screening test App could help advance the early detection of Parkinson’s disease and severe COVID-19, improving the management of these illnesses….

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A new screening test App could help advance the early detection of Parkinson’s disease and severe COVID-19, improving the management of these illnesses.

Credit: RMIT University

A new screening test App could help advance the early detection of Parkinson’s disease and severe COVID-19, improving the management of these illnesses.

Developed by a research team of engineers and neurologists led by RMIT University in Melbourne, the test can produce accurate results using just people’s voice recordings.

Millions of people worldwide have Parkinson’s, which is a degenerative brain condition that can be challenging to diagnose as symptoms vary among people. Common symptoms include slow movement, tremor, rigidity and imbalance. 

Currently, Parkinson’s is diagnosed through an evaluation by a neurologist that can take up to 90 minutes.

Powered by artificial intelligence, the smartphone App records a person’s voice and takes just 10 seconds to reveal whether they may to have Parkinson’s disease and should be referred to a neurologist.

Lead researcher Professor Dinesh Kumar, from RMIT’s School of Engineering, said the easy-to-use screening test made it ideal to use in a national screening program.

He said the team had developed a similar test for people with COVID-19 to reveal whether they need clinical attention, including hospitalisation.

“Early detection, diagnosis and treatment could help manage these illnesses, and so making screening faster and more accessible is critical,” Kumar said.

“This research will allow a non-contact, easy-to-use and low-cost test that can be performed routinely anywhere in the world, where the clinicians can monitor their patients remotely.

“It could also promote a community-wide screening program, reaching people who might not otherwise seek treatment until it’s too late.”

The research results are published in IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine, IEEE Access and Computers in Biology and Medicine.

How the technology works

The voice of people with Parkinson’s disease changes because of a combination of three symptoms: rigidity, tremor and slowness (known as bradykinesia). Expert clinicians can identify these symptoms, but this assessment can be challenging due to the large natural differences in people’s voices.

Kumar said previous attempts to develop a computerised voice assessment to detect Parkinson’s had been inaccurate due to these significant differences in people’s voices.

“As part of our research, we used voice recordings of people with Parkinson’s and a controlled group of so-called healthy people saying three sounds – A, O and M – which is similar to the Hindu meditation chant,” Kumar said.

“These sounds result in a more accurate detection of the disease.”

In patients with pulmonary disease symptoms from COVID-19, there is also a change in the voice due to lung infection, Kumar said.

“Again, due to large differences in people’s voices, pulmonary disease is difficult to recognise in its early stages,” he said.

“We have overcome this limitation with the choice of those same three sounds and the AI method of analysis we’ve developed.”

Prior to being used, the system is trained to identify the disease. Once trained, it performs an instantaneous analysis of the voice.

The software then compares the results against existing samples of voices of people with Parkinson’s against those who do not.

Co-researcher Dr Quoc Cuong Ngo, from RMIT’s School of Engineering, said the new technology was faster and better than any similar AI-based approach.

“Our screening test App can measure, with great precision, how the voice of someone with Parkinson’s disease or person at high risk of hospitalisation from COVID-19 is different from healthy people,” he said.

Next steps

The team wants to perform a larger, observational study to detect the progression of the Parkinson’s and pulmonary diseases.

“We are also keen to test the efficacy of this technology for other diseases, such as other neurological conditions and sleep disorders,” Kumar said.

“We are looking for a commercial partner and clinical partner ahead of a clinical trial planned for next year.”

The researchers from RMIT partnered with the Technical University of Košice in Slovakia, the University of Surabaya in Indonesia and Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology in Bangladesh on this work. The research results have been published in several peer-reviewed journals.

‘Voice Features of Sustained Phoneme as COVID-19 Biomarker’ is published in the IEEE Journal of Translational Engineering in Health and Medicine (DOI: 10.1109/JTEHM.2022.3208057).

‘Parkinson’s Disease Detection Using Smartphone Recorded Phonemes in Real World Conditions’ is published in the IEEE Access journal (DOI: 10.1109/ACCESS.2022.3203973).

‘Convolutional neural network ensemble for Parkinson’s disease detection from voice recordings’ is published in the Computers in Biology and Medicine journal (DOI: 10.1016/j.compbiomed.2021.105021).

MULTIMEDIA FOR MEDIA USE

Here’s a link to multimedia related to this story: https://cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au/plus/s/nbSt9XoM1CXR2Ru. It includes video footage from the research team that gives a good sense of how the technology works.


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Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook…

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Global Wages Take A Hit As Inflation Eats Into Paychecks

The global inflation crisis paired with lackluster economic growth and an outlook clouded by uncertainties have led to a decline in real wages around the world, a new report published by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found.

As Statista's Felix Richter reports, according to the 2022-23 Global Wage Report, global real monthly wages fell 0.9 percent this year on average, marking the first decline in real earnings at a global scale in the 21st century.

You will find more infographics at Statista

The multiple global crises we are facing have led to a decline in real wages.

"It has placed tens of millions of workers in a dire situation as they face increasing uncertainties,” ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo said in a statement, adding that “income inequality and poverty will rise if the purchasing power of the lowest paid is not maintained.”

While inflation rose faster in high-income countries, leading to above-average real wage declines in North America (minus 3.2 percent) and the European Union (minus 2.4 percent), the ILO finds that low-income earners are disproportionately affected by rising inflation. As lower-wage earners spend a larger share of their disposable income on essential goods and services, which generally see greater price increases than non-essential items, those who can least afford it suffer the biggest cost-of-living impact of rising prices.

“We must place particular attention to workers at the middle and lower end of the pay scale,” Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez, one of the report’s authors said.

“Fighting against the deterioration of real wages can help maintain economic growth, which in turn can help to recover the employment levels observed before the pandemic. This can be an effective way to lessen the probability or depth of recessions in all countries and regions,” she said.

Tyler Durden Mon, 12/05/2022 - 20:00

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Metaverse comes in second place as Oxford’s word of the year

The term describing an internet-enabled virtual world lost to "goblin mode" in 2022 — "a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy,…

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The term describing an internet-enabled virtual world lost to "goblin mode" in 2022 — "a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy."

“Metaverse” has come in second to “goblin mode” as the Oxford University Press’ 2022 word of the year after the process was opened up to voters for the first time ever.

In a Dec. 4 announcement, Oxford Languages said the viral term “goblin mode” beat out “metaverse” and #IStandWith to become its 2022 word of the year. According to Oxford’s research, usage of the term metaverse “increased almost fourfold from the previous year in the Oxford Corpus,” driven in part by Facebook’s rebranding to Meta in October 2021.

Metaverse lost to goblin mode, which went viral in February, as it seemingly “captured the prevailing mood of individuals who rejected the idea of returning to ‘normal life’” following COVID-19 lockdowns being lifted in many areas. #IStandWith took third place in the contest, driven by social media hashtags including #IStandWithUkraine following Russia’s invasion of the country in February.

“As we grapple with relatively new concepts like hybrid working in the virtual reality space, metaverse is particularly pertinent to debates about the ethics and feasibility of an entirely online future," said Oxford Languages. "A worthy opponent to ‘goblin mode’, ‘metaverse’ gained voting traction with crypto communities and publications. We see the term continue to grow in use as more voices join the debate about the sustainability and viability of its future."

In the video pitch for ‘metaverse’ released in November, Oxford said the term dated back to “the science fiction novel Snow Crash by Neil Stephenson,” released in 1992.

More than 300,000 people cast votes between the three terms shortlisted by Oxford Languages.

Related: The metaverse is happening without Meta's permission

“NFT,” or nonfungible token, won Collins Dictionary’s contest for the word of 2021, while “vax” took first place as Oxford’s chosen word that the same year. The latest results seemingly represent a change in social media fervor around the crypto-related terms, which was reportedly falling in the first quarter of 2022.

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United Airlines stock has a 50% upside from here: Morgan Stanley

United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: UAL) is keeping in the green on Monday in an otherwise down market after a Morgan Stanley analyst said 2023 could…

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United Airlines Holdings Inc (NASDAQ: UAL) is keeping in the green on Monday in an otherwise down market after a Morgan Stanley analyst said 2023 could be a “goldilocks” year for the air carrier.

United Airlines stock has upside to $67

Ravi Shanker sees upside in the airline holding company to $67 that translates to a near 50% premium on its current stock price.

He upgraded United Airlines stock to “overweight” this morning because he’s convinced that international travel will recover swiftly in 2023.

Earnings recovery post pandemic has kept pace with, if not led, peers and messaging has been very confident. We expect more normalised, just right conditions in 2023, stabilizing at level more favourable to earnings that market is pricing in.

Shanker expects continued leisure demand next year while business travel, he wrote, could exceed levels last seen before the COVID pandemic.

UAL has outperformed peers year-to-date

According to the Morgan Stanley analyst, prices will ease in 2023 as capacity returns. CASMxF trajectory was among other reasons cited for the bullish call.

United Airlines stock is roughly flat for the year at writing versus other major airline stocks in the red. Still, Shanker continues to see its current valuation as attractive. His note reads:

United Airlines Holdings Inc seems on track to exceed its 2023 guidance and to hit its 2026 guide issued eighteen months ago – something even the biggest UAL bulls may have considered difficult at the time.

In October, the Chicago-headquartered air carrier reported its financial results for the third quarter that handily topped Street estimates.

The post United Airlines stock has a 50% upside from here: Morgan Stanley appeared first on Invezz.

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