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Topics in March/April

Mar 30, 2016

Bitter Diagnosis, Sweet Therapy?

Could a simple sugar be the solution for dementia? Biochemist Werner Reutter is convinced that galactose is an effective treatment – and has been fighting for a clinical trial for years.

Biochemist Werner Reutter studies whether galactose is an effective treatment for dementia – and has been fighting for a clinical trial for years.

Nowadays, there are very effective treatments for many serious illnesses. But there is still no sign of an effective treatment, let alone a cure, for dementia – especially Alzheimer’s disease. And how could there be, when even the experts don’t agree on the cause? Defective tau proteins, some say, while others believe the blame lies with a type of protein called amyloid beta that has clumped together into threadlike shapes known as fibrils.

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Between Two Worlds at the End of Life

A trusting relationship with one’s treating physician is important at any age. Appropriate care plays a particularly important role for people who become ill and die in a foreign culture.

Researchers at Freie Universität are studying why Russian-speaking immigrants seldom make use of the services offered by Germany’s palliative care system.

There are about four million immigrants from Russian-speaking countries living in Germany. “They make use of palliative care institutions, such as hospices or specialized outpatient services, less often than the majority of German society – although they die, too, of course, and could use the care,” says Uwe Flick, an education scholar at Freie Universität. He is the head of the  PALQUALSUM: Palliative Quality of Life – Service Utilization by Migrants from Russian Speaking Countries project, which is supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Interwoven Images and Sounds

Just hocus-pocus? Harry Potter is probably the world’s most famous wizard in training. The film adaptations of the book series of the same name are also interesting from a scholarly perspective.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is supporting a fundamental project on the analysis of audiovisual media.

Harry Potter runs. He has snuck into the Ministry of Magic and stolen a medallion. The evil wizard Yaxley hurries after him with an angry look on his face. He fires magical bolts at the boy. They strike like lightning, but miss their target. The balls of light hit the walls and explode with a roar. Dramatic music accompanies the scene.

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