Keyboard Typing Patterns Used to Detect Disease

A new study being discussed by Reddit users from earlier this month by Madrid-MIT M+Vision Consortium researchers seems to suggest that there is a possible way to detect Parkinson’s and other diseases by reviewing people’s computer keystroke patterns. Every person’s typing ability depends on their hand motor function. Keystroke pattern changes can indicate a medical problem with motor function in the hands, nervous system or the brain.

The researchers used a computer algorithm to specifically look at the differences in key hold length patterns between 14 volunteers who typed a random Wikipedia article at night when extremely tired because they were awakened multiple times after sleeping for only 70 to 80 minutes and those who typed during the day after restful sleep.

The researchers also looked at 21 Parkinson’s patients and 15 healthy individuals. Paul suggests that the preliminary results showed “greater variation” seen in the Parkinson’s patients. Parkinson’s patients begin to significantly lose motor function within the first five years of the disease. The results suggest that doctors will one day be able to use this as a medical tool in diagnosing Parkinson’s disease long before other types of noticeable changes occur, such as severe memory loss, trembling, shaking and muscle weakness, which often don’t appear until after the first five years and up to as long as 10 years after the disease has started to cause irreversible damage.

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