The Synaptic Bases of Mental Diseases



  • 50 years of “open psychiatry” at Malévoz The psychiatric asylum Malévoz (Monthey) celebrated fifty years of “open psychiatry”, where the caregivers don’t restrain patients and doors stay open. Philippe Conus explains that Malévoz is an exception. Only three other Swiss psychiatric hospitals have bet on this approach.
    RTS radio La Première – Vacarme

  • What’s on your mind? Pierre Magistretti explains the Brain2brain project at the Swiss Italian radio. This three-year project aims to cover the need for better communication on neurosciences.
    RSI Rete Due radio

  • Art and science : a future made of avatars To celebrate its 10th anniversary, the HEAD school of Geneva had a conference on the future, mixing art and science. Olaf Blanke participated to the conference : “In twenty years, we will have virtual and robotic avatars.”
    Tribune de Genève
    Le Courrier

  • The unconsciousness at the sieve of neuroscience Is there a meeting point for neuroscience and psychoanalysis? A new paradigm emerges: to consider the biological basis of unconsciousness through the plasticity mechanism of the neural network. François Ansermet and Pierre Magistretti are interviewed.
    La Recherche


  • Sleepwalkers also tick awake differently Olaf Blanke vulgarize his last study on sleepwalkers on the newspaper. He explains that they concentrate better on a complex task while walking than others, meaning their brain works differently.
    20 Minuten

  • 3 million Swiss francs for strokes research A team of four Professors of EPFL’s Center for Neuroprosthetics , including Olaf Blanke, received 3 million Swiss francs for their project “Towards personalized precision medicine for stroke recovery: a multimodal, multidomain longitudinal approach”.
    EPFL News

  • A dream of flight in an autistic brain A seven-year-old autistic girl went alone to the Geneva airport and managed to board a plane without a ticket. Stephan Eliez explains the girl behavior as an expert on autism.
    Le Matin Dimanche (pdf)


  • Virtual reality reduces phantom pain in paraplegics A publication by Olaf Blanke showy that virtual reality reduces phantom body pain in paraplegics and creates the illusion that they can feel their paralyzed legs being touched again. The results could one day translate into therapies to reduce chronic pain in paraplegics.
    EPFL News
    Top Santé
    Clinical Innovation
    Radio Canada

  • The two-faced brain of teenagers Despite its immaturity, the adolescent brain shows hyper-effective features. The profound body transformation that takes place during this period explains many aspects of this sensitive phase of transition to adulthood, explains Micah Murray.
    Le Temps

  • Mental health “Röstigraben” Swiss Westerners are more depressive than German-speaking Swiss. Martin Preisig comment a survey made by the confederation on the newspaper.
    Le Matin Dimanche

  • Sleepwalkers are better at automatic walking Sleepwalkers who are awake may have a multitasking advantage over non-sleepwalkers, according to recent research by Olaf Blanke that uses virtual reality.
    EPFL News
    Ars Technica

  • Lebanese Dys- day Children with learning disabilities, although having normal intelligence, do not generally succeed in schooling. As a result, they face a risk of academic failure. Pierre Magistretti speaks about these disorders in the local press during the Lebanese learning dis– abilities day.
    L’Orient le jour

  • Shock or flight? Press article with Andreas Lüthi and its work investigating how brain circuits control behavior in dangerous situations.
    Horizon Magazin

  • There is no users guide for life Canton of Vaud newspaper interviewed François Ansermet for his retirement. The child psychiatrist looks back to a rich career, which led him from psychoanalysis to neuroscience.

  • Jacques Dubochet, 28th Nobel, mention ex-student Probably the most beautiful anecdote on the 28th Nobel Prize winner Swiss citizen Jacques Dubochet comes from on of his former student: the Synapsy member Johannes Gräff.


  • A brain system that builds confidence in what we see, hear and touch. A series of experiments by Olaf Blanke provide conclusive evidence that the brain uses a single mechanism to estimate confidence in different senses such as audition, touch, or vision.
    EPFL News

  • Special edition: in search of taste Alan Carleton was invited as a taste expert. He answered questions such as : Do you know the true taste of a tomato, cauliflower or watermelon? And besides, is there a real taste for things?
    RTS radio, La Première – CQFD


  • Back to school in serenity The time of starting the school year has come. How to accompany your child? The advice of Stephan Eliez.
    Planète Santé

  • TeDx with Prof. Hess-Bellwald Kathryn Hess-Bellwald  highlights her research which concerns both pure mathematics and innovative applications of mathematics in material science, computer science, cancer biology, and neuroscience.
    TEDx Lugano

  • When screens damage our children Screen exposure is altering the development of the young one. Teachers and physician of Geneva are ringing the alarm bell. Stephen Eliez gives his point of view.
    Tribune de Genève

  • Caution in taking psychotropic drugs Too many patients are lacking the necessary information on psychotropic drugs, according to Pro Mente Sana and Jean-Michel Aubry. They published a new information leaflet.
    Tribune de Genève


  • Body ownership is not impaired in schizophrenia Michael Herzog and Olaf Blanke have determined that the sense of body ownership is not affected in schizophrenia patients.
    EPFL News
    Science Daily

  • Emerging Psychosis, meeting Philippe Conus Philippe Conus talks about the emerging psychosis in L’Information Psychiatrique magazine.
    Full article (FR pdf)

  • Low diazepam can increase social competitiveness Carmen Sandi and her colleagues have discovered how low-dose anxiolytics increase the social competitiveness of high-anxious individuals by boosting the energy output of mitochondria in an area of the mammalian brain that controls motivation and rewards.
    EPFL News
    Tribune de Genève
    Science Daily
    Tiroler Tageszeitung

  • How social rank can trigger vulnerability to stress Carmen Sandi and her team have identified rank in social hierarchies as a major determining factor for vulnerability to chronic stress. They also show that energy metabolism in the brain is a predictive biomarker for social status as well as stress vulnerability and resilience.
    EPFL News

  • Dependency and addiction are two different things Christian Lüscher talks about addiction, plus a few highlights on his research career.
    Le Matin
    Planète Santé



  • How personalized health will shape tomorrow’s human being Stylianos Antonarakis gives his point of view about future genetically based analysis.
    Le Temps
    Planète Santé

  • A major step in brain imaging A 3D imaging technique capable of showing the interactions between brain cells? This novelty is a promising tool for understanding the mechanisms that occur in this complex organ. Andrea Volterra, Professeur at UNIL-DNF explains how.
    RTS radio, La Première – CQFD



  • What makes us social … or not For the 19th edition of the Brain Awareness Week, various cities in Switzerland offer lectures, workshops, exhibitions or debates around the latest research on the brain. The opportunity for Sarah Dirren to take an interest in a double issue discussed in Lausanne on Thursday, March 16: what makes social humans … or not? Elements of response with Claudia Bagni, the newly appointed director of the Department of Fundamental Neurosciences of the University of Lausanne (UNIL).
    RTS radio, La Première – CQFD
    Le Temps
    Uniscope (pdf)


  • Decipher the emergence of neural diversity in the cerebral cortex Alexandre Dayer and collaborators have analyzed the diversity of cortical neurons during the developmental period surrounding birth. They have discovered the emergence of three main subgroups of interneurons by decoding the expression of cell-type specific genes as well as their exact, and often unexpected, location in the cortex. To read in Nature Communication.
    News UNIGE
    Le Temps (FR pdf)
    Tribune de Genève
    20 minutes

  • The neuronal circuit of active and passive fear responses Using in vivo optogenetics and extracellular recordings of identified cell types in a behavioral model in which mice switch between conditioned freezing and flight, Andreas Lüthi and collaborators have shown that active and passive fear responses are mediated by distinct and mutually inhibitory central amygdala neurons. The study was published in Nature.

  • A center for brain rehabilitation CHUV and the Institution of Lavigny join forces to better treat victims of strokes and cranio-cerebral trauma. “We aim to create the best conditions for researchers and clinicians to work together with an interdisciplinary spirit,” said Stephanie Clarke about the center.
    24 heures

  • Cannabis: harmfulness and benefit Legal consumption of cannabis remains controversial. It could be useful to treat diseases like multiple sclerosis or epilepsy but, on the other hand, it is responsible for many health problems like addiction. Christian Lüscher warn the audience of canal 9 TV about addiction problems.
    Canal 9 tv – video