Banner Viadrina

Institute for Transcultural
Health Sciences (IntraG)

Selected Projects

Study of mechanisms of regeneration for injuries of the musculoskeletal system through the therapy developed by Mohamed Khalifa in a multi disciplinary research network

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach
Type of Project: Lehrstuhlprojekt
Financing: Forschungsförderungsverein der Erkenntnisse von Mohamed Khalifa (FFVMK)
Project Began: 17.12.2012

Mohamed Khalifa is an Egyptian manual therapist who has had great success with the regeneration of ruptured ligaments, especially in the ankle joints of athletes, after a single treatment with his method. He is famous among top athletes, from soccer professionals to Olympic athletes, many of whom seek his help. In our first study we verified that this method leads to complete regeneration of ligaments within a short period of time, with statistical significance. In this follow-up study we aim to identify possible mechanisms, such as piezoelectrical effects, pressure effects to the matrix, or other effects that could be responsible for these regenerations. Our Institute supervises the methodology and conducts the statistical analysis of this multilateral and international research network.  


Possibilities and limits of electronic means of health coaching for adolescents

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach
Project Leader: Jochen Krautwald
Type of Project: Ph.D Project
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach)
Project Began: . January 2013

Adolescents today spend several hours a day with electronic media. The time they spend in front of the computer alone is so extensive that long-tem effects on their health are to be expected, since generally during that time no form of healthy body-movement, social interaction, or social learning, takes place. The focus of this study is the effect electronic forms of health coaching can have on the facilitation of health in adolescents.


Brain, Mind & Healing: Mindful School

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach
Project Leaders: Solveig Herrnleben-Kurz, Charlotte Zenner
Type of Project: Ph.D Project
Financing: Other
Sponsors:  Samueli Institute of Brain, Mind and Healing, Oberberg Stiftung Matthias Gottschaldt
Project Began: 01.10.2010

We are currently analysing data collected in our pilot studies of the MindfulSchool Project. 

The MindfulSchool Project is working on a portfolio of mindfulness-based practices, which is designed for use in primary school. The aim is to provide concrete proposals and inspiration for teachers with existing or evolving experiences in mindfulness practice, with which they can easily integrate mindfulness exercises into their teaching.

Developing the portfolio, we tested different approaches to integrating mindfulness-based practices into school routine in two primary schools in Frankfurt (Oder). We developed the programme further over a twelve-month period, to better adapt it to the specific setting with its various needs. It will be applicable as an in-class curriculum and teachers with personal mindfulness practice will be guided with material to deliver it.  

Simultaneously, we evaluated our programme in terms of outcomes, feasibility, and acceptability, using a wide range of qualitative and quantitative methods. The outcome evaluation focuses on various psychological outcomes such as self-regulation, quality of life and well-being, attention, concentration, creativity, empathy, and social behaviour.

Another important aim of our work is the integration of actual research in the field of mindfulness-based programmes in school settings. We systematically reviewed evidence, showing the benefits and challenges of introducing Mindfulness into an educational setting, and synthesised data in a meta-analysis (Mindfulness-Based Interventions in Schools – A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis, under review). The conclusion is that Mindfulness-based interventions in children and youths might hold promise, particularly in relation to certain domains. But the diversity of study samples, variety in implementation and exercises, and wide range of instruments used require a careful and differentiated examination of data.

A follow-up study to verify the suitability of the practice test of MindfulSchool Programme is currently under consideration.

Education for Sustainability,  from a changing climate to a change of heart

An evaluation of a holistic approach to Education for Sustainability.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach
Project Leader: Jana Lemke
Type of Project: Ph.D Project
Financing: Other
Sponsors: StK-Stiftung für Kooperationsforschung und kollektive Entwicklung
Project Began: 01.09.2010

Our interdisciplinary research project focuses on the monitoring and evaluation of a holistically-oriented program for Education for Sustainability. The program addresses 16 to 18-year old students and is implemented into the formal educational curriculum as a 9-day field trip. The program builds on elements of the experiences and knowledge of an international team of youth workers, outdoor educators and academics interested in innovative forms of learning. We examine the impact of this participative and experiential approach on young people’s lives over the course of 6 months. A focal point is the program’s influence on the inner representation of self, others and nature, its interrelations and relationship to behavior change.

The results of this research will be used as a basis for extracting meaningful components of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). The program will be examined in regard to its ability to sensitize young people efficiently to the complexity and consequences of human activities and to bring about behavioral changes, where possible and necessary. Therefore the evaluation will provide information on the program’s usefulness as a practice model for ESD activities that can be applied in the formal educational system. Our research project will ensure progress in the ESD field, encourage the distribution of successful educational programs and deepen our understanding of psychological factors underlying personal transformation. That way the insight gained into relationships between relevant psychological factors can be directly connected with a tangible program and does not remain purely theoretical. We aim to bridge the existing gap between theory and practice and therefore hold this cutting edge research as an integral part of our holistic approach.


Lifestyle-based Prevention of Dementia

Project: Alzheimer’s Prevention Programme
Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Dr. Harald Walach
Project Leader: Postdoc: Dr. Martin Loef
Type of Project: Lehrstuhlprojekt
Financing: Other 
Sponsor: Hans Gottschalk Stiftung

Project Began: 01.08.2010

The first stage of our Alzheimer’s Prevention Program development is now complete. An empirical assessment of lifestyle factors has been carried out, with articles published on Alzheimer’s Disease and Lead, Zinc, Selenium, Copper, Iron, and Fruit & Vegetables. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the combined effects of lifestyle behaviours on all cause mortality were carried out, and the overall view of the project has been summarized in our article “Towards Primary Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease“ (American Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (2012) 1:-28). The next stage of the project involves the development and testing of a lifestyle prevention program for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.


Complete Edition Virchow
New Contributions to the Virchow-Research

Project Leader: Prof. Christian Andree
Type of Project: Lehrstuhlprojekt