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Institute of Evolutionary Medicine (IEM) Anthropometrics & Historical Epidemiology ☛ PD Kaspar Staub


News list

  • New paper on neonatal health in Switzerland, and how it changes during periods of crises

    We are happy to share a paper that was released last week in BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth along with some of our collaborators. We explored time trends in birth weight and in the rates of preterm birth and stillbirth. While the rate of preterm birth slightly decreased since 2007, the other parameters were virtually unchanged. When the mother was exposed to the COVID-19 pandemic during pregnancy, and especially during the last trimester, birth weight was increased by a dozen of grams. Our results align with existing literature reporting a birth weight increase during COVID-19 lockdowns. This might be due to the mother adopting a more sedentary lifestyle, working from home, exercising less and potentially changing her diet.

    In the Figure, we see that birth weight mostly kept constant in all subgroups investigated. Still, we note consistent differences between some groups: for instance, neonates born in German-speaking Switzerland have a higher birth weight than those from the French and Italian-speaking regions.

  • Media coverage of our body height research

    Our year-long work on body height has been incorporated into a larger interactive data story on tamedia, followed by a larger interview on body height and its consequences. 

  • New preprint on spatial pattern of all cause excess mortality in Swiss districts during the pandemic years 1890, 1918 and 2020

    In collaboration with colleagues from the University of Geneva we have published a new preprint in medXriv on "Spatial pattern of all cause excess mortality in Swiss districts during the pandemic years 1890, 1918 and 2020". Our study reveals heterogeneous spatial patterns of excess mortality in each pandemic year. Different socio-demographic ecological determinants, in each pandemic, might have favored excess mortality.

  • Barcelona Workshop on Past and Present Epidemics

    Group members Katarina Matthes and Mathilde Le Vu successfully presented their research on the longer-term effects of in-utero exposure to the 1918-1920 "Spanish flu" and on neonatal health after maternal influenza and syphilis infection in Lausanne 1910-1922 at the very stimulating and productive "Epidemics and their determinants: Past and present" workshop in Barcelona on 9. February 2024. 

  • SNSF Spark Project on Long-term Mortality Effects of In-Utero Exposure to the 1918/19 Pandemic officially started

    The deputy head of the research group, Dr Katarina Matthes, is officially starting her SNSF Spark project "Long-term Mortality Effects of In-Utero Exposure - The 1918/19 Pandemic as a Natural Experiment with Relevance for the Future?" on 1 February. More information on the project can be found on the SNSF website and in this publication in Swiss Medical Weekly

  • New preprint: The remarkable ups and downs of birth rate in Switzerland 2020 to 2023 in a historical context

    In a new preprint published in medrxiv we analyzed monthly birth rates in Switzerland at popula-tion level up to 2023 & placed them in historical context. The study has attracted a considerable amount of media attention, with reports in the Tagesschau news broadcast and the NZZ am Sonntag, among others.

  • New preprint on adult height loss

    In a new preprint on medrxiv we show that height loss in adulthood is associated with health outcomes in later life in men and women enrolled in the 1946 Birth Cohort (NSHD).

  • New publication: "From pandemic to endemic: Spatial-temporal patterns of influenza-like ill-ness incidence in a Swiss canton, 1918-1924"

    In a new publication in Economics and Human Biology we show that the pandemic transitioned to endemic spread in several waves (including another strong wave in February 1920) with lower inci-dence and rather local spread until 1924 at least. At the municipality and regional levels, there were different patterns of spread both between pandemic and seasonal waves.

  • Talk at OsloMet, Norway

    During his invited academic visit at the PANSOC at OsloMet in May 2022, Kaspar Staub gave a Lunsjpåfyll talk on "Excess mortality during past and present pandemics".

  • Archive of media reports

    Please find a list of media coverages regarding our lab below.

  • Infectious Historians Blog

    Kaspar Staub was a guest on episode 83 of the well-known podcast series "Infectious Historians".

  • SSPH+ Summer School Lugano plenary Talk

    Recorded plenary talk by Kaspar Staub during the SSPH+ Summer School Lugano (23.8.2021): "Learning from the past or forgetting the past? Past and present pan-demics and how to prepare for future challenges"