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Concept: Switzerland


The European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB) competency assessment (COMPASS) for rheumatologists performing musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSUS) was developed and published 2 years ago. It consists of a 3 level competency system. The objective of this study was to evaluate how the EFSUMB COMPASS has been disseminated and implemented and to assess the potential obstacles encountered.

Concepts: Medicine, United States, Assessment, Switzerland, Implementation, The Europeans, Russia


While assisted suicide (AS) is strictly restricted in many countries, it is not clearly regulated by law in Switzerland. This imbalance leads to an influx of people-‘suicide tourists’-coming to Switzerland, mainly to the Canton of Zurich, for the sole purpose of committing suicide. Political debate regarding ‘suicide tourism’ is taking place in many countries. Swiss medicolegal experts are confronted with these cases almost daily, which prompted our scientific investigation of the phenomenon. The present study has three aims: (1) to determine selected details about AS in the study group (age, gender and country of residence of the suicide tourists, the organisation involved, the ingested substance leading to death and any diseases that were the main reason for AS); (2) to find out the countries from which suicide tourists come and to review existing laws in the top three in order to test the hypothesis that suicide tourism leads to the amendment of existing regulations in foreign countries; and (3) to compare our results with those of earlier studies in Zurich. We did a retrospective data analysis of the Zurich Institute of Legal Medicine database on AS of non-Swiss residents in the last 5 years (2008-2012), and internet research for current legislation and political debate in the three foreign countries most concerned. We analysed 611 cases from 31 countries all over the world. Non-terminal conditions such as neurological and rheumatic diseases are increasing among suicide tourists. The unique phenomenon of suicide tourism in Switzerland may indeed result in the amendment or supplementary guidelines to existing regulations in foreign countries.

Concepts: Law, Switzerland, Suicide, Tourism, Suicide methods, Cantons of Switzerland, Zürich, Canton of Zürich


Perceptions of dangerousness are an influential component of mental health stigma and can be driven by the display of psychiatric symptoms and the use of psychiatric service institutions. Yet, no previous study compared symptoms and service use associated perceptions of dangerousness. Therefore, we conducted a representative survey (N = 2,207) in the canton of Basel-Stadt, Switzerland. Participants were asked to answer the perceived dangerousness scale with respect to a vignette that either depicted psychiatric symptoms of a fictitious character or a psychiatric service institution the fictitious character had been admitted to. Between the vignettes, type of symptoms, type of psychiatric service, dangerousness, and gender were systematically varied. Perceived dangerousness was significantly lower as related to psychiatric service use than related to psychiatric symptoms. Overall, symptoms of alcohol dependency, behavior endangering others, and male gender of the fictitious character tend to increase perceived dangerousness. Furthermore, being hospitalized in a psychiatric unit at a general hospital or the rater being familiar with psychiatric services tends to decrease perceived dangerousness. Effective anti-stigma initiatives should integrate education about dangerousness as well as methods to increase familiarity with psychiatry. Additionally, an integration of modern psychiatry in somato-medical care institutions might decrease stigmatization.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental health, Sociology, Mental disorder, Switzerland, Psychiatry, Anti-psychiatry, Psychiatric hospital


Previous research suggests a link between the quality of teacher-student relationships and the students' behavioral outcomes; however, the observational nature of past studies makes it difficult to attribute a causal role to the quality of these relationships. In the current study, therefore, we used a propensity score analysis approach to evaluate whether students who were matched on their propensity to experience a given level of relationship quality but differed on their actual relationship quality diverged on their concurrent and subsequent problem and prosocial behavior. Student/self, teacher, and parent- (only waves 1-3) reported data from 8 waves of the Zurich Project on the Social Development of Children and Youths (z-proso), a longitudinal study of Swiss youth among a culturally diverse sample of 7- to 15-year-olds were utilized. The initial sample included 1483 (49.4 % female) students for whom information relevant for this study was available. The sample represented families from around 80 different countries, from across all the continents; with approximately 42 % of the female primary caregivers having been born in Switzerland. Following successful matching, we found that students who reported better relationships with their teachers and whose teachers reported better relationships with them evidenced fewer problem behaviors concurrently and up to 4 years later. There was also evidence for an analogous effect in predicting prosocial behavior. The implications of these findings are discussed in relation to prevention and intervention practices.

Concepts: Psychology, Longitudinal study, Causality, Sociology, Switzerland, Behavior, Human behavior, Propensity score


Genetic and fossil data often lack the spatial and temporal precision for tracing the recent biogeographic history of species. Data with finer resolution are needed for studying distributional changes during modern human history. Here, I show that printed wormholes in rare books and artwork are trace fossils of wood-boring species with unusually accurate locations and dates. Analyses of wormholes printed in western Europe since the fifteenth century document the detailed biogeographic history of two putative species of invasive wood-boring beetles. Their distributions now overlap broadly, as an outcome of twentieth century globalization. However, the wormhole record revealed, unexpectedly, that their original ranges were contiguous and formed a stable line across central Europe, apparently a result of competition. Extension of the wormhole record, globally, will probably reveal other species and evolutionary insights. These data also provide evidence for historians in determining the place of origin or movement of a woodblock, book, document or art print.

Concepts: Evolution, Europe, Switzerland, Printing, Western world, Fossil, Western culture, Central Europe


Despite insufficient data, multimorbidity is in Switzerland an emerging issue on the agenda of public health and medical institutions. In this article the most current issues for and obstacles towards valid prevalence figures are discussed. Available Swiss data sources which could be used for estimating prevalence of multimorbidity are illustrated. The biggest current challenge for the international research community is to create a uniform definition of multimorbidity concerning the types and a minimal number of included chronic conditions. Furthermore, to obtain valid and internationally comparable prevalence estimates in the future, methodological approaches regarding data assessment and the development of a measurement for the burden of multimorbidity should be broadly discussed in order to come to a consensus.

Concepts: Scientific method, Medicine, Health, Epidemiology, Future, Switzerland, The Agenda


To validate the diagnostic accuracy of a non-invasive prenatal test for detecting trisomies 13, 18 and 21 for a population in Germany and Switzerland.

Concepts: European Union, Cytogenetics, Europe, Germany, Switzerland, French language, German language, Alps


The aim was to translate the Patient-Provider Orientation Scale (PPOS) into German and to assess the degree of medical students' patient-centeredness in 2 student samples in Freiburg (GER) and in Basel (CH). The German translation of PPOS was administered to 259 medical students in Freiburg and to 137 medical students in Basel. Construct validity was tested using factor analysis. Based on factor analysis and tests of internal consistency, a shortened version with 6 items for each of the 2 subscales “sharing” and “caring” was generated (PPOS-D12). PPOS D12 is a reliable instrument to assess patient-centeredness among medical students in German-speaking countries.

Concepts: Psychometrics, Language, Reliability, Italian language, Germany, Switzerland, German language, Alsace


The balance between respecting choice, autonomy, and individual responsibility and ensuring that no one in need of health care suffers for lack of financial resources has worked well for Switzerland. But this health care system is not without its challenges.

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Healthcare, Autonomy, Switzerland


Rösti, a fried potato product, is a large contributor to acrylamide exposure locally in Switzerland. A survey of 55 dishes prepared by 51 restaurants in the city of Zurich showed that the average rösti contained 702 µg/kg acrylamide. By analysing the content of reducing sugars in the potatoes used for frying, it is shown that with simple measures, the exposure to acrylamide could easily be reduced by factor two or more, while even improving the culinary experience. Though rösti is a typical dish for the German speaking areas in Switzerland, the result may be of general interest for fried potato products which are popular in large areas of central Europe.

Concepts: Vitamin C, Germany, Switzerland, Potato, German language, Acrylamide, Central Europe, French fries