The Neuro Mental Health group focuses on understanding more about mental disorders associated with diseases of the nervous system. The lab’s special interests are Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, anxiety, depression, cognitive dysfunction, apathy, sleep disorders, and behavioural addictions. 

The lab’s work involves developing new diagnostic tools and therapeutic interventions. We use neuropsychological assessments, and neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI) techniques, and conduct clinical trials. 

Remote delivery of personalised homebased psychotherapy using tele-health, e-health and m-health are another research focus. The IDATA-PD study is a recent collaborative initiative to improve diagnosis and treatment of anxiety in Parkinson’s disease, and has attracted more than $1.1million in competitive research funds.

Epidemiology

Examining the prevalence and characteristics of depression, anxiety, apathy and cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease patients and their carers.

Assessment tools

Investigating the validity and reliability of depression and anxiety assessment methods in Parkinson’s disease. Developing a new instrument to assess anxiety in Parkinson’s disease.
 

Clinical diagnosis

Characterising symptomatology of depressive, anxiety, apathy and neurocognitive disorders in Parkinson’s disease.

Brain mechanisms and markers

Examining mechanisms underlying anxiety, depression, and neurocognitive disorders in Parkinson’s disease using resting state and task dependent EEG and fMRI.

Treatment

Developing and implementing new psychotherapy treatment for anxiety, depression, sleep, and chronic pain in Parkinson’s disease. Current packages include (i) cognitive behaviour therapy for anxiety, (ii) mindfulness, and (iii) interventions for sleep disturbances. 

Adverse effects (addiction)

Investigating addictive behaviours induced by dopaminergic medication in Parkinson’s disease patients: (i) impulse control disorders and (ii) dopamine dysregulation syndrome.