About this Research Topic
This Research Topic focuses on the unique potential of the neuroscience of African fauna and flora, as well as the infectious and non-transmissible neurological disorders found predominantly or exclusively in Africa. The main purpose of this research topic is to bring together work done on African neuroscience both within Africa and outside, and thereby, bring attention of the contribution of African neuroscience to the global neuroscience community. This collection of articles will be useful in promoting wider collaboration and networking among neuroscientists involved in neuroscience research in Africa; it will also be of valuable assistance to those who seek to find African research partnership or explore the potential of discoveries in African neuroscience in their research endeavors.
This Research Topic surrounds the information presented at the upcoming Society of Neuroscientist of Africa (SONA) 2017 conference. The conference will be held in Entebbe, Uganda, June 11 – 14. The SONA 2017 Theme is: "Neuroscience: a tool for the advancement of the African scientific community": http://sona2017.org
Given its purpose, this Research Topic applies to different Frontiers journals (therefore deviating from a narrow focus on a particular issue in neuroscience), with different main sub-themes:
¬ Neuroanatomy and Behavioral Neuroscience. Africa has a most unique fauna and unique environments. Neuroanatomical and behavioral studies of this fauna are currently limited. The Research Topic aims at encouraging submissions in this field.
¬ Neuropharmacology/Ethnopharmacology. As with other continents, Africa has a rich deep history of traditional/herbal medicine and drugs, but unlike other continents, study of the potential contribution of this knowledge by the amazing floral biodiversity is sparse. Yet these studies could provide keys for therapeutic solutions to infectious and parasitic diseases as well as neurological conditions and neuroscience research tools. Specifically, for ethnopharmacology research the following guidelines should be adhered to:
(1) All species need to be validated taxonomically (e.g. http://mpns.kew.org/mpns-portal/ orwww.theplantlist.org) and the full name including authorities and family needs to be included (see Rivera,D., et al., What is in a name? The need for accurate scientific nomenclature for plants. Journal of Ethnopharmacology (2013), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2013.12.022i, Chan et al. JEP 140: 469 - 475, 2012, and Uzuner et al 140:458-474, 2012),
(2) The process of extraction must be described in detail and analytical details must be provided, e.g. the drug: extract ratio or other criteria used to define an extract, and
(3) And the dose range must be meaningful and relevant, i.e., it should within the range that is used in traditional/herbal medicinal practice.
¬ Aging Neuroscience. From the point of view of the human population, as in the rest of the world, population in Africa is now aging, though this may not be widely known, with unique genetic substrates and social (rural and urban) environments, suited for the study of normal aging. From the point of view of animal models of the aging brain, once again the African fauna can offer unique, stimulating, information.
¬ Neurology and Neurodegeneration. As the Zika virus (isolated in Uganda) has shown infectious disease agents, including those involving the nervous system, rapidly spread worldwide. The study of the neuropathology and pathogenesis of infectious diseases and parasitic diseases of the nervous system unique to Africa (for example due to the vector habitat, such as sleeping sickness) or prevalent in Africa (such as cerebral malaria), as well as non-transmissible neurological disorders, and especially neurodegenerative diseases (like Konzo, dementia in Africa) could offer novel information and a window into novel pathological mechanisms of nervous system attack and impairment.
Keywords: Africa, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, neurodegeneration, ethnopharmacology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.