Frank Ruhli

Frank Ruhli
University of Zurich | UZH · Institute of Evolutionary Medicine

Prof. Dr. med, PhD, EMBA

About

453
Publications
146,603
Reads
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14,605
Citations
Citations since 2016
195 Research Items
13288 Citations
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Introduction
As a transdisciplinary bridge between the past, the present and the future, researchers at the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM) will study evolutionary aspects of, e.g. disease aetiology (e.g. lifestyle or infectious environmental factors), disease patterns (prevalence, socio-economic stratifications, etc.), microevolution and secular trends of human morphology as well as the molecular evolution of disease pathogens will be studied. www.iem.uzh.ch www.swissmummyproject.uzh.ch
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
University of Zurich, Medical Faculty
Position
  • Chair
September 2014 - present
University of Zurich
Position
  • Managing Director
Description
  • Researchers at the IEM analyse ancient biological material and associated data to better understand modern human health issues and diseases.
October 2010 - August 2014
University of Zurich
Position
  • Prof / PD

Publications

Publications (453)
Article
Full-text available
Evolutionary medicine (EM) is a growing field focusing on the evolutionary basis of human diseases and their changes through time. To date, the majority of EM studies have used pure theories of hominin macroevolution to explain the present-day state of human health. Here, we propose a different approach by addressing more empirical and health-orien...
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Calcified dental plaque (dental calculus) preserves for millennia and entraps biomolecules from all domains of life and viruses. We report the first, to our knowledge, high-resolution taxonomic and protein functional characterization of the ancient oral microbiome and demonstrate that the oral cavity has long served as a reservoir for bacteria impl...
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Summary Background Underweight and severe and morbid obesity are associated with highly elevated risks of adverse health outcomes. We estimated trends in mean body-mass index (BMI), which characterises its population distribution, and in the prevalences of a complete set of BMI categories for adults in all countries. Methods We analysed, with use...
Article
Ancient Egyptian remains have been of interest for anthropological research for decades. Despite many investigations, the ritual vessels for the internal organs removed during body preparation—liver, lungs, stomach, and intestines, of Egyptian mummies are rarely used for palaeopathological or medical investigations. These artifacts, commonly referr...
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Palaeoparasitology investigates parasitological infections in animals and humans of past distance by examining biological remains. Palaeofaeces (or coprolites) are biological remains that provide valuable information on the disease, diet, and population movements in ancient times. Today, advances in detecting ancient DNA have cast light on dark cor...
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Background Whole-body hydration status is associated with several health outcomes, such as dehydration, edema and hypertension, but little is known about the nonclinical determinants. Therefore, we studied the associations of sex, age, body composition, nutrition, and physical activity on several body hydration measures. Methods We assessed sociod...
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Museum specimens and histologically fixed material are valuable samples for the study of historical soft tissues and represent a possible pathogen-specific source for retrospective molecular investigations. However, current methods for molecular analysis are inherently destructive, posing a dilemma between performing a study with the available tech...
Preprint
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Background: Quantitative ultrasound (QUS) methods have been widely used to assess bone status in osteoporosis. For follow-up examinations, there are no recommendations regarding the use of QUS due to a lack of data. This study aimed to investigate the longitudinal use of QUS in 4 months of military training to assess bone remodelling in association...
Article
Computed tomography studies and histological analyses were performed on the mummified remains found in the Chehrābād salt mine in northwestern Iran. The ancient salt mummies are dated to the Achaemenid (550-330 BC) and Sassanid (3rd-7th century AD) time period and died in mining incidents. The aim of the study was to describe the radiological and h...
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From 1985 to 2016, the prevalence of underweight decreased, and that of obesity and severe obesity increased, in most regions, with significant variation in the magnitude of these changes across regions. We investigated how much change in mean body mass index (BMI) explains changes in the prevalence of underweight, obesity, and severe obesity in di...
Preprint
Full-text available
Museum and medically fixed material are valuable samples for the study of historical soft tissues and represent a pathogen-specific source for retrospective molecular investigations. However, current methods for the molecular analysis are inherently destructive, posing a dilemma between performing a study with the available technology thus damaging...
Article
Public health interventions implemented during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic are based on experience gained from past pandemics. The 1918 influenza pandemic is the most extensively researched historical influenza outbreak. All 9335 reports available in the State Archives on 121 152 cases of influenza-like illness from the canton...
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Background Immunological differences between males and females in response to viral vaccines are well known. This the first review to examine them for the Human Papilloma Virus. Methods We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of the immunogenicity of the Quadrivalent Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine qHPVV. We searched Medline, Embase, and...
Preprint
Sex differences in immunity have been described in humans and other mammal species. Females have a lower incidence of infections and non-reproductive malignancies and exhibit higher antibody levels after vaccination. Existing evolutionary explanations are based on differences in reproductive strategies and reaction to extrinsic differences in susce...
Article
Background : Grade 2 and 3 obesity, alongside with other relevant risk factors, are substantially and independently associated with adverse outcomes of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). However, for Switzerland, due to the lack of synthesis studies, it is currently unknown how many people are affected by obesity at all. This knowledge may help t...
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Smallpox, caused by the variola virus (VARV), was a highly virulent disease with high mortality rates causing a major threat for global human health until its successful eradication in 1980. Despite previously published historic and modern VARV genomes, its past dissemination and diversity remain debated. To understand the evolutionary history of V...
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Yersinia pestis , the causative agent of plague, has been prevalent among humans for at least 5000 years, being accountable for several devastating epidemics in history, including the Black Death. Analyses of the genetic diversity of ancient strains of Y. pestis have shed light on the mechanisms of evolution and the spread of plague in Europe. Howe...
Article
The present pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is generally referred to as “COVID-19”. It is commonly thought to have started in the Wuhan area, China, in late 2019 and then spread, e.g., to Northern Italy in early 2020. However, a growing number of reports point to an earlier start of the outbreak and its global spread. Given the current state of knowl...
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Comparable global data on health and nutrition of school-aged children and adolescents are scarce. We aimed to estimate age trajectories and time trends in mean height and mean body-mass index (BMI), which measures weight gain beyond what is expected from height gain, for school-aged children and adolescents. Methods: For this pooled analysis, we u...
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The current Covid-19 pandemic has brought back memories of past epidemics. Pharaonic Egypt has often been associated with epidemics and disasters through the ten plagues of the Bible. The study examines which epidemics and serious diseases can be effectively proven for Ancient Egypt in mummies and historical source texts. The biblical plagues canno...
Preprint
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Hosts with high immune sensitivity benefit from rapid recovery but suffer multiple costs thereof. We distinguish between immunopathological costs due to collateral damage and autoimmune costs due to false positives against self. Selection on sensitivity follows different trajectories depending on the cost nature and the overlap degree between host-...
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Many countries provide dietary guidelines for health practitioners and/or the general population. However, there is no general, international guideline serving as a template for national dietary guidelines, and there is little to no consensus regarding reference values for different nutrients. The present review compared 27 national dietary guideli...
Article
Purpose: Evolutionary medicine aims to study disease development from a long-term perspective, and through the analysis of mummified tissue, timescales of several thousand years are unlocked. Due to the status of mummies as ancient relics, noninvasive techniques are preferable, and, currently, CT imaging is the most widespread method. However, CT...
Article
Introduction: The omega-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) are important for brain development and cognitive performance. Because they are semi-essential fatty acids, they must be obtained from food. However, the dietary reference intakes of DHA and EPA have not yet been established....
Article
In Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), radio frequency (RF) coils of different forms and shapes are used to maximize signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). RF coils are designed for clinical applications and have dimensions comparable with the target body part to be imaged, and they perform best when loaded by human tissue majority of which have conductivity v...
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Gluten consumption has been controversially associated with obesity in previous studies. We sought to examine this association at the worldwide level. Country specific data were obtained from 168 countries. Scatter plots, bivariate, partial correlation and multiple linear regression models were used to explore and compare the coincidence between ob...
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IntroductionPhysical fitness benefits health. However, there is a research gap on how physical fitness, particularly aerobic endurance capacity and muscle power, is influenced by residential altitude, blood parameters, weight, and other cofactors in a population living at low to moderate altitudes (300–2100 masl).Materials and Methods We explored h...
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Introduction Digital tools like 3D laser-based photonic scanners, which can assess external anthropometric measurements for population based studies, and predict body composition, are gaining in importance. Here we focus on a) systematic deviation between manually determined and scanned standard measurements, b) differences regarding the strength o...
Article
We estimate weight and BMI values based on height, chest circumference, and mid upper arm circumference measures of Swiss conscripts in the city of Zurich for each year between 1904 and 1932. Height, chest circumference, and mid upper arm circumference were measured each year from 1904 to 1951. Body weight is available from 1933 to 1951. We used pr...
Article
Reliably identifying muscle mass from external anthropometric measurements can provide valuable information about a person’s health conditions and related outcomes. A potential tool for easily predicting muscle mass is three-dimensional (3D) body scans, but accurate validation data are missing. The aim of our study was to predict skeletal muscle ma...
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Introduction: Intramedullary nailing is the surgical method of choice for the treatment of proximal femur or femoral shaft fractures. Implant manufacturers aim to design implants fitting for the broadest possible population segment. As complete morphological data sets of long bones are not widely available, anatomical collections of historical dry...
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Susceptibility to diseases is common to humans and dinosaurs. Since much of the biological history of every living creature is shaped by its diseases, recognizing them in fossilized bone can furnish us with important information on dinosaurs’ physiology and anatomy, as well as on their daily activities and surrounding environment. In the present st...
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Introduction For archaeological projects, a systematic study of recovered human remains is essential to determine the individual characteristics of buried individuals. This publication presents a transdisciplinary workflow specially adapted for the study of heavily fragmented and commingled skeletonized or mummified ancient Egyptian human remains a...
Article
Understanding natural and artificial postmortem alterations in different tissues of the human body is essential for bioarchaeology, paleogenetics, physical anthropology, forensic medicine, and many related disciplines. With this study, we tried to gain a better understanding of tissue alterations associated with the artificial mummification techniq...
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Introduction: How the long-chain fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) in the diet permitted human brain evolution, and how much our brains need today to function optimally are still hot topics for debate. DHA and EPA are considered as semi-essential because only insufficient amounts can be produced from other nutr...
Article
Overweight and obesity are considered among the major health concerns worldwide. The body mass index is a frequently used measure for overweight and obesity and is associated with common non-communicable diseases such as diabetes type II, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. However, the body mass index does not account for the distribution...
Article
Artificial mummification has been used since antiquity and is best known from ancient Egypt. Despite ancient Egyptian mummies being studied for several decades, the mummification techniques of that time are not well understood. Modern mummification experiments involving animal and human tissues have contributed additional insights relevant to a bro...
Article
Common strategies for reducing body weight rely on limiting energy intake and restricting food choices. However, these strategies have often been proven ineffective in achieving long‐term and sustainable weight reduction. More recently, mindful eating as an alternative weight management strategy has gained increasing attention, yet systematic revie...
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We investigated the dielectric properties of typical embalming materials used in ancient Egypt in the THz frequency range. In addition, we evaluated the potential to identify these materials based on a principal component analysis of the spectroscopic data. Based on this, we estimated the composition of two unknown ancient bandages of mummified bod...
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Body-mass index (BMI) has increased steadily in most countries in parallel with a rise in the proportion of the population who live in cities1,2. This has led to a widely reported view that urbanization is one of the most important drivers of the global rise in obesity3–6. Here we use 2,009 population-based studies, with measurements of height and...
Article
Body-mass index (BMI) has increased steadily in most countries in parallel with a rise in the proportion of the population who live in cities1,2. This has led to a widely reported view that urbanization is one of the most important drivers of the global rise in obesity3,4,5,6. Here we use 2,009 population-based studies, with measurements of height...
Article
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Supermarket food sales data might serve as a simple indicator of population-level dietary habits that influence the prevalence of excess weight in local environments. To test this possibility, we investigated how variation in store-level food sales composition across Switzerland is associated with the mean Body Mass Index (BMI) of young men (Swiss...
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We used a robotic-based THz imaging system to investigate the sub-surface structure of an artificially mummified ancient Egyptian human left hand. The results obtained are compared to the results of a conventional CT and a micro-CT scan. Using such a robotic THz system promises new insights into the sub-surface structure of human remains. The depth...
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Objective: To evaluate differences in lesion identification in skeletal remains with respect to bone type and method of analysis. Materials: 212 mostly 19th century adult skeletons from St. Bride's Church in London. Methods: Using a standard protocol, an osteologist evaluated each set of remains for lesions. A radiologist used the same system...
Article
During the European Middle Ages, the opening of long-distance Asian trade routes introduced exotic goods, including ultramarine, a brilliant blue pigment produced from lapis lazuli stone mined only in Afghanistan. Rare and as expensive as gold, this pigment transformed the European color palette, but little is known about its early trade or use. He...
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Conference Proceedings of the 2016 "Mumien der Welt" Conference (Roemer-Pelizaeus Museum, Hildesheim, Germany)
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Ancient mummies are very valuable human remains especially for the study of the evolution of disease. Non-invasive imaging methods such as computed tomography and X-ray are the gold standard to study such precious remains. We report the case of an ancient Egyptian child mummy from the Musée d'art et d'histoire in Geneva, Switzerland with multifocal...
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Teeth have always been considered a factor of beauty and are, to this day, perceived as an indicator of age, health and even social status. During the 18th century oral beauty was particularly threatened by the spread of caries due to increasing consumption of sugar, heavy metal poisoning induced by the use of cosmetics, or by syphilis therapy with...
Article
The use of embalming techniques to stabilize biological tissues against degradation by impeding enzymatic and microbiotic activity and, in some cases, to restore antemortem appearance is known since antiquity and remains, to this day, of great importance for diagnostic analysis, scientific research, and student training. Nowadays in biology and med...
Article
Paleoradiology is the application of standard medical imaging techniques such as conventional X‐ray imaging, X‐ray computed tomography (CT), or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for bioarcheological investigations. This discipline arose in parallel with the development of radiology and medical imaging technology, although it requires a distinctive m...
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Recent paleogenomic studies have shown that migrations of Western steppe herders (WSH) beginning in the Eneolithic (ca. 3300–2700 BCE) profoundly transformed the genes and cultures of Europe and central Asia. Compared with Europe, however, the eastern extent of this WSH expansion is not well defined. Here we present genomic and proteomic data from...
Article
The beginning of civilization was a turning point in human evolution. With increasing separation from the natural environment, mankind stimulated new adaptive reactions in response to new environmental factors. In this paper, we describe direct signs of these reactions in the European population during the past 6,000 years. By comparing whole-genom...