Interviews with scientists

Meditation meets brain research
Interview with Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h. c. mult. Wolf Singer, Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research and member of the ICNF

Wolf Singer, one of the best-known brain researchers in Germany, heads the Department of Neurophysiology at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt. In 2004 he was one of the founding members of the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS). Singer became known well beyond his field with his conviction that people only have a limited free will. Singer is friends with the Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard who lives in a monastery in Nepal and simultaneously enjoys considerable recognition as a French scientist. Together Singer and Ricard have written a book on “Brain Research and Meditation”. > to the interview

Research to make life easier for dementia patients
Interview with Prof. Johannes Pantel from the ICNF

Prof. Dr. med. Johannes Pantel, the Frankfurt endowed professor for Geriatric Psychiatry, has designed a research project that has not only impressed his collaboration partners at the University of Heidelberg, but also the patients and their carers participating in the project, as well as the Ministry of Health. The project is concerned with encouraging communication and cooperation in out-patient senior health care. The aim is to improve the quality of life for dementia patients. Dementia is the most frequent and serious psychiatric disease in old age. > to the interview

A prize for blogging
Interview with PD Dr. Helmut Wicht, scientist in the research group of Prof. Dr. med. Horst-Werner Korf (Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomy/ICNF Frankfurt)

PD Dr. Helmut Wicht writes neuroscientific articles for a web blog, a journal on a website that is accessible to everyone. Wicht's blogs in his Anatomical Assortment (Anatomischen Allerlei) are both pithy and sound. For this he has received the first Scilogs Prize for scientific blogs, making Wicht one of the pioneers among blogging scientists. > to the interview

A pioneer of brain research reports
Interview with Prof. Em. Dr. Heiko Braak from the ICNF

Prof. Dr. Heiko Braak is one of the major protagonists in neurosciences. Using detailed anatomical analyses, Braak developed a system to classify changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer's disease into six stages. The so-called Braak stages help clarify the systematic spread of the pathological processes accompanying the disease. Since his appointment in 1980, Braak has been Professor of Anatomy at the University of Frankfurt am Main (Center for Morphology, Dr. Senckenbergische Anatomy). In 1998, Braak received the prize from the 6th International Alzheimer congress in Amsterdam for his ground-breaking contributions to research on Alzheimer's disease. > to the interview

Gene discovered that affects sensitivity to pain
Interview with Prof. Irmgard Tegeder from the ICNF

Pain and sensitivity to pain belong to everyday experiences for every person. Prof. Dr Irmgard Tegeder from the ICNF, who works at the Institute for Clinical Pharmacology at the University Clinic Frankfurt, could show in a report published in Nature Medicine that a specific gene variant in humans affects not only the sensitivity to direct (acute) pain in (healthy) people, but also the risk of chronic pain, for example following a spinal disc operation.

About a quarter of the population have this pain protecting gene variant. The carriers, in comparison to non-carriers, show reduced BH4 production in the presence of inflammation. BH4 is an enzyme helper factor essential for the generation of signal substances for the nervous system and nitrogen oxide. The study by Prof. Tegeder identified a genetic component in the risk of people developing neuropathic pain. The causes of neuropathic pain include traumatic or inflammatory damage to periphery and central nerves. It is often difficult to treat. > to the interview

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