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 […]

Let Off Steam

Are you between 11 – 14years from the BME community? GhScientific in partnership with the next chosen generation and support from the British science association brings you ‘let off steam’ An evening of music, art and science over pizza. Spaces for 30 people only and will be allocated on a first come first served basis. Contact us today to reserve your spot. Please change my email in the contacts to hephziangela@ghscientific.com

Sunken Cost Fallacy: Study finds both lab animals and humans stick with their bad decisions

The behavior of people who remain committed to a choice, even when it is clear that an alternate choice would be a better option, has been a perplexing phenomenon to psychologists and economists.  For example, people will continue to wait in the slow line at a grocery store, stick out an unhealthy relationship, or refuse to abandon an expensive, wasteful project – all because such individuals have already invested time, effort, or money. This well-known cognitive phenomenon termed the “sunk cost fallacy” has long been considered a problem unique to humans. New research has discovered that humans are not the only species that share these economically irrational flaws. New research from the University of Minnesota published in the journal Science discovered that mice, rats, and humans all commit the sunk cost fallacy. “The key to this research was that all […]

Rare Meteorite Recovered In Botswana

A meteorite has been recovered from a remote area of Botswana. The event is one of a kind as the meteor was identified before entering the atmosphere, and its fall and retrieval documented. It’s only the second time this has happened. The Conversation Africa’s Moina Spooner spoke to Fulvio Franchi and Alexander Proyer about their mission to retrieve the meteorite and why it matters. Why is the find in Botswana such a big deal? Alexander Proyer: Meteorites are fragments of asteroids or comets fallen on the surface of earth. Finding a fresh one is rare but what makes this case really sensational, is not the fall itself but the fact that we knew it was coming. Usually, people are taken by surprise, seeing a flash of light or fireball when the asteroid enters the atmosphere. But this one was observed in space, eight […]

Increased risk of birth defects in babies after first-trimester exposure to lithium

Researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai found an elevated risk of major congenital malformations in fetuses after first-trimester exposure to lithium, in the largest study ever to examine the risk of birth defects in lithium-exposed babies. Nearly one and one-half times as many babies exposed to lithium during the first trimester experienced major malformations compared to the unexposed group (7.4 percent compared with 4.3 percent). In addition, risk for neonatal hospital readmission was nearly doubled in lithium-exposed babies compared to the unexposed group (27.5 percent versus 14.3 percent). However, lithium exposure was not associated with pregnancy complications or other delivery outcomes, such as pre-eclampsia, preterm birth, gestational diabetes, or low birth weight. In addition, the researchers found that the risk of birth defects in lithium-exposed infants was lower than previously thought, because previous studies did not […]

New type of photosynthesis discovered

The discovery changes our understanding of the basic mechanism of photosynthesis and should rewrite the textbooks. It will also tailor the way we hunt for alien life and provide insights into how we could engineer more efficient crops that take advantage of longer wavelengths of light. The discovery, published today in Science, was led by Imperial College London, supported by the BBSRC, and involved groups from the ANU in Canberra, the CNRS in Paris and Saclay and the CNR in Milan. The vast majority of life on Earth uses visible red light in the process of photosynthesis, but the new type uses near-infrared light instead. It was detected in a wide range of cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) when they grow in near-infrared light, found in shaded conditions like bacterial mats in Yellowstone and in beach rock in Australia. As scientists have now […]