Multiple sclerosis is a common nerve disease. Treatment can alleviate the relapse rate and the common symptoms. Moreover, it may stop or at least slow down the progression of the disease. However, diagnosing multiple sclerosis is difficult. Currently, teams of experts are developing an app that can test patients regarding this disease while using speech recognition. A study will now show whether language as a so-called biomarker can provide clues for the diagnosis and monitoring of multiple sclerosis. Artificial intelligence has long been used in medicine and this time, it might take the pressure off doctors again and make it easier for patients to receive treatment.
Diagnosing multiple sclerosis
Approximately 200,000 people are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis each year. The disease can affect people of almost any age group. People between 20 and 40 are also affected in many cases. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the central nervous system and thus primarily affects the spinal cord and brain with far-reaching physical effects. The diagnosis of multiple sclerosis is very difficult. The disease manifests itself in very different ways. A German research team at the University of Dresden is using a special app to investigate the extent to which altered speech also indicates MS and whether this could be useful in diagnosis in the future. Many aspects can be deduced from a person’s speech. Emotions such as anger and fear are already visible in an individual’s speech pattern. Diseases can also affect speech. “In MS, for example, there are problems forming sounds when the affected person speaks. Indistinct, blurred speech, a monotonous speech melody or shortness of breath when speaking can also occur,” says head Prof. Ziemssen. Forming particularly long sentences or remembering rarely used words is also a major problem for some sufferers. Hence, experts are trying to write a program so that the app can investigate whether a patient’s speech reveals a hidden disease that could not be diagnosed otherwise at an early stage.
Speech recognition apps as a means of diagnosis
The goal of digital speech analysis via app is pursued in the real-life laboratory “MS-Living-Lab” at the University Hospital where important findings about the connections between MS and speech are to be collected in this way. Similar speech analyses have already worked well in the past in diagnosing Alzheimer’s dementia. If speech also proves to be an effective and reliable biomarker for MS, this could change the current diagnostic procedure. Previous tests are largely based on subjective self-reports by those who are affected. Speech analysis, on the other hand, could be an objective and useful addition. Another advantage of the speech test is that it has the potential to be linked to video consultations and can thus be used during diagnosis, but also in the course of the disease to determine the progressive process of nerve damage. This will allow patients to save themselves a trip to the attending physician and regularly perform the tests themselves at home which is not only useful in times of social distancing, but also saves a tremendous amount of time for both patients and physicians.
AI in medicine
Artificial intelligence has been on the rise for many years. AIs are already used in a number of areas of life and industries. AI gained general notoriety when a chess computer defeated its human opponent in a tournament. Today, computers are still used in online gambling halls to challenge players. AI is also used in online sports betting to make more detailed betting predictions. Those who want to try their luck can use various online comparison portals to find a suitable provider. The portals are free of charge and allow to quickly and easily find a safe betting provider with attractive offers for players around the world, for instance for the best betting sites in Spain. In medicine, AI has been used since the 1970s, when the first diagnostic computers were already helping to detect diseases. The first expert system, “MYCIN,” was developed by Ted Shortliffe at Stanford University and used to treat diseases. Expert systems are computer programs that combine the knowledge of a particular field through formulas, rules and a knowledge database. In medicine, they are used to support diagnosis and therapy. Today, there are a number of programs and applications that assist in diagnosis, operations and also in the aftercare of patients, optimize procedures and relieve doctors. In future times, the speech app test of the expert team from Dresden might participate in this process.