Non- Invasive Diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease – Manus Neurodynamica Ltd

There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s Disease, but early and accurate diagnosis is crucial to give patients access to the range of treatment and therapies available. Early intervention can slow the progression of the disease and can dramatically improve quality of life.

Manus Neurodynamica Ltd is a technology company who have developed a sensory pen for the diagnosis and monitoring of Parkinson’s Disease.

A unique diagnostic pen that the patient uses to complete simple writing and drawing tasks. The pen uses a specially adapted tablet computer to analyse voluntary movements to diagnose the presence of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) as opposed to an essential tremor (ET) or other symptoms that mimic PD.

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The pen may help identify patients where the symptoms are not typical. In situations where there is some doubt, we often refer patients for a scan, but these cost £1,000 a time, so if the pen allows us to be more sure about the diagnosis it should mean we will need to refer less people
Professor Richard Walker, Consultant Physician / Honorary Professor of Ageing & International Health
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Diagnosing Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is currently a challenge. Early symptoms are attributable to a range of causes and by the time they become more pronounced, the disease is often well advanced.  Conclusive diagnosis can require expensive brain-imaging equipment and specialist expertise.

In addition, distinguishing between PD and other motor-neurological impairments is complex and the development of a simple test would be beneficial.

A test that detects the early indicators of the disease whilst being relatively inexpensive, not requiring specialist expertise for administration, would revolutionise diagnosis.

  • A diagnostic pen has been developed by Manus Neurodynamica which has been taken from pre-production prototype to a ‘generation 1’ product stage.
  • The pen non-invasively records and analyses limb and hand motion to assess the underlying neuro motor processes, providing a diagnosis that is able to differentiate between Parkinson’s Disease (PD), essential tremor (ET) and other impairments that mimic PD symptoms.
  • The pen has been patented and CE marked as a medical device.

The project received funding and support from the AHSN NENC, NHS Innovations North and Innovate UK. Other project collaborators include: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, University Medical Centre Groningen, the Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) and SGS Bowburn (a local certification company).

Clinical results presented at the International Conference on Bioinformatics and Bioengineering (2015) demonstrated the validity of the product in assessing and monitoring upper limb function in PD and showed an ability to differentiate between ET and PD with an accuracy of 82%.

Clinical trials have commenced in the North East in six NHS Foundation Trusts (FT): Northumbria Healthcare NHS FT, Gateshead Health NHS FT, City Hospitals Sunderland NHS FT, Cumbria Partnership NHS FT, South Tees Hospitals NHS FT, and County Durham and Darlington NHS FT.

First sales of the generation 1 product have been achieved in the research use market and a distribution agreement has been confirmed with Cambridge Cognition (a company specialising in near patient cognitive testing) to help market the product. The generation 1 products have also been delivered to clinical collaborators in Groningen and Amsterdam.

A generation 2 product is currently in development which will be low cost and a cloud based version.

  • One job safeguarded.
  • Clinical trial data expected in 2017.
  • Production savings of 65% achieved due to re-design and set up of a manufacturing process.
  • For GPs to use as an aid to increase referral accuracy.
  • For neurological specialists to increase certainty of differential diagnosis, especially PD versus ET and to monitor disease severity.
  • Patients experience a simple, non-threatening diagnostic test.
  • For academic and industrial research to support the evaluation of pharmaceutical interventions.
  • In non-neurological care settings to use as a screening tool to identify patients at risk, for example, triage and pre-symptomatic screening of apparently healthy individuals.
  • The strategic marketing plan for the business now includes a more international focus with the US as one of the largest clinical markets.
  • Generation 2 product development will include sales of hardware, yearly software licenses for researchers, clinicians and analytical services to GPs.