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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.

Environment - Computer Science - 12.02.2021
Digital sobriety is now a top priority at EPFL
An independent report commissioned by EPFL's upper management recommends drastic measures and more comprehensive carbon accounting in order to reduce the substantial environmental impact caused by the use of digital technology at the School. A recent assessment of EPFL's digital-technology carbon footprint found that the use of computer equipment by staff and students accounts for 25% of the School's total greenhouse gas emissions.

Innovation - 11.02.2021
Smartphone App to Change Your Personality
Smartphone App to Change Your Personality
How quickly can personality traits be modified? An international research team led by the University of Zurich has shown that daily use of a smartphone app can lead to desired personality changes within three months. And three months after the daily interventions, the changes are still noticeable. Personality traits such as conscientiousness or sociability are patterns of experience and behavior that can change throughout our lives.

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.

Environment - 11.02.2021
Towards more fish-friendly hydropower plants
Towards more fish-friendly hydropower plants
Over the course of the EU project "FIThydro", research and industry partners studied the ecological impact of hydropower plants. ETH Zurich's Laboratory of Hydraulics, Hydrology and Glaciology (VAW) has developed a protection and guidance system that can help migratory fish to safely bypass hydropower turbines.

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.

Computer Science - 11.02.2021
FLeet: Putting Machine Learning in your pocket
New EPFL/INRIA research shows for the first time that it is possible for our mobile devices to conduct machine learning as part of a distributed network, without giving big global tech companies access to our data. Every time we read news online or search for somewhere to eat out, big tech collects huge amounts of our behavioral data.

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.

Computer Science - Innovation - 10.02.2021
Virtual reality helping to treat fear of heights
Virtual reality helping to treat fear of heights
Researchers from the University of Basel have developed a virtual reality app for smartphones to reduce fear of heights. Now, they have conducted a clinical trial to study its efficacy. Trial participants who spent a total of four hours training with the app at home showed an improvement in their ability to handle real height situations.

Environment - Innovation - 10.02.2021
How cities can grow sustainably
A new five-year research collaboration between ETH Zurich and three Singapore universities will see scientists from both countries come together to develop solutions to help cities and their surrounding regions achieve sustainable growth.The collaborative venture launched on 1 December 2020. According to a United Nations report, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050.

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.

Economics / Business - Innovation - 09.02.2021
Thematic ETFs,
Thematic ETFs, "a financial innovation gone awry"
Catering to the future expectations of investors is inherent to the world of finance which, as such, plays an import role in fostering economic growth through it's ability to innovate. However, financial innovations are not always flawless. A recent study co-authored by USI finance professor Francesco Franzoni reveals the significant performance inefficiencies of the increasingly popular 'thematic' exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Streams in agricultural areas benefit from beavers
Beavers are master builders that reshape aquatic landscapes with their dams and lodges. The environments they inhabit experience an increase in the biodiversity of aquatic organisms, for example. Now, for the first time, an Eawag study from the wine-growing region known as "Zürcher Weinland" has shown that this is also true for streams in areas given over largely to agriculture.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 09.02.2021
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
Emissions of banned ozone-depleting substance back on decline
After a mysterious and sharp increase between 2012 and 2017 that could be traced to eastern China global emissions of a potent (and banned) substance notorious for depleting the Earth's ozone layer - the protective barrier that absorbs the Sun's harmful UV rays - have fallen rapidly in recent years and are now as low as never before since measurements began in this region in 2008, according to new atmospheric analyses published in "Nature" today.

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.

Materials Science - Physics - 08.02.2021
Droplets perform daredevil feats on gel surfaces
Scientists have succeeded in making droplets flow just as fast on soft surfaces as on hard ones by changing the surface texture. Welcome to the amazing world of soft substrates. These materials are made of silicon gels and have the same texture as panna cotta - but without the delicious flavor. They are used in a range of applications, especially in the pharmaceutical industry, because their biocompatible and antiadhesive properties make them resistant to corrosion and bacterial contamination.

Health - History / Archeology - 08.02.2021
1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences
1918 Pandemic Second Wave Had Fatal Consequences
In the event of a pandemic, delayed reactions and a decentralized approach by the authorities at the start of a follow-up wave can lead to longer-lasting, more severe and more fatal consequences, researchers from the universities of Zurich and Toronto have found. The interdisciplinary team compared the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 in the Canton of Bern with the coronavirus pandemic of 2020.
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