Deleting unwanted memories – from science fiction to reality

February 16th, 2016

Scientists have discovered how to ‘delete’ unwanted memories

A new documentary from PBS reveals how cutting edge science enables us to ‘edit’ memories – and create new ones from scratch

Are there any memories you’d like to permanently remove from your head?

Or what if you could alter unpleasant memories so they’re no longer upsetting? Or create entirely new memories of events that never occurred?

It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but according to a new documentary that premiered in the US this week, scientists have discovered how to do just that – and more.

 

“Memory Hackers,” from PBS’s NOVA documentary strand, looks at cutting edge research into the nature of memory, and how it might be manipulated for mankind’s benefit.

For much of human history, memory has been seen as a tape recorder that faithfully registers information and replays it intact,” say the film’s makers.

“But now, researchers are discovering that memory is far more malleable, always being written and rewritten, not just by us but by others. We are discovering the precise mechanisms that can explain and even control our memories.”

Among the documentary’s subjects is Jake Hausler, a 12-year-old boy from St. Louis who can remember just about every single thing he has experienced since the age of 8.

Jake is the youngest ever person to be diagnosed with Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory, which makes it difficult for him to distinguish between trivial and important events from his past.

“Forgetting is probably one of the most important things that brains will do,” says André Fenton, a prominent neuroscientist who is currently working on a technique to erase painful memories. “We understand only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to human memory.”

Other interviewees include Julia Shaw, psychology professor at London South Bank University, who has designed a system for implanting false memories, and has successfully convinced subjects they’ve committed crimes that never took place – research that has potentially troubling ramifications for the criminal justice system.

The film’s makers also speak to clinical psychologist Merel Kindt, who has discovered that medication can be used to remove the negative associations of some memories – through which she has managed to ‘cure’ patients of arachnophobia.

 

4 simple financial things that go a long way

February 16th, 2016

A bit of advice from our dear friends from Certinvest:

Another year has passed and you’re now planning your objectives for 2016: maybe you want to change the furniture in your house, or take a nice trip to Thailand, or just change your car with a more efficient one in terms of fuel consumption. None of these will become reality without proper money management.

Here’s how to do it:

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  1. Manage your debt

If you don’t have debt up until now, congratulations! And make sure you don’t fall into it! However, debt at this time is not the worst, as interest rates are low, so the installments you’ll pay are quite affordable. But be advised that low interest rates will not remain low for long, so if you need to go into debt, make sure it’s for a short period, and that you truly need it.

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  1. Create a back-up fund

At some point, you will need money urgently: either your car breaks down, or you lose your job, or in happy cases, many of your friends will get married during the same summer. In all of these, you budget will be seriously affected, so be prepared. Save fist, spend later – that is the trick!

When you get your paycheck, put some money aside (about 10% of your salary), and then, go on with your life with the money you have left. You will see that changing your habits will make you more financially aware and prepared for an emergency situation.

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  1. Build a strong bank history

Even if you don’t consider it now, you will get a mortgage loan at some point. When you apply for a loan, the bank will check your credit history, so it’s better if you build it soundly in advance. What you need to do: make sure you pay all your bills or installments on time. It’s as simple as that. That way, your credit score will be clean, and when you will decide to apply for a loan, you will qualify with flying colors.

Prudent saving for retirement.

  1. Start saving for when you retire

You may think that being retired is a long way from here, and you’re probably right. But if you start to save money today for your future pension, you will need to set aside a lot less money than if you start to save for your pension a few years before you retire. Even 15 euro a month can do the trick. In 30 years, setting aside 15 euro a month, at an average 5% annual return will amount to more than 12 000 euro. Not too bad for a few coffees worth of money, right?

Building sound financial habits is key to building the life you want. Carefully planning your expenses, managing your debt and paying yourself first by saving will get you where you want to be financially.

 

Austria – and what living in Austria has to offer

February 5th, 2016

With an area of 83.858 sq. km Austria consists of 9 independent federal states (Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria, Upper Austria, Salzburg, Styria, Tyrol, Vorarlberg and Vienna) with their own provincial governments. The federal legislation is exercised by the national council (Nationalrat) together with the Upper House of Parliament (Bundesrat) – the two chambers of Parliament.

Climate
 
Austria is located in a temperate climatic zone with a Central European climate influenced by the Atlantic climate. The four seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) each have typical temperature and climatic characters.
In summer up to 35°C with an average of 29°C
In winter up to -20°C with an average of 0°C
Economy
Austria is the 11th richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross domestic product) per capita according to the IMF rankings of 2011, has a well-developed social market economy, and a high standard of living.
Vienna was ranked the fifth richest NUTS-2 region within Europe with GDP reaching € 38,632 per capita, just behind Inner London, Luxembourg, Brussels-Capital Region and Hamburg.
Red Bull is an energy drink sold by Austrian company Red Bull GmbH, created in 1987. In terms of market share, Red Bull is the most popular energy drink in the world, with 4.5 billion cans sold each year.
About one third of the Austria’s energy consumption is covered by the national energy industry. Up to 70% of the energy comes from renewable sources such as water. Austria’s industrial sector is, however, one of the world’s largest.
The services industry is Austria’s fastest growing industrial sector. About one sixth of Austria’s three million wage and salary workforce is employed in the trade and industry sector, which contributes some 13% to the GDP.
Tourism is the country’s biggest foreign exchange earner and the fastest growing sector: 220,000 people in 40,000 tourist establishments generate 10% of Austria’s economic output.
  
Healthcare
Austria has a high standard of compulsory state funded healthcare. Private healthcare is also available in the country. All employed citizens and their employers contribute to the system.
There are three areas of social insurance in Austria, health, accident, and pension insurance. Anyone who is covered by the state insurance system will be covered by at least one of these branches. The job you are employed in determines the amount you pay in contributions and the level of social insurance available to you.
Basic health and dental treatment, specialist consultations, stays in public hospitals and medication are covered for all employees. Family dependents are automatically covered through the insurance of the employed family member.
Culture
Coffeehouse culture in Austria
 
 Cafés are an everyday part of city living and in Vienna in particular they are at the heart of city life. Around 1900, a visit to a Viennese café was a spectacular experience, newspapers were displayed on custom-made stands, waiters wore tailcoats and ceilings were decorated with elaborate chandeliers.
Today’s coffeehouse business is booming as more and more people seek a place to rest, work, eat or socialize in busy cities.
Wiener Staatsoper
  
The Wiener Staatsoper is one of the busiest opera houses in the world producing 50 to 60 operas per year in approximately 200 performances. It is quite common to find a different opera being produced each day of a week. As such, the Staatsoper employs over 1000 people.
Art
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. Some of the most known paintings are The Kiss, Judith and the Head of Holofernes and Adele Bloch-Bauer I.
  
Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser was an Austrian artist. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century. Some of his work include The Hundertwasserhaus apartment block in Vienna and Bad Blumau – a municipality and spa town in the district of Fürstenfeld in Styria, Austria.
  
Egon Schiele was an Austrian painter. A protégé of Gustav Klimt, Schiele was a major figurative painter of the early 20th century. The twisted body shapes and the expressive line that characterize Schiele’s paintings and drawings mark the artist as an early exponent of Expressionism. His work includes Zwei Kleine Mädchen, Portrait of Wally and House with Shingles.
Music
Austria has been the birthplace of many famous composers such as Joseph Haydn, Franz Liszt, Franz Schubert, Anton Bruckner, Johann Strauss, Sr. and Johann Strauss, Jr. and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
 
 
Literature
Some scholars speak about Austrian literature in a strict sense from the year 1806 on when Francis II disbanded the Holy Roman Empire and established the Austrian Empire. A more liberal definition incorporates all the literary works written on the territory of todays and historical Austria, especially when it comes to authors who wrote in German. Thus, the seven volume history of Austrian literature by the editors Herbert Zeman and Fritz Peter Knapp is titled History of the Literature in Austria.
 
 
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke better known as Rainer Maria Rilke was a Bohemian-Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language.
His two most famous prose works are the Letters to a Young Poet and the semi-autobiographical Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most famous writers in the world.
Zweig is best known for his novellas The Royal Game, Amok, Letter from an Unknown Woman – filmed in 1948 by Max Ophuls
Franz Kafka was an influential German-language author of novels and short stories. One of his most famous novellas is The Metamorphosis.
Robert Hamerling was an Austrian poet. He was born into a poor family at Kirchberg am Walde in Lower Austria. Hamerling displayed an early genius for poetry.
His most important works are his epic poems: Ahasuerus in Rome and The King of Zion.
Cuisine
  
Vienna boasts one of the world’s most famous culinary traditions. A diverse yet delectably harmonious range of dishes reflects the city’s mix of nationalities and food cultures through the centuries, and inspires visitors from all over the world.
Sports
Due to the mountainous terrain, alpine skiing is a prominent sport in Austria. Similar sports such as snowboarding and ski jumping are also widely popular, and Austrian athletes such as Annemarie Moser-Pröll, Hermann Maier, and Toni Sailer are widely regarded as some of the greatest alpine skiers of all time.
The Austrian Football League (AFL) is the elite league of American football in Austria. The league was founded in 1984 and plays by the rules of the NCAA.
Andreas Nikolaus “Niki” Lauda is an Austrian former Formula One racing driver and three-time F1 World Champion.
Cost of living
Food:
  • A meal at an inexpensive restaurant: 8.16 €
  • A three-course meal for two at a mid-ranged restaurant: 37.18 €
  • 1 Liter of milk: 0.95 €
  • 1 kilogram of chicken breasts: 8.42 €
  • 1 kilogram of oranges: 1.77 €
  • 1 kilogram of potatoes: 1.10 €
Transport:
  • A monthly pass for the local transport system: 43.93 €
  • 1 km with a taxi with normal tariff: 1.48 €
  • 1 liter of gasoline: 1.40 €
Utilities:
  • Monthly utilities for an 85m² Apartment: 155.27 €
  • 1 minute of pre-paid mobile tariff: 0.11 €
  • Internet access (6Mbps, Flat Rate, Cable/ADSL): 18.38 €
Leisure:
  • The monthly fee for an adult at a fitness center: 48.85 €
  • 1 hour tennis court rent in the weekend: 16.30 €
  • 1 seat in the cinema for an international release: 8.40 €
Rent:
  • Rent for a 1 bedroom apartment starts from 350 €
  • Rent for a 3 bedroom apartment starts from 700 €
The rent varies from one federal state and city to another. Still, there can be more attractive offers for Doctors. 
Taxation
Austria’s individual income tax rates are progressive 0%-50% (4 tax bands).
Beside the 12 salaries there are also salaries 13 and 14 which are taxed with only 6% – this is typical in Austria. The 6% lead to a very small difference between the gross salary and the net salary.

 

Income Euro Tax (%)
1 – 11,000 0
11,001 – 25,000 36,6
25,001 – 60,000 43.21
60,001 and over 50

Personal Savings

December 22nd, 2015

“I want a better life for me and my family”

“I want to be able to give my children the childhood I always wanted”

“I want to earn more money so that I can put something aside for my retirement”

These are just some of the things that drive our candidates to change their job and move abroad for a better tomorrow. But what do you do once you land the better paying job?

How do you save your hard earned money?

Did you make a saving plan?

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In order to answer these very important questions, we have decided to team up with the financial advisers from Certinvest. This is the first article on this topic and in the coming months we will publish several materials in order to offer you knowledge about savings and wealth management.

The classical definition of personal savings represents the difference between the income received and expenditure made. In the ordinary life of a consumer, the savings take the form of spending cuts that we obtain. Any product you purchase with a “discount” saves us money, at least on paper.

We are used to spend our monthly income, on different things, promising to ourselves that what remains will be put aside, and at the end of the month we find that we hardly saved anything.  Because of the consumerist era in which we live in, we are exposed to numerous offers and promotions designed to make us buy more and thus spend more of our income on things more or less necessary. Thus, savings remain a wishful desire, and we say that our money is not enough for us to put something aside.

However, our savings should be a starting point, not a result of previous actions. What if we would put aside a part of our monthly income each month, and the remaining money would be allocated for daily expenses? We would be assured that we saved money, and to ensure that end of the month would not catch us with a penniless pocket, we would rethink consumption needs. Thus, the savings would not be wishful thinking and spending would become truly relevant to our needs. So, the modern definition of savings would be the result of putting money aside regularly and consistently.

What do we do with this money set aside? The biggest goal for the money saved should be accumulated capital preservation, with a secondary objective of having a yield over inflation, if possible.

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Financial New Year’s resolutions for a better financial year:

One of the most used ‘New Year’s Wish “is the promise that in the new year, we will save more. And such an objective defined Year’s Eve deserves its place among the greatest desires at the beginning of the year, when we consider that 47% of Europeans say they are unable to save. Easier said than done? Here are some suggestions to keep your promise:

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  1. Conceive your personal financial plan – it must contain personal financial goals (the purpose for which you want to accumulate money), the relevant time horizon, and how much money would you would need to save monthly to achieve the goal. Having established this, you can set your personal financial plan with appropriate financial instruments to save money so you can meet your financial goals.
  2. Create a money saving routine – after you set the monthly amount that you need to set aside for your personal financial plan, make sure that you are able to save, making this action a priority for you.Once you receive your salary (or other form of income), the first transfer will be made to your savings account with the amount money needed to be saved. So as not to deviate from this rule is very helpful to set a service “Direct Debit” by which money is automatically transferred to the savings account, without having to go to the bank every month.
  1. Consult an expert – remember that the same savings instruments do not fit in any situation. Talk to a financial adviser, he may recommend competent financial instruments according to your profile and investment time horizon you have in mind.
  2. Don’t stray away from your saving objectives – for example, if your personal financial plan is to buy a new car, do not use the money saved in the first months for a holiday, but leave them for the car. And taking money from intended objectives in the longer term (such as pensions) , just to be used in the short term (for example, promotions Black Friday) will in the end make you realize that you spent the money for ephemeral thing and that your long term account is empty .

 

And most importantly, enjoy the start of the New Year, and we wish you for it to be better, richer and more fulfilled!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

EGV Recruiting

 

Medical Miracles

December 22nd, 2015

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The winter holidays are always the time to be thankful, to share the love of life with your family and loved ones, to exchange gifts and to thank God for the privilege of sharing yet another wonderful year with all the special people in our lives.

It’s a time of magic and wonder, when we can reflect on all the aspects of life that make us happy.

It’s the time of the year when all illnesses and hardships seem a distant memory and all that we do is say an honest thank you!

I bet we all have our people to thank for us being here and being who we are, our family our friends and Lord and our unsung Heroes:  Our Doctors.

Here are 10 heartwarming Medical Miracles that helped 10 human beings be with their family this Christmas!

  1. Window washer in coma after falling 47 Stories woke up on Christmas day
  2. Teenage model had her body held together by 11 rods
  3. Teen lived 118 days without heart
  4. Blind man got his sight back after having a tooth implanted into his eye
  5. Mother who had to chose to save one twin got to keep both after disconnecting blood vessels
  6. Boy recovered after orthopedic decapitation
  7. Wife shot by husband got a new face
  8. Surfer mauled by a shark had his hanging hand reattached
  9. Paraplegic man suffered a spider bite and started walking again
  10. Near-vegetative man was back to life after stimulation electrodes were implanted into his skull

They say God works in mysterious  ways… Thank you doctors!

Source of the article here: http://www.oddee.com/item_96746.aspx 

 

Why we need Wikipedia and why Wikipedia needs us

October 20th, 2015

 

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Crowd-sourcing is the backbone of Wikipedia, and of the utopian new world of the internet. Via Flickr

As we move through life we gain an understanding of what we want our contribution to the world to be. Some try to leave an ‘I WAS HERE’ that can be seen from outer space, and some are happy to contribute their part to the project of humanity in a more quiet manner. As doctors, the instinct to contribute is hardwired in the work we do, or else, we wouldn’t have chosen this profession.

The story of Wikipedia is the story of a silent, incremental victory, constructed at the hands of millions of such contributors. And the end result is set to be the stuff of science fiction: a continuously updating database of all human knowledge, accessible at any time, even (and especially) through your phone.

The often dodgy reputation of Wikipedia is based on its crowd-sourced structure. That means anybody can edit the posts and as the reasoning goes, ‘anybody’ is an untrustworthy individual. The reality is that the accuracy of the site has been tested against the cream of the crop of reference sources, the “Encyclopedia Britannica” and has been shown to be just as accurate, or sometimes more so. The more people contribute to and edit an article, the more the accuracy improves, while sources like the Britannica are static. Adding to that, I highly doubt that you will find any entry about the buttered cat paradox in any hard-copy encyclopedia.

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Information is power, and states like China are doing their best (and worst) to silence it. Via Cox & Forkum

Be honest, how many times have you looked up medical information in wikipedia? We thought so. It is easy to dismiss Wikipedia as just a treasure trove for lazy high schoolers or as the last word in solving an argument among friends about the origin of some type of sausage. The reality is, in many places where information is an expensive commodity, it is much more than that. Wikipedia is on the edge of a revolution in education and is working alongside innovators such as Bill Gates to provide access to education in places where it is needed most, like sub-saharan Africa or India.

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Your contribution could break the cycle of poverty for so many children, through the gift of education. Via Kmende

An incredible number of success stories stand testament to the fact that the site is a major source for people in disadvantaged countries. An example is Akshaya Iyengar, a girl from a poor town in India that used Wikipedia to fuel her transformation from underprivileged child to software engineer in the U.S. She is just one of thousands, soon to be millions. Another strongtestament to the value of its contributions is the constant censorship that plagues the site in states like China and Iran. In a context where information is power, the mere availability of it is almost subversive to authoritarian governments and acts as an important platform for dissidents, activists and especially for people that don’t have access to information and just want to learn.

In recent years, Wikipedia has started a donation drive to expand its hardware, update its software and strategy and keep the site free of intrusive advertising. Raising money any other way is a complicated affair for a company that can’t offer investors any scaleable monetisation and is, in practice, a charity for information. While many people find the donation drive aggressive it is mainly because we have gotten used to the comfortable luxury of having this vast portal into knowledge open, for free. The truth is that the infrastructure of the seventh most visited site on the internet can’t be managed for pennies out of somebody’s garage. If we want to be part of the grandiose project of cataloging the expanse of knowledge, we can start by either contributing expertise or by contributing cash. Both add their significant part to the goal of spreading valuable knowledge.

As an organisation we are proud to donate to Wikipedia, because we deal in intelligence. The doctors and organisations we help are the product of their cumulated minds and experience. There is no other charity that is so directly valuable for so many of us and we strongly urge you to do your, even if small, part to expand Wikipedia’s web of wisdom and aid its many incredibly valuable projects.

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All roads lead to Russian ballet if you have a free afternoon and internet access. Via Flickr

Even though the site has been through its share of criticism for asking us directly for cash, the value it creates is undeniable any time you get sucked into its information hole and end up researching Russian ballet when all you wanted was to find out about how they make blue cheese. That is the miracle of creating relevant, updated and interesting information at the click of a button. The fact is, the world we live in is built on the supremacy of information and Wikipedia is, at the moment, humanity’s best shot at getting all that information cataloged, organized and accessible.

What if we told you that with the price of one coffee you could contribute a small but essential part to the project of universal access to knowledge? You may not feel the ripples of this small gesture just yet, but the expected return is enormous: access to the vastness of universal education for everyone, especially those that need it most.

Contribute now! 

 

By Alexandra Kaschuta

Job information for foreign doctors in Saxony

September 29th, 2015

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Dresden – The State Medical Association of Saxony has issued professional information for foreign doctors who want to work in the state. According to the in German, English and Arabic published Flyer, doctors must demonstrate their German language skills, have a professional permit / license to practice and a residence permit.

“We want to help our foreign counterparts to better navigate the German authorities. It is of great benefit if important information is not lost because of the foreign language barrier, but are illustrated in their mother tongue, “said Erik Bodendieck, President of the Saxon State Medical Association.

The information is structured in nine chapters as an overview of the activity as a physician in Germany or Saxony. It starts with an overview of the German health system, training and further training, and in the last section with the sub-chapter “Life in Saxony”.

http://www.slaek.de/de/01/auslaendische_aerzte.php

15 Unique Illnesses You Can Only Come Down With in German!

July 16th, 2015

my-spleenThe German language is so perfectly suited for these syndromes, coming down with them in any other language just won’t do.

1. KEVINISMUS

At some point in the last couple of decades, parents in Germany started coming down withKevinismus— a strange propensity to give their kids wholly un-German, American-sounding names like Justin, Mandy, Dennis, Cindy, and Kevin. Kids with these names tend to be less successful and have more behavior problems in school. Studies of the Kevinismusphenomenon attribute these effects to a combination of teachers’ prejudices toward the names, and the lower social status of parents who choose names like Kevin.

2. FÖHNKRANKHEIT

Föhn is the name for a specific wind that cools air as it draws up one side of a mountain, and then warms it as it compresses coming down the other side. These winds are believed to cause headaches and other feelings of illness. Many a 19th century German lady took to her fainting couch with a cold compress, suffering from Föhnkrankheit.

3. KREISLAUFZUSAMMENBRUCH

Kreislaufzusammenbruch, or “circulatory collapse,” sounds deathly serious, but it’s used quite commonly in Germany to mean something like “feeling woozy” or “I don’t think I can come into work today.”

4. HÖRSTURZ

Hörsturz refers to a sudden loss of hearing, which in Germany is apparently frequently caused by stress. Strangely, while every German knows at least 5 people who have had a bout ofHörsturz, it is practically unheard of anywhere else.

5. FRÜHJAHRSMÜDIGKEIT

Frühjahrsmüdigkeit or “early year tiredness” can be translated as “spring fatigue.” Is it from the change in the weather? Changing sunlight patterns? Hormone imbalance? Allergies? As afflictions go, Frühjahrsmüdigkeit is much less fun than our “spring fever,” which is instead associated with increased vim, vigor, pep, and randiness.

6. FERNWEH

Fernweh is the opposite of homesickness. It is the longing for travel, or getting out there beyond the horizon, what you might call… awaysickness.

7. PUTZFIMMEL

Putzen means “to clean” and Fimmel is a mania or obsession. Putzfimmel is an obsession with cleaning. It is not unheard of outside of Germany, but elsewhere it is less culturally embedded and less fun to say.

8. WERTHERSFIEBER

An old-fashioned type of miserable lovesickness that was named “Werther’s fever” for the hero of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther. Poor young Werther suffers for the love of a peasant girl who is already married. Death is his only way out. A generation of sensitive young men brought made Werthersfieber quite fashionable in the late 18th century.

9. OSTALGIE

Ostalgie is nostalgia for the old way of life in East Germany (“ost” means East). If you miss your old Trabant and those weekly visits from the secret police, you may have Ostalgie.

10. ZEITKRANKHEIT

Zeitkrankheit is “time sickness” or “illness of the times.” It’s a general term for whatever the damaging mindset or preoccupations of a certain era are.

11. WELTSCHMERZ

Weltschmerz or “world pain,” is a sadness brought on by a realization that the world cannot be the way you wish it would be. It’s more emotional than pessimism, and more painful than ennui.

12. ICHSCHMERZ

Ichschmerz is like Weltschmerz, but it is dissatisfaction with the self rather than the world. Which is probably what Weltschmerz really boils down to most of the time.

13. LEBENSMÜDIGKEIT

Lebensmüdigkeit translates as despair or world-weariness, but it also more literally means “life tiredness.” When someone does something stupidly dangerous, you might sarcastically ask, “What are you doing? Are you lebensmüde?!”

14. ZIVILISATIONSKRANKHEIT

Zivilisationskrankheit, or “civilization sickness” is a problem caused by living in the modern world. Stress, obesity, eating disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and diseases like type 2 diabetes are all examples.

15. TORSCHLUSSPANIK

Torschlusspanik or “gate closing panic” is the anxiety-inducing awareness that as time goes on, life’s opportunities just keep getting fewer and fewer and there’s no way to know which ones you should be taking before they close forever. It’s a Zivilisationskrankheit that may result in Weltschmerz, Ichschmerz, or Lebensmüdigkeit.

 

Source of the article here: http://mentalfloss.com/article/61140/15-unique-illnesses-you-can-only-come-down-german

What is psychosomatic medicine?

June 5th, 2015

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Psychosomatic medicine focuses on the interactions between mind and body and the powerful ways in which emotional, mental, social and spiritual factors can directly affect health.

Psychosomatic medicine focuses on the study and treatment of those emotional disturbances that are manifested as physical disorders. The term psychosomatic emphasizes essential unity of the psyche and the soma, a combination rooted in ancient Greek medicine. Common disorders caused at least partly by psychological factors include childhood asthma, certain gastrointestinal problems, hypertension, endocrine disturbances, diabetes, and possibly even heart disease.

Psychosomatic medicine deals with:

  • Clinical situations where mental processes act as a major factor affecting medical outcomes.
  • illnesses due to the interaction of the mind and the body
  • physical diseases which have a mental component derived from the stresses and strains of everyday living ex. lower back pain, high blood pressure
  • the influence that the mind has over physical processes
  • disabilities that are based on intellectual infirmities, rather than actual injuries or physical limitations, (somatoform disorders)
  • physical illness with their biopsychosocial aspects e.g. cancer diseases
  • physiological and functional disorders as response to psychological or physical trauma e.g. posttraumatic stress disorder and adjustment disorders
  • Conversion disorders physical symptoms , which go back to unconscious conflicts
  • Hypochondria
  • disturbed health behavior and its consequences (e.g. smoking)
  • mental disorders associated with physical discomfort: depression, anxiety disorders
  • mental illness, which have physiological effects : eating disorders, personality disorders

Psychosomatic medicine treatments are necessary in 3 different situations:

  1. The patients who have both a mental (psychiatric) illness and a medical illness, and these illnesses complicate the symptoms and management of each other
  2. The patients who have a psychiatric problem that is a direct result of a medical illness or its treatment, such as having depression due to cancer and its treatment.
  3. Somatoform disorders. Somatoform disorders are psychiatric disorders that are displayed through physical problems. In other words, the physical symptoms people experience are related to psychological factors rather than a medical cause.

Some examples:

  • Conversion disorder
  • Somatization disorder
  • Hypochondriasis
  • Body dysmorphic disorder
  • Pain disorder

Treatment types

  • psychotherapeutic conversation
  • dynamical psychotherapy
  • psychoanalyze
  • analytical group therapy
  • family therapy
  • suggestive therapy
  • hypnosis
  • body centered therapy
  • self-help groups

 

Advantages of residency training in psychosomatic medicine

Psychosomatic medicine and Psychotherapy is an exciting and new growing medical specialty with a fast and constant evolution. It offers a new point of view regarding the correlation between physical and (somatic) illness and psychiatric factors that create somatic illnesses without physical substance. An interesting aspect is the fact that a psychosomatic medicine and Psychotherapy practitioner has the opportunity to conduct psychiatric evaluations and treatments for mentally healthy individuals without having to interact with common psychiatric patients.

In Germany psychosomatic primary care is compulsory part of training in all specialties. All practicing physicians need to complete an 80-hour course of basic psychosomatic care (psychosocial diagnostic interview, psychotherapeutic interventions, and relaxation techniques). The most common training method in psychosomatic medicine is based on the Balint groups method, in which a group of doctors, therapists and Psychologists consult with each other regarding the treatments of the patients and the treatment relationships.

The residency training lasts 5 years and the required rotations are the following:

  • 1 year psychiatry and psychotherapy (6 months can be spent in the department of child and adolescent psychiatry)
  • 1 year Internal medicine
  • 3 years in psychosomatics

If you start a residency in psychosomatic medicine and want to change your specialty, you can get some part of your residency training in psychosomatic medicine recognized in the following specialties:

  • Anesthesiology – 12 Months
  • Surgery – 6 Months
  • Gynecology – 6 Months (training in psychosomatics is mandatory)
  • Human genetics – 12 Months
  • Internal medicine and general medicine – 12 Months (training in psychosomatics is mandatory)
  • Pediatrics and adolescent medicine – 6 Months
  • Child and adolescent psychiatry and psychotherapy – 12 Months
  • Neurology – 12 Months
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry -12 Months
  • Pathology – 12 Months
  • Pharmacology – 12 Months
  • Radiology – 12 Months

Supra specialties of psychosomatic medicine are:

  • Psychoanalysis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Rehabilitations medicine
  • Acupuncture
  • Allergology
  • Occupational medicine
  • Geriatrics
  • Homeopathy

 

Top 100 sights and attractions in Germany – part 1

May 4th, 2015

Situated in the heart of Europe, Germany has plenty of fantastic tourist attractions and unique sights to offer. Visitors from all over the world travel to Germany to see architectural treasures and fascinating places of natural beauty. The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) is interested in gathering the most popular attractions and has its international visitors name their German favorites. 15,000 named their personal favorite. The 100 most mentioned were put together into Germany’s top 100 attractions.

1. Neuschwanstein Castle

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Neuschwanstein is known all over the world as a symbol of idealised romantic architecture and for the tragic story of its owner. After losing sovereignty in his own kingdom, Ludwig II withdrew into his own world of myths, legend and fairytales.

2. Europa-Park

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If you haven’t already been to Europa-Park in Rust, then what are you waiting for! Located in south-west Germany between Freiburg and Offenburg, Europa-Park is the biggest theme park in the German-speaking countries and one of the few that is open in winter.

3. Cologne Cathedral
Cologne Cathedral (middle) and Great St. Martin Church right-hand in Cologne, Germany

There have been churches on the site of Cologne Cathedral since the 4th century. However, it was not until 1248 that this city on the Rhine became home to one of the foremost cathedrals in the Christian world – a masterpiece of Gothic architecture. When it was completed in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world.

4. Old town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber
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Rothenburg ob der Tauber is a small town with a big reputation. Nowhere else will you find such a wealth of original buildings dating from the Middle Ages. You can’t help but ask yourself whether time has stood still, as you amble past the beautiful old houses, secluded squares and tucked-away corners of the old quarter, where towers, taverns and town gates alternate with fountains, fortifications and former storehouses.

5. The Berlin Wall
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From 1961 to 1989 the Berlin Wall divided the city in two. Most of this concrete structure has since been torn down, but fragments do remain a feature of the city. The Berlin Wall Trail, a route for walkers and cyclists split into 14 sections, follows the path of the former wall. Information panels installed at 30 points tell the story of the Berlin Wall. The colourful and recently restored East Side Gallery in Friedrichshain is a piece of the hinterland wall that in 1990 was painted by artists from 21 countries. On Bernauer Strasse, where there is a replica section of the Berlin Wall, you can also visit a memorial site, a documentation centre and the Chapel of Reconciliation.

6. Heidelberg Castle/Heidelberg old quarter
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One of Europe’s most famous landmarks, the romantic ruins of Heidelberg Castle have been attracting visitors since the 19th century.

7. Brandenburg Gate
Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

No other monument in Berlin is as famous around the world as Brandenburg Gate, built between 1789 and 1791 to plans by C. G. Langhans on Pariser Platz in the heart of the city. After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, Brandenburg Gate became impassable for 28 years. As a signature attraction and symbol of German reunification, it now represents the past and present of the German capital in exemplary fashion. The gate is supported by six Doric columns, forming five passageways with pedestrian-only access. The famous quadriga depicting the goddess of victory, Victoria, riding a four-horse chariot was added in 1794.

8. Loreley rock in the Upper Middle Rhine Valley (UNESCO World Heritage)
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Celebrated in song and shrouded in legend – the Loreley rock is a 194-metre-high slate cliff towering above the narrowest point of the Rhine near St. Goarshausen.

9. Lake Constance with Mainau Island, Monastic Island of Reichenau (UNESCO World Heritage), Lindau, prehistoric pile dwellings, Meersburg Castle
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The Lake Constance region, where Germany borders Austria and Switzerland, is a holiday paradise set around one of Europe’s largest lakes. The most popular excursion is to the Flower Island of Mainau, famous for its magnificent park and gardens surrounding the baroque family residence of Count Bernadotte. Discover an oasis of natural beauty, harmony and relaxation.

10. A beer festival for the world: Oktoberfest

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Munich is Germany’s beer capital – and the Oktoberfest is a byword for beer all over the world. When the first Oktoberfest was held back in 1810 to celebrate a royal wedding, nobody could have dreamt it would go on to become such a famous event. Since that time, the world’s biggest beer festival has been held every year in September/October on the Theresienwiese grounds, bringing smiles to people’s faces in classic Bavarian style with oompah bands, beer fresh from the barrel and plenty of good cheer. Anyone interested in the history of the festival can find out more on a guided tour of the famous Wies’n site, available since 1995 in several languages.

 

Source of the article here