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Life Sciences - 06.02.2019
Morals versus Money: How We Make Social Decisions
Our actions are guided by moral values. However, monetary incentives can get in the way of our good intentions. Neuroeconomists at the University of Zurich have now investigated in which area of the brain conflicts between moral and material motives are resolved. Their findings reveal that our actions are more social when these deliberations are inhibited.

Life Sciences - 05.02.2019
Fine-tuning gene regulation by CG dinucleotides
Fine-tuning gene regulation by CG dinucleotides
Transcription of our genes mostly begins in regions of the genome called CpG islands. These are rich in the dinucleotide CpG (thus the name), critical for gene activity and devoid of DNA methylation. Despite the relevance of CpG islands, it is unclear if the CpG dinucleotide itself contributes to their activity.

Health - Pharmacology - 05.02.2019
Even psychological placebos have an effect
Even psychological placebos have an effect
Placebo effects do not only occur in medical treatment - placebos can also work when psychological effects are attributed to them. Psychologists from the University of Basel reported these findings in the journal Scientific Reports, based on three studies with over 400 participants. Psychotherapy and placebos are both psychological interventions that not only have comparable effects, but that are also based on very similar mechanisms.

Environment - 04.02.2019
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Precious metal tracks nanoplastics
Tiny plastic particles measuring about 100 nanometres (millionths of a millimetre) are used in many products, for example to encapsulate dye or aromatic substances or as additives to shampoos and cosmetics. Many of them land directly in sewage as soon as the products are used. Together with other plastics, for example from tyre rubber in road run-off, they end up in the water-treatment plants.

Economics / Business - 04.02.2019
Monthly wages are an important step towards economic development
Across developing economies, most workers and agricultural producers are paid are paid on a daily basis. This has a negative impact on their ability to generate savings for large expenses. Researchers from UZH show dairy farmers and agricultural workers prefer to be paid once at the end of the month, rather then daily, because monthly payments schemes are an efficient tool to increase saving.

Innovation - 04.02.2019
Bringing technologies from the laboratory to industry
Innovations are the driving force behind the Swiss economy. But how does an idea become an innovation, a real market success' Too many ideas from research laboratories fall by the wayside on their path to industrial implementation. They are caught in the so-called "Valley of Death" of the innovation process.

Physics - 01.02.2019
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
Virtual lens improves X-ray microscopy
PSI researchers are first to transfer state-of-the-art microscopy method to X-ray imaging X-rays provide unique insights into the interior of materials, tissues, and cells. Researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute PSI have developed a new method that makes X-ray images even better: The resolution is higher and allows more precise inferences about the properties of materials.

Chemistry - Pharmacology - 01.02.2019
Intuition and failure are valuable ingredients in chemistry
Intuition and failure are valuable ingredients in chemistry
When researchers make a new discovery, they tend to only publish the results of their successful experiments. But just as informative are all the experiments that didn't work - the failed trials and incorrect hypotheses, which can offer important information. A team of EPFL chemists has developed a methodology for collecting those lessons and, crucially, sharing them with other researchers.

Health - Social Sciences - 01.02.2019
Risks of eating disorders revealed from childhood
Risks of eating disorders revealed from childhood
Researchers in Geneva, Switzerland and the United States highlight the link between abnormal body weight in very young children and a higher risk of developing eating disorders in adolescence. Eating disorders - anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa or bine eating disorder - usually start in adolescence and often leave young patients and their families helpless.

Health - 31.01.2019
How Type 1 Diabetes Gradually Destroys Insulin Production
How Type 1 Diabetes Gradually Destroys Insulin Production
Using the new Imaging Mass Cytometry method, Zurich researchers have investigated the pancreas of healthy organ donors and those with type 1 diabetes. The study shows that many beta cells, which normally produce insulin, are still present in the early stages of the disease, but look very different. These beta cells could potentially be rescued for the benefit of the patient and the progression of the disease could be slowed down or even stopped.

Life Sciences - 31.01.2019
Learning new vocabulary during deep sleep
Learning new vocabulary during deep sleep
Researchers of the University of Bern, Switzerland, showed that we can acquire the vocabulary of a new language during distinct phases of slow-wave sleep and that the sleep-learned vocabulary could be retrieved unconsciously following waking. Memory formation appeared to be mediated by the same brain structures that also mediate wake vocabulary learning.

Health - Environment - 31.01.2019
Scientifically Proven: Air Pollution Harms Health
Scientifically Proven: Air Pollution Harms Health
The debate on air quality standards for ambient air pollutants such as nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and ozone has revived in Germany last week. The International Society for Environmental Epidemiology and the Environment and Health Committee of the European Respiratory Society have now issued a statement on the debate of the effects of air pollution on health.

Environment - 31.01.2019
Monitoring gas dynamics in a deep geological repository
Monitoring gas dynamics in a deep geological repository
The Mont Terri Rock Laboratory, lying to the north of Saint-Ursanne in the canton of Jura, is located at a depth of around 300 metres underground. At this site, various long-term experiments are being carried out as part of efforts to develop an operating plan for the safe disposal of radioactive waste.

Life Sciences - Environment - 30.01.2019
A small fish provides insight into the genetic basis of evolution
A small fish provides insight into the genetic basis of evolution
A genetic analysis of sticklebacks shows that isolated populations in similar environments develop in comparable ways. The basis for this is already present in the genome of their genetic ancestors. Evolutionary biologists from the University of Basel and the University of Nottingham report these insights in the journal Evolution Letters.

Health - Life Sciences - 29.01.2019
Wheat Resistance Gene also Protects Corn and Barley against Fungal Disease
Wheat Resistance Gene also Protects Corn and Barley against Fungal Disease
Plant researchers at the University of Zurich have developed transgenic corn and barley lines with improved resistance against several fungal diseases thanks to the wheat resistance gene Lr34. Following successful tests in the greenhouse, the researchers are now planning to carry out field trials at the Agroscope site in Zurich-Reckenholz.

Health - Life Sciences - 28.01.2019
Cancer: A mutation that breaks gene interplay in 3D
Cancer: A mutation that breaks gene interplay in 3D
EPFL scientists have discovered how a mutated gene can affect the three-dimensional interactions of genes in the cell, leading to various forms of cancer. Inside the cell, DNA is tightly wrapped around proteins and packed in a complex, 3D structure that we call "chromatin". Chromatin not only protects our genetic material from damage, but also organizes the entire genome by regulating the expression of genes in three dimensions, unwinding them to be presented to the cell's gene-expression machinery and then winding them back in.

Life Sciences - Health - 28.01.2019
A solid scaffolding for our cells
A solid scaffolding for our cells
UNIGE researchers have discovered the fundamental role of the Not1 protein, which allows proteins to find each other and assemble at a precise pace, in the right place and at the right time. To perform properly the task for which they have been synthesized, proteins must first assemble to form effective cellular "machines".

Chemistry - Life Sciences - 28.01.2019
How do mRNAs deal with stress?
How do mRNAs deal with stress?
Two hallmarks of the integrated stress response of cells are the inhibition of translation and the formation of stress granules (SGs) and processing bodies (PBs). However, it is not well understood how both processes are coupled. In a study published in Molecular Cell, researchers from the Chao group applied single-molecule RNA imaging to study the interactions of mRNAs with SGs and PBs, and found out that the generally accepted assumptions about the function of granules need to be revised.

Earth Sciences - Health - 28.01.2019
New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake
New method to determine how safe buildings are after an earthquake
EPFL scientists have developed a new method for evaluating building safety after an earthquake, helping residents return to their homes more quickly. Deciding when it's safe for a building's residents to move back in after an earthquake is a major challenge and responsibility for civil engineers. Not only do they have to evaluate whether the building could collapse, but also whether it could withstand aftershocks of the same magnitude.

Environment - 25.01.2019
Inequality promotes deforestation in Latin America
Inequality promotes deforestation in Latin America
Agricultural expansion is the main cause of deforestation in Latin America. Improvements in agricultural productivity can either enable forest conservation, or promote more deforestation. A new University of Bern study highlights the role played by inequality: high inequality leads to more deforestation, while lower inequality improves the long-term protection of remaining tropical forests.
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