Liberian schools reopen after six months of Ebola lockdown; scientists find a new weapon against Alzheimer’s; Africa is close to wiping out Polio; and Tokyo residents prove themselves to be good citizens.
Liberian schools reopen after six months of Ebola lockdown
T his week many schools across Liberia reopened after a six-month closure prompted by the Ebola outbreak. The news comes a day after the Sirleaf government vowed to eradicate the disease, which has killed more than 3,800 people in Liberia alone.
Now Liberia’s teachers are prepared to implement and maintain safety measures and stringent hygiene standards. Soap and other hygiene materials have been distributed nationwide. The gradual return to normality is a sign of the progress achieved in containing the infection and treating its victims.
The decision to reopen the schools was made as the rate of infection began to level-off after the epidemic reached its peak in September and October. Schools have been reopened in Guinea and Sierra Leone is set to reopen its schools next month.
A new discovery gives medical science a new weapon in the war against Alzheimers
Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered a molecule that delays the onset of Alzheimers. The molecule, which occurs naturally, works by slowing the accumulation of sticky clumps of protein in the brain, which typically appear years before symptoms such as memory loss become apparent in patients. Although the newly discovered molecule would be difficult to convert into a drug, the findings prove that the cycle that leads to Alzheimer’s devastating impact on memory and personality can be interrupted.
Samuel Cohen, who led the study at the University of Cambridge, told the Guardian: “The big advantage is that we haven’t just come up with a drug and not really understood what it is doing. We’ve come up with a general strategy that could work… A good tactic now is to search for other molecules that have this same highly targeted effect and to see if these can be used as the starting point for developing a future therapy.”
Africa is close to wiping out Polio
It has been six months since the last case of wild polio was reported in Africa. This fact raises hopes that the disease, which has blighted the continent for so long, could be wiped out at last. Polio, a potentially deadly, highly contagious viral disease that can cause lifelong paralysis, has been the target of education and child vaccination campaigns across Africa. Notable successes were achieved in Nigeria.
The number of cases in Nigeria fell by 92% from 2013 to 2014 and, as of last month, the country has had no new cases of polio for six months. Dr. Oyewale Tomori, president of the Nigerian Academy of Science, attributes this to the new grass-roots level of engagement with communities through traditional leaders and local councillors. As Dr. Tomori stresses, this is an impressive step forward. It will take three years with no cases for Nigeria to be declared free of polio.
Tokyo residents are good citizens
Police reported on February 16 that Tokyo citizens handed in almost $28 million in lost cash last year. Nearly 74% of that money was returned to the original owner. In one instance reported by Sports Nippon, one person returned a sports bag containing more than $150,000 in notes. Japanese law stipulates that after three months without a claim of ownership the person who returned something is allowed to keep it. However, $3.28 million were given to the city after people relinquished that right.