Journal dedicated to African research launched – Scientific African

A new peer reviewed, open access inter- and multidisciplinary scientific journal to showcase African research known as Scientific African has been launched.   The journal launched at the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) in Rwanda this week (26-28 March) aims to offer African researchers and scientists the opportunity to publish and showcase their research works.   The journal, according to Benjamin Gyampoh, its Editor-in-Chief, is dedicated to expanding access to African researchers and scientists who are largely facing the problem of not having platforms to publish and showcase their research works. “This journal will front research on Africa by Africans that finds local solutions to local problems.” Ron Mobed, Elsevier The first issue of the multidisciplinary scientific journal is expected to be out in the last quarter of this year. Gyampoh speaking during the launch said that it will help build and strengthen scientific capacity in Africa and increase […]

Patients regain sight after being first to receive retinal tissue engineered from stem cells

The first patients to receive a new treatment derived from stem cells for people with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) have regained reading vision. The stem cell technology was developed with MRC funding. The results of this ground-breaking clinical study, published in Nature Biotechnologyopens in new window,described the implantation of a specially engineered patch of retinal pigment epithelium cells derived from stem cells to treat people with sudden severe sight loss from wet AMD. It is the first description of a complete engineered tissue that has been successfully used in this way and it’s hoped that it will also help treat dry AMD in the future. The study is a major milestone for the London Project to Cure Blindness, a partnership between Professor Pete Coffey from University College London and Professor Lyndon da Cruz, a retinal surgeon at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS […]

Portable tech for processing blood in the works

A low-cost system to separate blood into its main components without a centrifuge is being developed, and could be put to use in areas with off-grid healthcare or following natural disasters. The system is portable and would need minimal training to operate, according to a proof-of-concept study published in the journal PLoS ONE. Once blood has been donated, it is usually separated into three parts: red blood cells, plasma and platelets. This way, one donation can be used to help separate patients, who may each need just one part of the blood. It is routine to do this using a centrifuge, an expensive system which requires electricity and is normally housed in a centralised health centre. This means the process is often far less efficient in poorer regions that may lack a centrifuge or depend on off-grid clinics. Around 1 billion people in the […]

African institutions to get a year’s free R&D publicity

A global news service is due to give African peer-reviewed journals one-year free access to disseminate news about the papers they publish. News about research conducted by African researchers has been under-represented and much is needed to promote African research globally, says a statement issued this month (11 January) by the UK-headquartered AlphaGalileo, an online service that distributes press releases based on scientific research. Peter Green, managing director of AlphaGalileo, tells SciDev.Net that despite his outfit having previously reduced the annual subscription rate by half to US$550 for African institutions, getting research content from Africa is a challenge. “Where universities did register they didn’t use us,” says Green. “Media relations is not considered important by African research bodies. This is in direct contrast to scientific institutions in North America, Asia and Europe, where it is seen as essential.” Green adds that discussions are underway […]

Stephen Hawking Dies at age 76

Tributes poured in on Wednesday to Stephen Hawking, the brightest star in the firmament of science, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions. He died at the age of 76 in the early hours of Wednesday morning. In a statement that confirmed his death at home in Cambridge, Hawking’s children said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years. His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world. “He once said: ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.” For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humour […]

Malaria Test in 2minutes Without Blood

Magnetism and light have been combined in a test that can diagnose malaria in under two minutes without the need to take blood. The new test, which has yet to undergo clinical trials, won a prize for entrepreneurs hosted by Britain’s Prince Andrew last week (28 February). “What we’re trying to do is to bridge the gap between local communities and effective diagnosis,” Shafik Sekitto, an engineer from Uganda and co-founder of the device, told SciDev.Net in an interview. Pitch@Palace Africa 2.0, an event hosted by The Duke of York in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize, was launched in 2014 to help connect entrepreneurs who use technology and engineering with potential supporters such as CEOs, mentors and business partners.   During the award event at St. James’s Palace in London, 15 innovators from across the continent each had three minutes to […]

Beneficial skin bacteria protect against skin cancer

Science continues to peel away layers of the skin microbiome to reveal its protective properties. In a study published in Science Advances on February 28, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers report a potential new role for some bacteria on the skin: protecting against cancer. “We have identified a strain of Staphylococcus epidermidis, common on healthy human skin, that exerts a selective ability to inhibit the growth of some cancers,” said Richard Gallo, MD, PhD, Distinguished Professor and chair of the Department of Dermatology at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “This unique strain of skin bacteria produces a chemical that kills several types of cancer cells but does not appear to be toxic to normal cells.” The team discovered the S. epidermidis strain produces the chemical compound 6-N-hydroxyaminopurine (6-HAP). Mice with S. epidermidis on their skin that did not make 6-HAP had many […]

Holding hands can sync brainwaves, ease pain, study shows

Reach for the hand of a loved one in pain and not only will your breathing and heart rate synchronize with theirs, your brain wave patterns will couple up too, according to a study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The study, by researchers with the University of Colorado Boulder and University of Haifa, also found that the more empathy a comforting partner feels for a partner in pain, the more their brainwaves fall into sync. And the more those brain waves sync, the more the pain goes away. “We have developed a lot of ways to communicate in the modern world and we have fewer physical interactions,” said lead author Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral pain researcher in the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab at CU Boulder. “This paper illustrates the power and importance […]