Most recent news releases
Humans are often infected by parasites, sometimes even several species at a time. Such co-infections are more difficult to treat if the parasites interact with each other. An ecologist from the University of Zurich and his international team have compiled a list of the numerous possibilities as to how parasites can interact: They are most likely to do so indirectly via the food source they share.
Whether a tumour develops from individual cancer cells and whether metastases are formed depends on many factors in the affected tissue. A greater understanding of a tumour’s complex switch and control circuits could help to combat cancer in a more targeted fashion. Researchers at the University of Zurich have come up with an imaging method that is able to simultaneously visualize a previously unachieved number of factors involved in cancer.
After a stroke, sufferers are often faced with the problem of severe movement impairment. Researchers at the Brain Research Institute of the University of Zurich have now discovered that the brainstem could play a major role in the recovery of motor functions. The projection of neurons from this ancient part of the brain into the spinal cord leads to the neural impulses needed for motion being rerouted.
Feb 5, 2014 Attractive professional cyclists are faster
A study by the University of Zurich demonstrates a link between attractiveness and endurance performance, showing that successful Tour de France cyclists are more attractive. This preference for faster riders is particularly strong in women who are not using a hormonal contraceptive.
Researchers at the University Children’s Hospital Zurich and the University of Zurich have engineered skin cells for the very first time containing blood and lymphatic capillaries. They succeeded in isolating all the necessary types of skin cells from human skin tissue and engineering a skin graft that is similar to full-thickness skin.
Jan 29, 2014 Zebrafish use sunscreen also for camouflage
Zebrafish embryos camouflage themselves against predators by adapting to the surface. Neurobiologists from the University of Zurich have discovered that this camouflage mechanism actually started out as sunscreen to protect the fish against DNA damaging shortwave solar radiation at embryonic stages.
Back in the Middle Ages, Central Europeans were already capable of digesting milk, yoghurt and cheese just as well as us today. Researchers at the University of Zurich’s Centre for Evolutionary Medicine have discovered that the population of the medieval town of Dalheim had a similar genetic predisposition for milk digestion to present-day Germans and Austrians. Moreover, the study reveals that lactose tolerance was more widespread than previously believed.
Jan 20, 2014 Cocaine users enjoy social interactions less
Regular cocaine users have difficulties in feeling empathy for others and they exhibit less prosocial behavior. A study at the Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Zurich now suggests that cocaine users have social deficits because social contacts are less rewarding for them. Social skills should therefore be trained during the treatment of cocaine addiction.
Jan 16, 2014 Meltwater from Tibetan glaciers floods pastures
The earth is warming up, the glaciers are shrinking. However, not all meltwater is causing sea-level rise as feared. In Tibet, as measurements taken by an international team of researchers including the University of Zurich reveal, a significant proportion of the meltwater remains on land. The consequences are, however, equally negative: it can cause lakes without an outlet to overflow and flood valuable pastureland.
Most people are carriers of the Epstein-Barr Virus, which can trigger infectious mononucleosis. Those who become infected as adults are more at risk of becoming ill from it. By contrast, children who become infected are protected by their innate immune system. This is because young «natural killer cells» fight off infectious mononucleosis, as immunologists from the University of Zurich have now shown. The researchers are now testing vaccinations that could protect young people from the illness.
85 out of every 100 people in Switzerland have access to the internet. Internet usage is on the rise, with even 70 percent of senior citizens going online. However, the concerns about using the internet are still substantial ─ for example with regard to companies monitoring the data. In general, young people are less worried and women are more concerned about protecting their privacy. These are the results of a study carried out by the Institute of Mass Communication and Media Research (IPMZ) at the University of Zurich.
Babies born with a congenital heart defect may face long-term neurodevelopmental impairments. Researchers from the Children’s Hospital Zurich revealed that adolescents may exhibit a smaller brain volume many years after cardiac surgery compared to their peers. Moreover, they are also more likely to have learning or motor difficulties.
Nov 25, 2013 New immuno-therapy for malignant brain tumors
Glioblastoma is one of the most ominous brain tumors. Despite aggressive surgery, radiation and chemotherapy the outcome of this disease is almost always fatal. A UZH research team has now achieved success with a novel form of treatment that involves encouraging the body’s own immune system to recognise and eliminate cancer cells in the brain.
Nov 14, 2013 One in seven students has dabbled in “smart” drugs
One in seven Swiss students has already tried to enhance his or her performance with prescription medication or drugs. Besides psychostimulants like Ritalin, students also consume sedatives, alcohol or cannabis. These substances are mostly only taken during the exam preparation period. Only a narrow majority of polled students reported the desired effects, as a representative study conducted by researchers at the universities of Zurich and Basel reveals.
Oct 29, 2013 Child sexual abuse via the Internet on the rise
Sexual abuse of children and adolescents is widespread in Switzerland, experienced by almost two in five girls and one in six boys. The majority of victims are abused by juvenile perpetrators and do not disclose the abuse. Today, the most frequently reported form of sexual abuse is sexual harassment via the Internet. Compared to a decade ago, more severe forms of abuse have not increased, as confirmed by a representative study by researchers at the University of Zurich, Zurich University Children’s Hospital, and University Hospital Zurich.
Oct 23, 2013 Swiss private banking in clinch with high cost level
Internationally as well as in Switzerland, the assets under management of private banks increased in 2012. The cost/income ratio at Swiss private banks remains critical. Given the high costs at some smaller, personnel intensive banks, some consolidation is looming in the long run. Future business models need to cater to tax-compliant and performance-sensitive clients. These are the conclusions from the latest International Private Banking Study published by the Department of Banking and Finance at the University of Zurich.
Paleoanthropologists from the University of Zurich have uncovered the intact skull of an early Homo individual in Dmanisi, Georgia. This find is forcing a change in perspective in the field of paleoanthropology: human species diversity two million years ago was much smaller than presumed thus far. However, diversity within the «Homo erectus», the first global species of human, was as great as in humans today.
Oct 16, 2013 Tracking viral DNA in the Cell
Cell biologists and chemists from the University of Zurich reveal how viral DNA traffics in human cells. They have developed a new method to generate virus particles containing labeled viral DNA genomes. This allowed them to visualize, for the first time, single viral genomes in the cytoplasm and the nucleus by using fluorescence microscopy in regular or superresolution mode. The new findings enhance our understanding of how viral disease occurs, and how cells respond to infections.
The elongated body of some present-day fish evolved in different ways. Paleontologists from the University of Zurich have now discovered a new mode of body elongation based on a discovery in an exceptionally preserved fossilfish from Southern Ticino. In Saurichthys curionii, an early ray-finned fish, the vertebral arches of the axial skeleton doubled, resulting in the elongation of its body and giving it a needlefish-like appearance. The 240-million-year-old fossil find from Switzerland also revealed that this primitive fish was not as flexible as today’s eels, nor could it swim as fast or untiringly as a tuna.
Biologists of the University of Zurich have developed a method to visualize the activity of genes in single cells. The method is so efficient that, for the first time, a thousand genes can be studied in parallel in ten thousand single human cells. Applications lie in fields of basic research and medical diagnostics. The new method shows that the activity of genes, and the spatial organization of the resulting transcript molecules, strongly vary between single cells.