Christian Haass is Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry at LMU and one of the speakers of SyNergy. | © SyNergy
“Dementia is a huge global problem,” says Professor Christian Haass, Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry at LMU. “We’re all getting older, and this increases the risk of dementia.” Alongside Technical University of Munich (TUM) Professor Thomas Misgeld, Haass is Coordinator of the Cluster of Excellence SyNergy (Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology), which brings together research groups from LMU and TUM to work together on various neurological diseases.
“Effective research into such diseases requires interdisciplinary thinking and many different kinds of expertise,” says Misgeld, Director of the Institute of Neuronal Cell Biology at TUM. After all, “dementia” is a multilayered term that encapsulates a whole range of different disorders that can have very different symptoms and causes. 1.8 million people in Germany are currently affected by dementia in one of its various forms – and the numbers are rising. It is no wonder, then, that research in this area is booming and attracting a lot of funding.
As researchers, we have a great responsibility to show the public what we do with the money they provide us with.Christian Haass
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In the new podcast, audiences gain insight into the science on dementia. | © SyNergy
Because the topic is both highly complex and the object of keen public interest, SyNergy has set itself to communicate the science behind dementia to a broad lay German-speaking audience. “As researchers, we have a great responsibility to show the public what we do with the money they provide us with,” says Haass. And so the cluster has founded this project devoted to science communication.
Called “The dementia research podcast: In everyday language. Munich scientists provide answers.,” („Der Podcast zur Demenzforschung: Verständlich erklärt. Münchner Wissenschaftler*innen geben Antwort“) the new show launched at the start of October. A fresh episode appears twice a month, with 30 minutes of gripping content. In each episode, one or more SyNergy scientists explain in simple terms how Alzheimer’s, stroke, or Parkinson’s work, what diagnostic methods and therapies are available, what the current state of research is, and what innovative approaches SyNergy scientists are currently working on.
The researchers also clear up common misconceptions and rumors. “Some of the strange notions that circulate about Alzheimer’s, for example, are really quite astonishing,” says Haass in episode 1, adding that public education is extremely important in this area. “And this is work that scientists must take in hand.”