news from the lab 2010
Neuroscientists at EPFL and the University of Edinburgh have discovered that the degree of motivation and the stamina to keep it up depends on the ratio between the neurotransmitters glutamine and glutamate in the nucleus accumbens of the brain.
Columbus brought syphilis to Europe - or did he? A recent study conducted at the University of Zurich now indicates that Europeans could already have been infected with this sexually transmitted disease before the 15th century. In addition, researchers have discovered a hitherto unknown pathogen causing a related disease. The predecessor of syphilis and its related diseases could be over 2,500 years old.
A trusting therapeutic relationship and outcome-oriented collaboration between therapist and patient are critical for the successful treatment of mental illness. And it pays to start early in therapy, a series of meta-studies by a task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) led by UZH psychology professor Christoph Flückiger shows.
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Scientists could explain how the eye creates circuits to analyze motion. The detection of motion in the retina is based on circuit asymmetry, a fundamental computational principle in the brain.
Researchers have shown that a magnetically polarised current can be manipulated by electric fields. This important discovery opens up the prospect of simultaneously processing and storing data on electrons held in the molecular structure of computer chips - combining computer memory and processing power on the same chip.
The ASACUSA experiment at CERN has taken an important step forward in developing an innovative technique for studying antimatter. Using a novel particle trap, called a CUSP trap, the experiment has succeeded in producing significant numbers of antihydrogen atoms in flight. Antimatter - or the lack of it - remains one of the biggest mysteries of science.
Do ants hold the key to the fuel of the future? Formic acid provides more efficient and safer storage of hydrogen.
Switzerland deals flexibly and pragmatically with plurilingualism. It does this successfully. Nevertheless, immigration and increasing international integration are posing new challenges to schools, economy and administration.
The ALPHA experiment at CERN has taken an important step forward in developing techniques to understand one of the Universe's open questions: is there a difference between matter and antimatter? A study shows that it has successfully produced and trapped atoms of antihydrogen. This development opens the path to new ways of making detailed measurements of antihydrogen, which will in turn allow scientists to compare matter and antimatter.
Neurobiologists have identified, for the first time, clearly defined neural circuits responsible for the processing of fear states. These findings could ultimately help people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety disorders. Fear arises in the almond-shaped brain structure known as the amygdala.
Graphene is a promising material for tomorrow's nanoelectronics devices, as reported myScience.ch earlier . Precise and upscaleable methods to fabricate graphene and derived materials with desired electronic properties are however still searched after. To overcome the current limitations, researchers have fabricated graphene-like materials using a surface chemical route and clarified in detail the corresponding reaction pathway.
Proton running for 2010 in the LHC at CERN came to a successful conclusion. Since the end of March 2010, when the first collisions occurred at a total energy of 7 TeV, the machine and experiment teams have achieved all of their objectives for the first year of proton physics at this record energy and new ground has been explored.
Acoustic specialists have developed a computer model which allows to calculate noise levels along the entire Swiss rail network.
Substantial amounts of the greenhouse gas methane are released not only from large tropical reservoirs but also from run-of-the-river reservoirs in Switzerland, especially in the summer, when water temperatures are higher.
A novel nano-tomography method developed by a team of researchers opens the door to computed tomography examinations of minute structures at nanometer resolutions.
The construction of the biggest Solar Park in Switzerland is taking shape as the first photovoltaic panels come on stream.
Taking one type of cell and transforming it into another type is now possible. Cells taken from the thymus have been transformed into skin cells - a discovery that may have important ramifications for the field of organ regeneration.
Researchers discover why implant coatings detach - and a method to prevent it. Extra-hard coatings made from diamond-like carbon (DLC) extend the operating lifetime of tools and components.
A fossil found more than 100 years ago in a cave in Switzerland may belong to the oldest domestic dog in the world.
Astrophysicists have for the first time observed a quasar that is located between the earth and a more distant galaxy and acts as a gravitational lens.
The proton - one of the smallest building blocks of all matter - is even smaller than previously assumed. As a consequence of this discovery, a correction will have to be made to either the quantum theory of how light and matter interact or to the value of the Rydberg Constant - i.e. an important change is needed to either the most precise theory in physics or the most precisely determined physical constant.
Today's trend in winter sports draws more and more people away from the designated slopes. Free riding and ski tours experience a massive boost in popularity.
Scientists restore vision in retinitis pigmentosa using an archaebacterial protein.