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Environment - Innovation / Technology - 16.08.2018
India's excess fluoride in groundwater
India’s excess fluoride in groundwater
Fluoride occurs naturally in groundwater. In small amounts, this is usually not a problem, but in India the concentration in many places exceeds the threshold at which is starts to present a health hazard. According to estimates by Eawag researchers, based on new computer models, more than a hundred million people are affected.

Life Sciences - Agronomy / Food Science - 16.08.2018
The Wheat Genome Is Five Times Bigger than the Human Genome
The Wheat Genome Is Five Times Bigger than the Human Genome
Scientists have been able to sequence the complete genome of common wheat for the first time. The information will enable more effective measures to be taken to combat pests and climate stress in wheat. Wheat is the one of the most widely cultivated crops in the world and one of the most common type of grain.

Environment - Physics - 15.08.2018
Marine heatwaves are threatening ecosystems
Marine heatwaves are threatening ecosystems
Marine heatwaves can irreversibly damage ecosystems and, therefore, also present a threat to fishing. As a team led by physicist Thomas Frölicher from Bern showed in a study just published , the number of marine heatwaves has increased dramatically in past decades. This trend will further intensify as a result of climate change.

Life Sciences - Health - 15.08.2018
Amputees feel as though their prosthetic limb belongs to their body
In a breakthrough approach that combines virtual reality and artificial tactile sensations, two amputees feel as though their prosthetic hand belongs to their own body. Moreover, the scientists show that the phantom limb actually grows into the prosthetic hand. The famous idiom "seeing is believing" is not enough to help amputees with the use of their prosthetic limb.

Administration - Business / Economics - 15.08.2018
New Swiss Bank Note Dedicated to Science
New Swiss Bank Note Dedicated to Science
Swiss National Bank releases new 200-franc note. Fourth banknote in latest series showcases Switzerland's scientific expertise The Swiss National Bank (SNB) will begin issuing the new 200-franc note on 22 August 2018.

Life Sciences - Physics - 15.08.2018
Signposts for cells
Signposts for cells
For the replacement of animal testing with alternatives in medical rsearch, complex microtissues need to be cultivated. Researchers from Empa have developed a special polymer scaffold for threedimensional cell cultures. Light beams act as signposts for the cells. In pharmaceutical research, scientists try to do without animal testing wherever possible or replace it with experiments on cell or tissue cultures.

Environment - 15.08.2018
Pumped-storage hydropower: expansion and ecological limits
Pumped-storage hydropower: expansion and ecological limits
Eawag has studied how various pumped-storage hydropower scenarios affect temperature and water quality in the waterbodies concerned. In the case of Sihlsee, which serves as a reservoir for the SBB Etzelwerk plant, the question of withdrawal depth was found to be crucially important. The study also highlighted the fact that the assessment of environmental impacts largely depends on the definition of the reference state: whereas in natural lakes water is discharged from the surface, in reservoirs it is withdrawn from the lower layer.

Health - Life Sciences - 14.08.2018
Differences in immune responses due to age, sex, and genetics
Differences in immune responses due to age, sex, and genetics
Age, sex, and specific human genetic variants are the key factors behind differences between immune responses among healthy humans, finds a study of 1,000 individuals carried out by EPFL and the Pasteur Institute. Over the course of our life, we are continuously exposed to pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, meaning that our immune system is constantly at work.

Health - Life Sciences - 13.08.2018
New Approach to Treating Chronic Itch
Two receptors in the spinal cord and the right experimental drug: Researchers at the University of Zurich have discovered a new approach that suppresses itch. In a series of experiments in mice and dogs they successfully alleviated different forms of acute as well as chronic itch. For the latter, current treatment options are very limited.

Life Sciences - Social Sciences - 10.08.2018
Targeting a brain mechanism could treat aggression
Targeting a brain mechanism could treat aggression
EPFL neuroscientists have identified a brain mechanism that is linked to aggression and violent behavior, potentially forming the basis for treating aggression in several psychiatric disorders. violence, which, needless to say, are destructive to both individuals and societies worldwide: death, disease, disability, and numerous socioeconomic problems can often be traced back to aggressive behavior.

Health - Life Sciences - 10.08.2018
New Mosquito Net reduces Malaria Cases
New Mosquito Net reduces Malaria Cases
A new type of bed net with two active ingredients, a pyrethroid insecticide plus an insect growth hormone, could prevent millions of cases of malaria according to a new study published yesterday in The Lancet. Swiss TPH contributed to the study through statistical design and data analysis. The latest figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that approximately 216 million people were infected with malaria in 2016 worldwide, an increase in five million from the previous year.

Health - 09.08.2018
Global Overview of Schistosomiasis Research and Control
Global Overview of Schistosomiasis Research and Control
An estimated 250 million people suffer from schistosomiasis worldwide. While considerable progress has been made to control schistosomiasis, challenges remain as there is no vaccine available and the risk for drug resistance is increasing. Providing recommendations toward control and eventual elimination of schistosomiasis, a comprehensive review was published today in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Reviews Disease Primers.

Computer Science / Telecom - Life Sciences - 09.08.2018
For ever more efficient optical fibres
By applying a computer program that mimics the way the human brain learns to identify objects, EPFL scientists are now able to reconstruct images that have been degraded by passing through an optical fiber. EPFL researchers have taught a type of machine learning algorithm to reconstruct images that became blurred while being transmitted through an optical fiber.

Physics - Chemistry - 09.08.2018
Quantum chains in graphene nanoribbons
Quantum chains in graphene nanoribbons
Researchers have achieved a breakthrough that could in future be used for precise nanotransistors or - in the distant future - possibly even quantum computers. A material that consists of atoms of a single element, but has completely different properties depending on the atomic arrangement - this may sound strange, but is actually reality with graphene nanoribbons.

Environment - Life Sciences - 09.08.2018
Water quality: new insights thanks to a more efficient integrated approach
Water quality: new insights thanks to a more efficient integrated approach
The development of novel, less costly analytical methods is of crucial importance in addressing the issue of micropollutants in surface waters. This was one of the main goals of EDA-EMERGE, an EU-funded programme in which Eawag also participated. While increasing numbers of chemicals are entering surface waters, routine monitoring in Switzerland and the EU focuses on a relatively small number of compounds.

Life Sciences - Psychology - 09.08.2018
Synapses of the reward system at stake in autistic disorders
Synapses of the reward system at stake in autistic disorders
Autism spectrum disorders are a heterogeneous group of neurodevelopmental disorders, one of the main characteristics of which is impaired social communication. But what happens in patients' brains that disrupts their social skills' According to scientists from the Universities of Basel and Geneva, whose work is published , a malfunction of the synaptic activity of neurons present in the reward system seems to be at stake.

Physics - Innovation / Technology - 08.08.2018
Novel approach to coherent control of a three-level quantum system
Novel approach to coherent control of a three-level quantum system
For the first time, researchers were able to study quantum interference in a three-level quantum system and thereby control the behavior of individual electron spins. To this end, they used a novel nanostructure, in which a quantum system is integrated into a nanoscale mechanical oscillator in form of a diamond cantilever.

Health - Life Sciences - 08.08.2018
Potential indicator for the early detection of dementias
Potential indicator for the early detection of dementias
Researchers at the University of Basel and the University Hospital Basel have discovered a factor that could support the early detection of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's. This cytokine is induced by cellular stress reactions after disturbances of the mitochondria, the ‘cell's power plants,' as neuropathologists write in the journal Cell Reports.

Earth Sciences - 06.08.2018
Earthquakes can be attenuated by groundwater
Earthquakes can be attenuated by groundwater
Researchers from EPFL and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris have found that the presence of pressurized fluid in surrounding rock can reduce the intensity of earthquakes triggered by underground human activities like geothermal energy production. Around 100,000 earthquakes are recorded worldwide every year, but not all are naturally occurring.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 06.08.2018
Tainted idyll: groundwater over-fertilising lagoon in Spain
Tainted idyll: groundwater over-fertilising lagoon in Spain
Lagoons are valuable natural habitats as well as being good for tourism. In the case of the "Mar Menor" in the Spanish province of Murcia, however, such large quantities of nutrients are entering the unique ecosystem via the groundwater that algal blooms are making swimming impossible. Working together with Eawag, Spanish researchers have been modelling the underground water flows in order to develop better cultivation and water management scenarios.
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