Most recent news releases
Nov 24, 2015 Lactate for Brain Energy
Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.
Nov 18, 2015 Why mice have longer sperm than elephants
In the animal world, if several males mate with the same female, their sperm compete to fertilize her limited supply of eggs. Longer sperm often seem to have a competitive advantage. However, a study conducted by researchers from the Universities of Zurich and Stockholm now reveals that the size of the animals also matters. The larger the animal, the more important the number of sperm is relative to sperm length. That’s why elephants have smaller sperm than mice.
Why does a kangaroo expel less methane than a cow? Researchers from the University of Zurich and Australia decide to investigate – and discovered that the emission of this climate-damaging gas in kangaroos is linked to how long food is digested.
What is the decisive factor for identification with Europe? Contact with people from European countries plays a more minor role, as a study conducted by the Institute of Sociology at the University of Zurich reveals. Personal interests are far more important: EU citizens living in Switzerland feel more closely linked to Europe than their Swiss counterparts because they benefit from EU citizenship.
Can animals recognize distantly related, unfamiliar individuals of the same species? Siberian jays possess this ability as evolutionary biologists from the University of Zurich recently could demonstrate for the first time. This bird species belongs to the crow family and is able to accurately assess the degree of kinship to unfamiliar individuals. This ability provides advantages when sharing food and other forms of cooperation.
Antibodies protect the body against diseases – but can also harm their own organism if the reactions are misdirected. Researchers from the University of Zurich have now discovered that a particular sugar in the antibodies determines whether one of the body’s own cells is destroyed or not. This result could lead to new treatment possibilities for patients with autoimmune diseases.
A new study by researchers at the University of Zurich challenges the prevailing view that female genital cutting is predominantly a norm based on all families trying to be alike. According to the study, published in Science, families actually vary tremendously in matters related to cutting. This indicates that heterogeneous motives at the family level play a crucial role when parents decide whether to cut their daughters. The results question the assumptions behind many programs that attempt to reduce cutting.
Researchers from the University of Zurich and the University Hospital Zurich reveal possible new treatment methods for a rare, usually fatal brain disease. Thanks to their discovery that specific antibodies play a key role in combating the viral infection, a vaccine against the disease «progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy» could now be developed.
Sep 17, 2015 A barrier against brain stem cell aging
Neural stem cells generate new neurons throughout life in the mammalian brain. However, with advancing age the potential for regeneration in the brain dramatically declines. Scientists of the University of Zurich now identified a novel mechanism of how neural stem cells stay relatively free of aging-induced damage. A diffusion barrier regulates the sorting of damaged proteins during cell division.
The University of Basel, the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI), the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich will together launch a new course of study in medicine. An additional 100 new student places could be available by autumn 2017.
Aug 25, 2015 Flu remedies help combat E. coli bacteria
If the intestinal bacteria level becomes unbalanced, it can cause diseases. Physiologists from the University of Zurich reveal how a specific carbohydrate in the intestinal mucosa heavily multiplies certain E. coli bacteria and thus causes inflammations. These could be treated with flu remedies, which opens up new therapeutic possibilities.
Aug 20, 2015 XENON Experiment: no evidence (yet) for dark matter
Dark matter has never been directly observed in the laboratory. The international XENON collaboration, that includes researchers from the Universities of Bern and Zurich, has not found evidence for it either. However, its latest results solve a long-standing scientific controversy in the field.
Aug 20, 2015 Brain waves behind indecisiveness
Some people find it difficult to make decisions. In a new study, neuroeconomists from the University of Zurich now reveal that the intensity of the communication between different regions of the brain dictates whether we are indecisive or not.
For the first time ever, researchers have succeeded in creating arrangements of colloids – tiny particles suspended in a solution – and, importantly, they have managed to control their motion with high precision and speed. Thanks to this new technique developed by scientists at the University of Zurich, colloidal nanoparticles may play a role in digital technologies of the future. Nanoparticles can be rapidly displaced, require little energy and their small footprint offers large storage capacity – all these attributes make them well suited to new data storage applications or high-resolution displays.
Seasonal water shortages already occur in the Central Andes of Peru and Bolivia. By the end of the century, precipitation could fall by up to 30% according to an international team of researchers led by the University of Zurich. In a first for this region, the team compared current climate data with future climate scenarios and data extending back to pre-Inca times.
Languages are constantly evolving – and grammar is no exception. The way in which the brain processes language triggers adjustments. If the brain has to exert itself too much to cope with difficult case constructions, it usually simplifies them over time, as linguists from the University of Zurich demonstrate in a study on languages all over the world.
Martin Jinek, a professor at the University of Zurich’s Department of Biochemistry, was presented with the 2015 Vallee Young Investigator Award. The international prize is awarded to young researchers for outstanding achievements in biomedicine and carries USD 250,000 in prize money.
Aug 3, 2015 Glaciers melt faster than ever
Glacier decline in the first decade of the 21st century has reached a historical record, since the onset of direct observations. Glacier melt is a global phenomenon and will continue even without further climate change. This is shown in the latest study by the World Glacier Monitoring Service under the lead of the University of Zurich, Switzerland.
Jul 29, 2015 Alcohol laws have a preventive effect on young men
Young men are at risk from alcohol consumption. Regulations such as the minimum legal drinking age can protect them. As a national study headed by UZH scientists reveals: The more legal measures for alcohol prevention are enforced in a canton, the less young men drink excessively. However, this is not effective for high-risk consumers such as young men with a tendency towards sensation seeking or antisocial behavior.
Jul 27, 2015 New treatment options for a fatal leukemia
In industrialized countries like Switzerland acute lymphoblastic leukemia represents the most frequent type of cancer in children. Together with international researchers, a pediatric oncologist from the University of Zurich has now succeeded in decoding a rare but always fatal subtype of this leukemia and in obtaining pointers for new therapeutic possibilities.