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Lenexa Teenager Makes Forbes '30 Under 30' For An App She Created To Detect Parkinson's

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Luke X. Martin
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KCUR 89.3 file photo
Erin Smith, 18, created an app that uses a webcam to detect early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

An 18-year-old Shawnee Mission West graduate has been named to the 2019 Forbes '30 Under 30' health care list for an app she created to detect early symptoms of Parkinson's disease.

Lenexa native Erin Smith is the youngest in a decade to make the list. She spent most of her junior year of high school designing the app, FacePrint, which she came up with while watching a video of Michael J. Fox.

"I noticed whenever he would laugh or smile it came off as really emotionally distant or unfelt," Smith told KCUR's Steve Kraske in June. "[From past research] I found that the part of the brain that Parkinson's subjects experience change in is the same section of the brain responsible for spontaneous facial expressions."

Smith was also recently awarded a $100,000 fellowship for the project from the Thiel Foundation, which gives money to young entrepreneurs. She has been working with the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and hopes to begin clinical trials with her technology soon.

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter for KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @andreatudhope.

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