European Neurology conference in Valencia – The NeuroMotor Pen – an easily performed objective test of fine motor skill to support diagnosing Parkinson’s disease.

Name:Roman Bauer1, Rutger Zietsma1, Antti Tolonen2, Luc Cluitmans2, Mark van Gils2, Keith Gray3, Richard Walker3

1. Manus Neurodynamica Ltd, Edinburgh, UK 

2. Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Tampere, Finland

3. Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, North Shields, UK 

An easily performed and objective test of fine motor skills would be valuable in the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD). In this study we present the NeuroMotor PenTM(NMP) – an innovative diagnostic pen with multiple movement sensors that patients use to complete writing and drawing tasks. A set of automatic methods allows extraction of features to quantify motor symptoms with high accuracy. Validation results show that NMP can be used to distinguish PD from other movement disorders.

The classification accuracy in a recent validation study of the latest NMP (Gen2) implementation was 78% in 38 undiagnosed attendees at a movement disorders clinic. 17 attendees were subsequently diagnosed with idiopathic PD. Of particular interest, 31 attendees had to undergo DaTSCAN because of difficulty making a clinical diagnosis.  Previous validation on 92 patients with an established diagnosis resulted in classification accuracies for separating PD from other tremor syndromes of 82.0 % for essential tremor; 69.8 % for functional tremor and 72.2% for enhanced physiological tremor. The improved performance in the current study is notable, given the much more challenging clinical scenario, representative for use in specialist clinics.

An early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to give patients access to the range of treatments and therapies available. Early intervention can slow progression and improve quality of life. NMP may help specialists to decrease uncertainty of differential diagnosis, potentially avoiding the need for DaTSCAN, saving time and money. In triage, timely access for optimum treatment may be prioritized over unnecessary referrals of the worried-well.

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