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Bavarian Minister of State, Ulrike Scharf MdL, in Brussels - Introduction of the Virtual Alpine Observatory

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On Thursday, 29 June 2017, the Bavarian State Minister of the Environment and Consumer Protection, Ulrike Scharf MdL (german: Mitglied des Landtages; english: member of the Bavarian government), convened the meeting “Climate Change - Identify and act on risks” at the premises of the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels. In these premises, the modern medicine of vaccination gathered momentum when - at the end of the 19th century - the research pioneer Louis Pasteur made decisive findings by the help of experimental allergy models, which then resulted in the development of human vaccines. As a natural consequence, this historic surrounding led to productive talks between the more than 100 guests about adaptation strategies with regard to climate change. In order to understand the latter and its consequences, the Bavarian state initiated the Virtual Alpine Observatory, VAO (presented by Professor Michael Bittner of the German Aerospace Center, DLR). The motivation for this research project is simply that the consequences of climate change can be noticeably felt, especially in the alpine region. One indicator for changes in the climatic conditions of the earth were the high mean temperature values in Germany in June 2017 with about 2,6 °C over average. The study of diseases and therapy in an alpine landscape is therefore of special significance and will be managed in the future by an Eurpoean joint task force, the first of its kind.

Allergy research on the Schneefernerhaus - translational implementation of medical rehabilitation in alpine regions

Professor Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann, chief physician at the Klinikum Augsburg (english: Augsburg Central Hospital) and full professor at the Chair and Institute of Environmental Medicine, Technical University of Munich and Helmholtz Zentrum München, attended the meeting in Brussels. When conversing with Minister Scharf, the physician and international researcher Traidl-Hoffmann could give report - among other topics - about the results of an environmental study which has already taken place at the Schneefernerhaus located on Germany´s highest mountain, the Zugspitze, for the second time in a row and which was supported by the Bavarian State Ministry of the Environment and Consumer Protection as well as by CK-CARE. Study findings show that an allergy can be “switched off” in an alpine region because of the low pollen abundance the air. The results of environmental medicine research at this location are now directly translated into medical rehabilitation and therapy. Thus allergic patients can be freed from symptoms in high altitudes (such as at the Hochgebirgsklinik in Davos, HGK) and experience a sustainable relief of their allergic disease.

Climate change requires excellent research for planning the adaptation of man and nature

Together with Andrea Tilche, PhD, Head of Unit Climate Action and Earth Observation, European Commission, Traidl-Hoffmann could discuss the topic of allergy research in relation to climate change. This discussion has a particular significance in as far as the support of research projects within the scope of the European working programme “Horizon 2020” would be of importance in order to further accelerate European-wide interdisciplinary research in this field. In their talks, interestingly enough, both Tilche and Minister Scharf mentioned the inclusion of the climate change matter into the encyclica “Laudato si´” by Pope Francis, published in June 2015. Therein, the protection of the environment and the climate are important topics for the future. Exactly this is the point on which Traidl-Hoffmann´s research has its focus with an ongoing formation of an interdisciplinary and international research consortium. Thus climate change and its aftermath on health can be investigated on a priority level.



Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann and Ulrike ScharfThe photo shows Professor Claudia Traidl-Hoffmann on the left and Minister Ulrike Scharf MdL on the right at the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels (Photo: Traidl-Hoffmann)

Andrea Tilche und Claudia Traidl-HoffmannThe photo shows Andrea Tilche, PhD, on the left and Professor Claudia Traild-Hoffmann on the right just before their joint talk about the European VAO-project and Horizon 2020 (Photo: Traidl-Hoffmann)