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Life Sciences - 21.01.2021
Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines Signaling Strength
Size of Connections between Nerve Cells Determines Signaling Strength
Nerve cells communicate with one another via synapses. Neuroscientists at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich have now found that these connections seem to be much more powerful than previously thought. The larger the synapse, the stronger the signal it transmits. These findings will enable a better understanding of how the brain functions and how neurological disorders arise.

Life Sciences - Health - 20.01.2021
NAD+ can restore age-related muscle deterioration
Scientists at EPFL have discovered that Alzheimer's-like protein aggregates underly the muscle deterioration seen in aging. But the aggregates can be reversed by boosting the levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD + ), which turns on the defense systems of mitochondria in cells and restores muscle function.

Life Sciences - 18.01.2021
Snap-freezing reveals a truer structure of brain connections
Snap-freezing reveals a truer structure of brain connections
Scientists at EPFL have used a snap-freezing method to reveal the true structure of the connections that join neurons together in the adult brain. Most synaptic connections in the adult brain are situated on dendritic spines; small, micrometer-long, protrusions extending from the neurons' surface. The spines' exact size and shape determine how well signals are passed from one neuron to another.

Life Sciences - 14.01.2021
Protecting the genome from transposon activation
Protecting the genome from transposon activation
Transposons are foreign DNA elements capable of random insertion into the genome, an event that can be very dangerous for a cell. Their activity must be silenced to maintain genomic integrity, which is primarily achieved by H3K9me3-mediated repression. Researchers from the Gasser group identified two parallel pathways that are essential for H3K9me3- mediated transcriptional repression and thus for protecting the genome from toxic transposon activation.

Life Sciences - 14.01.2021
How the circadian clock regulates liver genes in time and space
How the circadian clock regulates liver genes in time and space
Scientists have carried out the first comprehensive study of how genes in the liver perform their metabolic functions in both space and time of day. Monitoring almost 5000 genes at the level of the individual cell across a 24-hour period, the researchers have modelled how the circadian clock and liver functions crosstalk throughout the day in sync with the feeding-fasting cycle.

Life Sciences - 08.01.2021
Goats enjoy mental gymnastics
Goats enjoy mental gymnastics
A study on shows that goats like to earn a reward by 'working' for it, even if they can get the same reward without making any effort. This finding could benefit humane husbandry. Goats respond positively to challenges rather than just turning away. In a project funded jointly by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the German Research Foundation (DFG), two breeding lines - dairy goats and dwarf goats - were offered a choice of two types of reward.

Life Sciences - 07.01.2021
Perceiving prosthesis as lighter thanks to neurofeedback
Perceiving prosthesis as lighter thanks to neurofeedback
Transmitting sensory signals from prostheses to the nervous system helps leg amputees to perceive prosthesis as part of their body. While amputees generally perceive their prostheses as heavy, this feedback helps them to perceive the prostheses as significantly lighter, ETH researchers have shown. Leg amputees are often not satisfied with their prosthesis, even though the sophisticated prostheses are becoming available.

Life Sciences - Health - 07.01.2021
Peeking inside 'mini-brains' could boost understanding of the human brain in health and disease
Peeking inside ’mini-brains’ could boost understanding of the human brain in health and disease
Revealing details of the internal structure of 'mini-brains' could help accelerate drug studies and may offer alternatives to some animal testing Geneva, Switzerland, 7 January 2021 - 'Mini-brains' are pin-head sized collections of several different types of human brain cell. They are used as a tool, allowing scientists to learn about how the brain develops, study disease and test new medicines.

Life Sciences - Chemistry - 06.01.2021
The wings of a “genetic bird” protect us against viruses
Researchers have demonstrated that every population can protect itself against a broad range of viruses thanks to the two most diverse HLA immune genes in humans. Do populations from different geographic regions have the same potential for defending themselves against pathogens and against viruses in particular? An analysis of human genomes, especially the HLA genes responsible for the so-called "adaptive" immune system, provide some possible answers to this question.

Life Sciences - 06.01.2021
Neuronal circuits for fine motor skills
Neuronal circuits for fine motor skills
Writing, driving a screw or throwing darts are only some of the activities that demand a high level of skill. How the brain masters such exquisite movements has now been described in the journal "Nature" by a team of researchers at the University of Basel and the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research.