Africa’s first online database on education research

A database on education research conducted by Africa-based researchers has been launched to raise the visibility and impact of such research. The database, which has about 2,000 education research including theses and working papers on 49 African countries, resulted from the collaboration between the Research for Equitable Access and Learning (REAL) Centre at the UK-based University of Cambridge and the Education Sub-Saharan Africa , a charity with a mission to transform educational outcomes on the continent. The database is searchable by country, research methods and keywords such as access to education, early childhood education, higher education, school feeding and literacy. “There are some existing inventories and databases for specific contexts but no central location to access [education] publications by African-based researchers, which has contributed to a lack of visibility and use of this research,” says Rafael Mitchell, a researcher at the REAL Centre. “We […]

Modified Form of Botox Could Replace Opioids as Treatment for Chronic Pain

A modified form of botulinum toxin gives long-lasting pain relief in mice without adverse effects and, in time, could replace opioid drugs as a safe and effective way of treating chronic pain, according to research by UCL, the University of Sheffield and the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. For the study, published today in Science Translational Medicine and funded by the Medical Research Council, scientists deconstructed the botulinum molecule and reassembled it with an opioid called dermorphin to make Derm-BOT – a compound which successfully targets and silences pain signals from neurons in the spinal cords of mice. Key neurons in the spinal cord are targets for pain management as they directly ‘sense’ pain and send this information to the brain. “Injected into the spine, Derm-BOT relieves chronic pain – such as that caused by nerve damage – and avoids the adverse […]

Mum’s Microbiota Determines Autism Risk in Mouse Model

• The mother’s microbiome, the collection of microscopic organisms that live inside us, determines the risk of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders in her offspring, new research from the UVA School of Medicine shows. • The microbiome can be manipulated by changing what we eat, by consuming beneficial bacteria known as probiotics or even by transplanting fecal material from one person to another. This suggests simple ways we might prevent the development of autism. • The UVA researchers prevented the development of autism-like disorders in mice by blocking an inflammatory molecule produced by the immune system – a molecule already implicated in multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. • The discovery could also offer a way to detect autism early in pregnancy. The risk of developing autism-spectrum disorders is determined by the mother’s microbiome – the collection of microorganisms that naturally […]