Parkinson’s disease and Behavior

Parkinson’s disease is a multi-faceted disorder characterized by a combination of motor and non-motor symptoms. While the motor aspects are disease defining, the non-motor symptoms cause a higher disease burden to our patients.

The main goal of our research is to better characterize the large spectrum of behavioral, neuropsychiatric aspects related to either Parkinson’s disease (hypodopaminergia) or dopaminergic treatment (hyperdopaminergia). With our team consisting of movement disorders specialists, psychologists and in collaboration with engineering teams we follow a multimodal approach to investigate various behavioral aspects of Parkinson’s disease (apathy, anxiety, depression, impulse control disorders, dopamine dysregulation syndrome, creativity, hallucinations) and their impact on patients’ lives (shame, quality of life).

We are interested in understanding the pathophysiological basis of neuropsychiatric symptoms, a prerequisite for optimal treatment combining clinical evaluation, neuropsychology, neuroimaging (resting state MRI, collaborations O Blanke and D Van de Wille EPFL), and electrophysiology. Via multimodal symptom assessment (sensor technology collaboration T. Nef group, ARTORG, NeuroTec, UniBe and J Rusz group, TU Prag; neurophysiology collaboration G Tinkhauser group, Neurology, Inselspital) we aim at defining objective biomarkers of fluctuating symptoms in everyday life. Combining bed side clinical evaluation (drug challenge, switching on and off deep brain stimulation), 24-hour monitoring in the behavioral laboratory (NeuroTec Loft, sitem-insel AG) and long-term monitoring at the patient´s homes, we aim to improve the management of drug and deep brain stimulation in a closed loop approach.

Research fields

  • Parkinson's disease: a model to study substance and behavioral addiction
  • Motivated behavior in Parkinson’s disease: from apathy to impulse control disorders
  • Mechanisms of creativity and of hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease
  • Motor and non-motor fluctuations in Parkinson’s disease
  • Motor and non-motor biomarkers for closed loop Deep Brain Stimulation
  • Speech as biomarker source for the motor and emotion state


  • Neuropsychological profiling and behavioral assessment
  • DBS programming and clinical assessment
  • Sensor-based objective symptom assessment
  • Speeech assessment
  • Neuroimaging

Group members

  • Dr. med. Lenard Lachenmayer (attending Neurologist)
  • Dr. med. Ines Debove (attending Neurologist)
  • Dr. med. Joan Michelis (attending Neurologist)
  • Dr. med. Julia Müllner (attending Neurologist)
  • Mario Sousa, MD (neurologist, PhD-Student, co-supervision Tinkhauser Group)
  • Med. Pract. Sandra Murcia-Carretero  (neurologist, Research fellow)
  • Deborah Amstutz (Psychologist, PhD Student)
  • Maradan, Marie Elise (Psychologist, PhD Student)
  • Katrin Petermann, Dipl.Ing, MSc (DBS engineer/bio-statistician)
  • Anita Zenger (Study Coordinator)


The research program is supported by research grants from Swiss National Science Foundation (FNS 323530_177577 / FNS 2020 32003BL_197709-1 / FNS 33IC30_198772), ROGER DE SPOELBERCH Foundation, Bertarelli Foundation,  Annemarie Opprecht Foundation,  Parkinson Schweiz,  Michael J Fox Foundation, and support from neurostimulation industry  (Aleva Neurotherapeutics, Boston Scientific, Medtronic)