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Life Sciences - Health - 24.02.2021
Reactivating Aging Stem Cells in the Brain
Reactivating Aging Stem Cells in the Brain
As people get older, their neural stem cells lose the ability to proliferate and produce new neurons, leading to a decline in memory function. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now discovered a mechanism linked to stem cell aging - and how the production of neurons can be reactivated. The stem cells in our brain generate new neurons throughout life, for example in the hippocampus.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 18.02.2021
New-found molecular signature keeps key genes ready for action
New-found molecular signature keeps key genes ready for action
During development, scores of molecular signals prod cells to take on specialized identities and functions. In response to some of these signals, the cellular machinery awakens specific genes called ‘immediate early genes' within minutes. The Rijli group has now identified a unique molecular signature that keeps immediate early genes quiet yet poised for rapid activation.

Health - Life Sciences - 16.02.2021
Targeted elimination of leukemic stem cells
Targeted elimination of leukemic stem cells
Cancer research has discovered a further mechanism to combat leukemia: a research team has succeeded in identifying an important signaling pathway for regulating leukemic stem cells. With this discovery, the researchers are expanding the arsenal of potentially highly effective drugs against leukemias ("blood cancers").

Life Sciences - Health - 16.02.2021
Aging: What underlies the mitochondrial stress response
Aging: What underlies the mitochondrial stress response
Scientists at EPFL have discovered certain enzymes that play a central role in the stress responses that defend mitochondria from stress, and promote health and longevity. Probably the most well-known organelle of the cell, mitochondria play a critical role in producing energy from food. So, it's no surprise that mitochondria can get stressed and damaged.

Life Sciences - 15.02.2021
New discovery at the IOR on mechanisms leading to the spread of metastases
New discovery at the IOR on mechanisms leading to the spread of metastases
Prostate cancer research is making further progress with a recent discovery of the Prostate Cancer Biology laboratory at the Institute of Oncology Research (IOR, affiliated to the Università della Svizzera Italiana). A study led by Dr  Giuseppina Carbone has revealed that micro-RNA fragments, released into the body by prostate cancer cells through microscopic vesicles called exosomes, lead to the formation of metastases.

Life Sciences - Health - 15.02.2021
Regular caffeine consumption affects brain structure
Regular caffeine consumption affects brain structure
Coffee, cola or an energy drink: caffeine is the world's most widely consumed psychoactive substance. Researchers from the University of Basel have now shown in a study that regular caffeine intake can change the gray matter of the brain. However, the effect appears to be temporary. No question - caffeine helps most of us to feel more alert.

Health - Life Sciences - 15.02.2021
Signs of burnout can be detected in sweat
Signs of burnout can be detected in sweat
EPFL engineers, working in association with startup Xsensio, have developed a wearable system that can measure the concentration of cortisol - the stress hormone - in human sweat. Enabling future quasi-continuous monitoring, their device can eventually help doctors better understand and treat stress-related conditions like burnout and obesity.

Environment - Life Sciences - 12.02.2021
Enigmatic blooms in the depths of Lake Tanganyika
Enigmatic blooms in the depths of Lake Tanganyika
A community of sulfur bacteria grows in the northern basin of Lake Tanganyika and plays a key role in the lake's nitrogen cycle. With climate change, the deep blooms could expand southward, a new study shows. This could have drastic consequences for regional fisheries. Lake Tanganyika in Africa is one of the largest freshwater lakes on earth and provides a critical source of fish to millions of people in the surrounding region.

Life Sciences - Health - 11.02.2021
The cause of genetic diseases can also be found in
The cause of genetic diseases can also be found in "gene deserts"
Large parts of the human genome do not contain protein-coding genes. Now, however, a research team with participation from the University of Basel has discovered the cause of a severe hereditary defect in such a "gene desert". The study in the scientific journal Nature shows that a single genetic change in the "junk DNA" long thought to be useless can have serious consequences.

Health - Life Sciences - 11.02.2021
How bacteria sleep through antibiotic attacks
Bacteria can survive antibiotic treatment even without antibiotic resistance by slowing down their metabolism and going into a type of deep sleep. A research team funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation reveals the changes bacteria undergo to reach this "persister" state. Resistant bacteria evade the effects of antibiotics by becoming less susceptible, for example by breaking the drugs down.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.02.2021
COVID-19 Test from Start to Finish: How Does it Work?
COVID-19 Test from Start to Finish: How Does it Work?
Testing for COVID-19 has rapidly scaled up in the past months, thanks to better availability of testing material and the introduction of new testing strategies. The Swiss TPH Travel Clinic and Diagnostic Centre offer SARS-CoV-2 PCR and antibody tests in Basel, Switzerland. Did you ever wonder what laboratory work is actually involved, when you take a Corona test? The following steps demonstrate how a SARS-CoV-2 PCR test is carried out with all the labour-intensive steps in the laboratory that it entails.

Life Sciences - 10.02.2021
How the brain makes sense of touch
How the brain makes sense of touch
Researchers have identified specific neurons that help activate sensory processing in nearby nerve cells - a finding that could explain how the brain integrates signals necessary for tactile perception and learning. The ability to perceive touch sensations gives our brains a wealth of information about the environment, including the shape, texture and temperature of objects.

Life Sciences - Health - 09.02.2021
Genes that dance to the circadian rhythm
Genes that dance to the circadian rhythm
Scientists at EPFL have made breakthrough discoveries on the circadian clock and how it affects gene expression. Some of the findings suggest a biological underpinning for different behaviors in people, such as morning people, nappers, evening people, night owls etc. In 2017, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to three scientists who uncovered the molecular mechanisms that control the circadian rhythm, otherwise known as the "wake-sleep" cycle.

Life Sciences - Health - 09.02.2021
Synchronization of Brain Hemispheres Changes What We Hear
Most of the time, our brain receives different input from each of our ears, but we nevertheless perceive speech as unified sounds. This process takes place through synchronization of the areas of the brain involved with the help of gamma waves, neurolinguists at the University of Zurich have now discovered.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.02.2021
Bernese researchers create sophisticated lung-on-chip
Bernese researchers create sophisticated lung-on-chip
In collaboration with clinical partners from the Inselspital, researchers from the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Research of the University of Bern have developed a second-generation lung-on-chip model with life-size dimension alveoli in a stretchable membrane, made of purely biological material. The new model reproduces key aspects of the lung tissue architecture not found in previous lungs-on-chip.

Life Sciences - 08.02.2021
Chromatin remodelers never rest to keep our genome open
Chromatin remodelers never rest to keep our genome open
Chromatin remodelers are needed to take nucleosomes away from DNA in order to make room for transcription factors to bind, and regulate the activity of our genes. It has been unclear how dynamic this process is. Researchers from the Schübeler group now revealed that active regulatory regions undergo continuous cycles of chromatin opening.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 04.02.2021
Detecting functional changes at the proteome level
Detecting functional changes at the proteome level
Researchers have drastically improved existing proteomics techniques so they can capture all functional alterations in proteins. Their work paves the way for using these signatures as diagnostic tools. In biological cells, proteins are everywhere: these building blocks of life perform countless important functions.

Life Sciences - 02.02.2021
Unusual mutation causes defective sperm in boars
Unusual mutation causes defective sperm in boars
Researchers have found a gene mutation that causes the sperm of boars to immobilize. Their discovery will help pig breeders to exclude animals with this genetic defect from breeding in future. In pig farming, natural mating between a boar and a sow has become rare. It is much more common for sows to be artificially inseminated.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.01.2021
Risk-Taking Linked to Particular Brain Features
Risk-Taking Linked to Particular Brain Features
There is a common genetic and neurobiological basis for risky behavior - the genetic disposition for risk-taking is mapped in several areas of the brain, a UZH study shows. The study combines genetic information and brain scans from more than 25,000 people for the first time. Risky behaviors such as smoking, alcohol and drug use, speeding, or frequently changing sexual partners result in enormous health and economic consequences and lead to associated costs of an estimated 600 billion dollars a year in the US alone.

Life Sciences - Mathematics - 27.01.2021
A NEAT reduction of complex neuronal models accelerates brain research
A NEAT reduction of complex neuronal models accelerates brain research
Unlike their simple counterparts in artificial intelligence (AI) applications, neurons in the brain use dendrites - their intricate tree-like branches - to find relevant chunks of information. Now, neuroscientists from the University of Bern have discovered a new computational method to make complex dendrite models much simpler.
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