Your grandma was wrong: seawater doesn’t cure eye infections

The use of seawater as a home remedy for conjunctivitis—an eye infection that causes redness and itching—has been passed down in Ghana for generations. But now scientists and doctors in the country are warning people against the practice, calling it ineffective and potentially dangerous. Conjunctivitis is a common complaint in Ghana, especially during the country’s […]

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The health benefits of waakye, Ghana’s secret superfood

Ghanaians are crazy about waakye, a local dish prepared by cooking rice and beans with red sorghum leaves. The leaves add flavour and give waakye (pronounced waa-che) its distinctive reddish-brown colour. The leaves are also rich in antioxidants, which in turn can be good for human health. But the health benefits of eating waakye are […]

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New treatment offers hope for Kala-Azar victims who also have HIV

A new treatment for patients suffering from both HIV and the deadly parasite-borne disease Kala-azar has shown impressive cure rates, raising hopes for thousands of patients worldwide. Kala-azar, also known as visceral leishmaniasis, is caused by parasites that infect humans through sandfly bites. The parasites attack the spleen, liver and bone marrow causing fever, weight-loss […]

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Old cooking solutions could bring new benefits in Ethiopia

Cooking on open fires can waste fuel and produce smoke dangerous to human health—especially if the stove is located indoors. So, in the 1980s, Ethiopia rolled out two improved cooking stove designs: the Mirt made of cement and the Gonzie that could be made of local clays. Both offered similar benefits, requiring less fuel and […]

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The promise and pitfalls of using AI to diagnose mental illness

Smart algorithms could soon help doctors diagnose neurological diseases like autism and schizophrenia. But will such tests be accurate in Africa? Sarah Wild reports. No single human can monitor the brain’s 86 billion neurons in real time, let alone the electrical impulses they send to each other. Even a team of people working 24 hours […]

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Scientists fight drug-resistant fungal infections with light

A group of scientists hailing from India, Saudi Arabia, and South Africa are using light to fight drug-resistant infections. Their work, published this month in Scientific African, is part of a global dash to come up with new antimicrobial therapies. Antimicrobial resistance means that some of the relatively routine complaints that we successfully treat with […]

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Understanding how tsetse flies smell their prey could save lives

Scientists are examining how tsetse flies, which transmit deadly sleeping sickness in humans and nagana its animal counterpart in Africa, located their prey using their sense of smell, raising hope for better ways to control the deadly pest. Before the 18th century, sleeping sickness, or Human African trypanosomiasis was a manageable threat on the Africa […]

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Embedding traditional birth attendants in clinics and hospitals in Ghana could save mothers

Despite government efforts to boost access to maternal health services in Ghana, many women still choose to go to traditional birth attendants, rather than midwives, nurses, or doctors. The University for Development Studies’ Leander Allou tells Sarah Wild about his research into the birth practices of women in a remote district of Ghana and what […]

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Ancient herbal remedy rallies a global science collaboration

Nigella sativa goes by many names: black cumin, black caraway, Roman coriander. But one name in particular caught the interest of Aminu Imam, a neuroscientist at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, is claimed to have dubbed it “Habbatus sauda” and “a cure for all disease except death.” Purveyors of […]

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Baobab cookies: A tasty way to fight malnutrition in Africa?

The use of baobab pulp in pastry is an innovation.” The iconic African baobab could soon be used to fight malnutrition on the continent in the form of rice cookies. New research, published this month in Scientific African, has found that pulp from the baobab, also known as Adansonia digitata, when added to rice cookies […]

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