NUI Galway Galway Lights up in Orange on World Suicide Prevention Day

NUI Galway Galway Lights up in Orange on World Suicide Prevention Day-image

Friday, 11 September 2015

Report Suggests Galway had the highest number of suicides in Connacht in 2014, where some 64 suicides were recorded of which 54 were male NUI Galway’s iconic Quadrangle lit up in orange as part of World Suicide Prevention Day on Thursday, 10 September, and as part of the national campaign ‘Cycle Against Suicide’ in collaboration with the UNESCO International Year of Light 2015 and Solus. Iconic landmarks and buildings throughout the island of Ireland lit up orange to spread the message, "It's OK not to feel OK; and it's absolutely OK to ask for help”. In Galway the University’s Quadrangle, Fisheries Tower and Galway City Council were lit up in orange last Thursday night, fitted with colour-changing LED lights and special heat resistant colour filters. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) Vital Statistics yearly summary for 2014 suggests that there were 26 suicides recorded in Galway last year. That includes 18 in the county and eight in the city. All 18 of the suicides in the county in 2014 were men and five of the eight suicides in the city were men. Almost 90% of the suicides recorded in Galway last year were male and three of the Galway suicides were women. Galway had the highest number of suicides in Connacht, where some 64 suicides were recorded of which 54 were male. Professor Martin J. Leahy, UNESCO Year of Light and School of Physics, NUI Galway commented, “It is estimated that there is one suicide every fortnight in Galway alone. This winter we had a young man who had jumped from the centre of Quincentennial Bridge in my lab recovering. He was fit enough to swim to shore in the worst of conditions, yet he felt he had nothing to live for. It is very sad. Suicide is a particularly difficult problem amongst students and we need to show our willingness to support and understand their difficulties. We felt compelled to support this initiative with our message of light and hope.” Thousands of people across the 32 counties turned on a Solus orange lightbulb in their homes at 9pm on Thursday in unity, to share this positive and universal message. In support of lighting up buildings in orange, people were encouraged to ‘Go Orange’ in any way they could and shared selfies and pictures on social media using the hashtags #LetsGoOrange and #BreakTheCycle @CASuicide to spread the message. For further information contact Gwen O’Sullivan, Press & Information Executive, NUI Galway on 091 495695 or -Ends-

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Free, Fun and Student-Organised Tech Carnival Event Brings Top Tech Firms to NUI Galway

Free, Fun and Student-Organised Tech Carnival Event Brings Top Tech Firms to NUI Galway-image

Monday, 14 September 2015

Computer Science students at NUI Galway will hold the third annual ‘Synapse //a Tech Carnival’ bringing major technological companies and employers to Galway City. The one-day free event will take place on Wednesday, 23 September in the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway. ‘Synapse //a Tech Carnival’ is organised for students and people interested in technology to meet with key Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) stakeholders in a fun and informative way of exchanging ideas. All types of ICT companies will be on show at the event, including SAP, Avaya, Google and Amazon. Local community groups are also welcome, with groups such as 091 Labs and NUI Galway’s Computer Society to be in attendance. The event allows students and the public to meet with ICT organisations through interactive games, discussions and tutorials. With an estimated 3,000 people expected to attend, the event is about having fun with new and emerging technologies, as well as the opportunity to discover new areas within the sector. “We have some amazing employers such as Microsoft, Google and Amazon participating in the event as they see the energy that has built up around the idea. Galway companies such as HP, Avaya, Cisco and SAP are offering great support as they see this as an opportunity to showcase their Galway operations through stands and speakers,” says David O’Dea, event organiser and second year NUI Galway student. Bank of Ireland is also offering their support to this event and to new start-ups in Galway with a new start-up Workbench in its Mainguard Street branch, Galway. Workbench offers a free co-working space for up to 12 start-up businesses with free Wi-Fi and meeting rooms.  Speakers and panel discussions will offer key insights into the current trends that are being experienced for tech graduates in Ireland. Keynote speakers this year will include: David French and Magnus Deininger, Google and Stephen Howell, Microsoft. David Renton, event founder and NUI Galway Computer Science student, said: “Students of Computer Science and Information Technology have seen the success of tech events internationally and we want to showcase the West of Ireland as just as exciting for tech people to come together in a dynamic and fun environment. NUI Galway has such a unique balance of energy, youth and talent which lends itself to hosting an event such as this, while Galway itself is one of the best cities in Ireland for ICT companies to attract new talent, as it is one of the most desirable places to live and work for all ages. This will be an unmissable opportunity for those at any stage of their career, from a potential computing student to an experienced pro wanting to network.” The networking arena demos and main stage presentations will provide attendees with all the latest information on all of the companies involved while the Workshop Heaven area will provide a more in-depth and interactive view of the technologies involved. Exhibitors and presenters include: Microsoft, Accenture, Riot Games, Cloud Consulting, Silicon Republic, ThoughtBox, EY, Avaya, First Derivatives, KBC Bank, Havok, Tribal City Interactive, 091Labs, Hewlett-Packard, RealSim, ITAG, Pocket Anatomy, Element Wave, amongst others. NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne, said: “This is a wonderful student-led event. I commend the students involved in Synapse//a Tech Carnival for their initiative in linking students and industry in such a dynamic and innovative way. I look forward to participating in the event and to seeing at first-hand the synergy developing between NUI Galway technology students and industry leaders.” For more information on ‘Synapse//a Tech Carnival’ visit -Ends-

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NUI Galway Reports First Complete Structural Study of a PEGylated Protein

NUI Galway Reports First Complete Structural Study of a PEGylated Protein-image

Monday, 14 September 2015

Significant data obtained at NUI Galway reports first crystal structure of a protein modified with a single PEG chain   Research findings obtained by the School of Chemistry at NUI Galway have been published in the prestigious journal Nature Chemistry. The Crowley laboratory has reported the first complete structural study of a PEGylated protein. Protein PEGylation is a technique routinely used to improve the pharmacological properties of injectable therapeutic proteins. PEG stands for polyethylene glycol, a synthetic polymer that is attached to proteins. The PEG chain artificially increases the size of the protein and improves its retention in the bloodstream. By remaining longer in the blood stream the protein therapeutic is more effective than normal. Since PEGylation was developed in the 1970s, PEGylated proteins have significantly improved the treatment of several chronic diseases, including hepatitis C, leukemia, arthritis, and Crohn’s disease. PEGylated interferon is one of the most powerful therapeutics used to treat chronic hepatitis. Despite their importance the structure of PEGylated proteins has remained elusive. Now the first crystal structure of a protein modified with a single PEG chain has been determined through research at NUI Galway. This important research was developed at NUI Galway by Italian PhD student Giada Cattani working with Dr. Peter Crowley, the lead author of the paper. The work also involved collaboration with Dr. Lutz Vogeley from the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin and the crucial X-ray data was collected at the Diamond synchrotron in Oxford, UK. Commenting on the research findings Dr. Peter Crowley from the School of Chemistry, NUI Galway commented, “The crystal structure reveals an extraordinary double helical arrangement of the protein! It is significant that this data was obtained at NUI Galway, the only Irish University to offer a degree programme in Biopharmaceutical Chemistry. This attractive programme provides training in an area that is essential for the development of new medicines and contributes to the Irish economy.” A common approach to understand proteins is to crystallize them and determine their structure by using X-ray crystallography. This is necessary to understand what the protein looks like and how it functions. Thousands of research papers have been published about PEGylated proteins. Until the recent findings at NUI Galway there had been no success in  crystallizing a PEGylated protein. The knowledge obtained by the Crowley lab has implications for understanding how PEGylated proteins work. The NUI Galway team is also looking at ways to engineer protein assemblies based on this result. Read Nature Chemistry here: For more information contact Dr. Peter Crowley, School of Chemistry, NUI Galway on 091 492480 or -Ends-

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NUI Galway Event to Celebrate Civic Engagement in Later Life

NUI Galway Event to Celebrate Civic Engagement in Later Life-image

Monday, 14 September 2015

Irish Centre for Social Gerontology will host event aimed at providing further opportunities for people to become more involved in their local communities The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology is hosting an event to celebrate civic engagement and participation in later life at the Institute for Lifecourse and Society, NUI Galway on Wednesday, 16 September from 2pm-4.30pm. The event will acknowledge and show appreciation for the enormous contribution made to society by people in the second half of life. Attendance is open to all and guests will have the opportunity to attend a series of short talks and visit exhibition stands where they can find out more about getting involved in their communities through local voluntary organisations. This event also marks the national launch of Touchstone, an initiative of the Active Ageing Partnership, a joint project between three of Ireland’s largest organisations in the age sector. Active Retirement Ireland, Age and Opportunity and Third Age have come together as the Active Ageing Partnership to promote and encourage greater participation by older people in the life of their local communities. In Galway, Touchstone recruited fifty people aged 55 and over to a short course aimed at supporting them to become more involved in their local communities. The event is partly aimed at providing further opportunities for people to become more engaged in community life. From 2pm-3pm there will be a series of short talks on the theme of civic engagement in later life. This will include presentations from participants of the Galway Touchstone programme who will talk about projects they have developed as a result of being involved in the short course. Between 3pm and 4.30pm, guests will have the chance to visit 20 exhibition stands, where they can find out more about opportunities to get involved with organisations including: Age and Opportunity, Active Retirement Ireland, Third Age, Age Friendly Programme-Older Persons Council, Age Action West, Galway City Partnership, Galway Roscommon Education Training Board, Touchstone Stall, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Galway Citizens Information Centre, Community Knowledge Initiative, COPE Galway, Volunteer Galway, Dementia Friendly Galway, Centre for Independent Living, St. Vincent De Paul Croi na Gallimhe, The Carers Association Loughrea, The Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Samaritans Galway, and Alone. Places for the event are limited. To take part, please RSVP to to receive further information, the location of the event’s venue and parking arrangements. For more information contact Professor Thomas Scharf, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, NUI Galway on 091 495459 or -Ends-

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Two Sporting Icons to Speak at NUI Galway Autumn Open Days

Two Sporting Icons to Speak at NUI Galway Autumn Open Days-image

Monday, 14 September 2015

Guest speakers include Professor Eamon O’Shea, former Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team and Pat Lam, Connacht Rugby Head Coach NUI Galway’s annual Autumn Open Days will be held on Friday, 2 October and Saturday, 3 October. The Open Day on Friday will run from 9am to 3pm and is aimed at school groups, but all members of the public are welcome to attend. Saturday’s Open Day runs from 10am to 3pm and is for students thinking about university and their parents and families. Each year, NUI Galway welcomes more than 8,000 visitors to its Open Days in October and April and it is an opportunity for students, along with their parents and families to explore the campus. There is a packed programme of events lined up for the day including short subject talks, taster sessions, designed to give students a real insight into studying at NUI Galway. Hands-on science workshops and interactive sessions with IT systems and robotics and tours of the campus will run throughout the day. There will be over 80 subject-specific stands in the main exhibition area in the Bailey Allen Hall, where lecturers and current students will be available to answer questions on courses, CAO points, employability, and career progression routes. The ‘Parents Programme’ on Saturday, 3 October will provide parents with information on important issues such as fees and funding, careers, accommodation, career destinations and support services for students. Talk highlights over the two days include: A guest appearance and talk about sports with Pat Lam, Connacht Rugby Head Coach and Eamon O’Shea, Professor of Economics at NUI Galway and former Manager of the Tipperary Senior Hurling Team Scholarship schemes including Creative Arts Performance Points, CAO Sports Performance Points, Sports Scholarships and Excellence Scholarships The new Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience) The new BA Children’s Studies Arts – the new BA Joint Honours Shannon College of Hotel Management – International Hotel Management Career talks – “Where are the jobs? What are my employment prospects after University?” Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway said: “Attending Open Days is the perfect opportunity to get a real feel for university life at NUI Galway, talk to lecturers and current students and get all the information you need to make that important decision. We are encouraging anyone with an interest in studying at NUI Galway to come along as Open Days’ are unique opportunities in the year to experience what the university has to offer and decide whether NUI Galway feels right for you.” Tours of the campus will feature the state-of-the-art sports complex and gym, the Engineering Building and tours of student accommodation. Guided walking tours of the main campus will also take place throughout the afternoon. To plan your day in advance and receive an Open Day programme visit or contact 091 494145 or -Ends-

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Sean-nós singing workshops at NUI Galway

Sean-nós singing workshops at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Máire Ní Mhaoilchíaráin, the 2015 Sean-Nós Singer-in-Residence at NUI Galway, will give a series of sean-nós singing workshops beginning at 7pm, Wednesday, 30 September, in the Seminar Room at the Centre for Irish Studies, NUI Galway. From Áird Thoir, Carna, Máire comes from a family which has a long and rich tradition of sean-nós singing. Her clear, sweet vocal style echoes with the singing from her mother Bairbre and the Heaney side of the family, Joe Heaney being her granduncle. The workshops are free and open to all. Further information available from Samantha Williams at 091 492051 or This project is funded by Ealaín na Gaeltachta, Údarás na Gaeltachta and An Chomhairle Ealaíon in association with the Centre for Irish Studies at NUI Galway. -Ends-      Ceardlann amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós in Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh Cuirfear tús le sraith de cheardlanna amhránaíochta ar an sean-nós san Ionad an Léinn Éíreannaigh, Ollscoil na hÉireann Gaillimh ag 7pm, Dé Céadaoin, 30 Méan Fomhair. Is í Máire Ní Mhaoilchiaráin atá ceaptha mar Amhránaí Cónaitheach Sean-nóis i mbliana a bheidh á múineadh. Is as an Aird Thoir, i gCarna, Máire agus tá oidhreacht shaibhir cheolmhar le cloisteáil ina cuid amhránaíochta. Thug sí léi a cuid amhrán óna máthair, Bairbre a fuair an ceol ó mhuintir Éinniú, agus a huncail Joe ina measc. I gclann Bhairbre, tá cáil na hamhránaíochta ar Mháire agus ar a deirfiúr Bríd. Tá na ceardlanna saor in aisce agus beidh fáilte roimh chách. Tuilleadh eolais ó Samantha Williams ag 091 492051 nó -Críoch-

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NUI Galway and Kingfisher Club Announce Details of Annual 8km Race in aid of Jigsaw

NUI Galway and Kingfisher Club Announce Details of Annual 8km Race in aid of Jigsaw -image

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

NUI Galway, in association with the Kingfisher Club, will host its third annual charity 8K Run/Walk on Saturday, 10 October at 10am. The route consists of a traffic-free, mixed terrain run around the University’s campus and along the banks of the river Corrib. The official charity partner for this event is Jigsaw Galway and the 8K coincides with global events around World Mental Health Day. This year’s event is proudly supported by Aerogen. Jigsaw Galway is a free and confidential support servicing the mental health and well-being of young people, aged 15 – 25, living in Galway city and county.  Jigsaw also provides advice and guidance to parents, family members, friends and other professionals worried about a young person.  All proceeds raised from this event will go to Jigsaw Galway. This charity event is forming part of the NUI Galway Alumni reunion programme, which takes place from 9-11 October on campus and will be an opportunity to bring together students, staff, alumni and friends of the University in one place to take part in a fun event for all ages and abilities. There are lots of family-friendly activities planned to coincide with the 8k to encourage participants to bring their children and grandchildren along. From tours of the Zoology and Marine Biology Museum to live music and sean-nós singing workshops, the day is perfect for families to come and walk or run the campus together. NUI Galway Vice-President for the Student Experience Dr Pat Morgan said: “Building on our very successful 8K event on campus last year, which attracted over 600 participants, we look forward to another great event for staff, students, alumni, friends and neighbours on 10 October. Little things make a difference and 'The more you move the better your mood' is a key message in support of better mental health. Take this opportunity to enjoy our wonderful campus and show your support for our partners in Jigsaw.” The event is open to everyone, with runners and walkers of all fitness levels catered for. To register for the NUI Galway 8K please log on to the Run Ireland Website . Updates are also available on the Facebook page at Local Kingfisher Fitness Clubs will be running training sessions over the next six weeks to help with your preparation and details are available at All queries on the event can be sent to -Ends-

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NUI Galway Moves Up in World University Rankings 2015/16

NUI Galway Moves Up in World University Rankings 2015/16-image

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

NUI Galway has again increased its position in the QS World University Rankings 2015. Rising 9 places to 271st in this year’s ranking, NUI Galway is one of just two Irish universities to improve their standing in this year’s league table. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said of the achievement: “This is good news for NUI Galway and further acknowledgement of the developments in teaching and research that have taken place at this University in recent years. The QS World University Rankings is one of the best regarded evaluations of higher education in the world and we are delighted to see that again this year we are moving in the right direction in achieving our goals in international rankings as set out in our Strategic Plan Vision 2020.” The QS World University Rankings have been running since 2004 and are amongst the highest profile global evaluations of comparative university quality. The World University Rankings were conceived to present a multi-faceted view of the relative strengths of the world’s leading universities. QS Head of Research Ben Sowter said: “The fascinating thing about these latest results is that they reveal more diversity than ever in the distribution of world-class universities at the highest levels. We’re providing prospective students with the richest picture yet. Sowter added:  “Considering  the strong representation of Irish universities per-capita, one ranked university per 130,000 people, Irish universities are akin to the Irish Rugby Team; remarkably competitive given their population, funding and resources; and consistently so.” The QS World University Rankings are designed to provide students with comparable, accurate data to make informed decisions about their educational future. From this year, in response to students’ feedback and in consultation with its advisory board, QS has adopted an approach to normalise publication and research citation data across faculty areas. This reform accounts for the large volume of citations generated by researchers in the Life Sciences and, to a lesser degree, those in the Natural Sciences. Download the Ireland Country Report infographic here. To view the complete rankings, featuring the world’s top 891 universities as well as the Top 400 by Faculty areas: ENDS  

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European Research Network Meets at NUI Galway to Discuss ‘New Speakers’

European Research Network Meets at NUI Galway to Discuss ‘New Speakers’-image

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Public round table to explore multilingual competence, language policy and becoming a ‘new speaker’ of various languages including Irish Fifty leading experts in multilingualism from twenty-five European states will meet at NUI Galway on September 24 and 25 to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with ‘new speakers’ of various languages including Irish. The event will be hosted by the Department of Irish in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures as part of an ‘Action’ and research network supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). The Action, ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Challenges and Opportunities’, is led by Professor Bernadette O’Rourke of Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh and Dr John Walsh, Head of the Department of Irish at NUI Galway is a leading partner. “New speakers refer to those who are regular and fluent speakers of a language other than their ‘first’ or ‘native’ language”, explained Dr Walsh. “Historically in linguistics and related disciplines, priority has been given to the ‘native speaker’ and other types of speakers have been marginalised. Our network focuses on multilinguals and investigates how people become ‘new speakers’ of various languages.” So far the network has focused on new speakers of minority languages such as Irish and Basque, new speakers as immigrants and new speakers as transnational workers. In the second phase of the research, to be launched at the Galway meeting, general themes such as multilingual competence, language policy and becoming a new speaker will be explored. The meeting will include a public round table event on new speakers of Irish. Three new speakers of Irish from various parts of Ireland and one speaker from the Gaeltacht will discuss their language background, their experience of learning Irish or English, their relationship with other Irish speakers and their thoughts on identity and belonging. This event will be held in the Aula Maxima at 4.30pm on Thursday, 24 September. More information visit: For further event details contact Dr John Walsh, Department of Irish, NUI Galway on 091 492563 or -Ends- Cruinniú ag gréasán taighde Eorpach in OÉ Gaillimh chun plé a dhéanamh ar ‘nuachainteoirí’ Cruinniú poiblí chun féachaint ar inniúlacht ilteangach, polasaí teanga agus a bheith i do nuachainteoir i dteangacha éagsúla lena n-áirítear an Ghaeilge Tiocfaidh caoga saineolaí ceannródaíoch san ilteangachas as cúig stát Eorpach is fiche le chéile in OÉ Gaillimh ar an 24 agus an 25 Meán Fómhair chun plé a dhéanamh ar na dúshláin agus na deiseanna a bhaineann le ‘nuachainteoirí’ i dteangacha éagsúla, an Ghaeilge san áireamh. Roinn na Gaeilge i Scoil na dTeangacha, na Litríochtaí agus na gCultúr a chuirfidh an ócáid i láthair mar chuid de ghréasán gnímh agus taighde le tacaíocht ó COST (an Comhar Eorpach san Eolaíocht agus sa Teicneolaíocht). Tá an Gníomh, ‘New Speakers in a Multilingual Europe: Challenges and Opportunities’, faoi stiúir an Ollaimh Bernadette O’Rourke as Ollscoil Heriot-Watt i nDún Éideann agus is príomh-chomhpháirtí sa tionscadal é an Dr John Walsh, Ceann Roinn na Gaeilge in OÉ Gaillimh. “Tagraíonn nuachainteoirí dóibh siúd atá ina gcainteoirí rialta agus líofa i dteanga seachas a ‘gcéad’ teanga nó a dteanga ‘dhúchais’”, a mhínigh an Dr Walsh. “Go stairiúil, i réimse na teangeolaíochta agus i ndisciplíní gaolmhara eile, tugadh tús áite don ‘chainteoir dúchais’ agus rinneadh cainteoirí eile a imeallú. Díríonn an gréasán seo ar dhaoine ilteangacha agus scrúdaíonn sé conas mar a dhéantar ‘nuachainteoirí’ de dhaoine i dteangacha éagsúla.” Go dtí seo, dhírigh an gréasán ar nuachainteoirí teangacha mionlaigh cosúil leis an nGaeilge agus an Bhascais, nuachainteoirí mar inimircigh agus nuachainteoirí mar oibrithe trasnáisiúnta. Sa dara céim den taighde, a sheolfar ag cruinniú na Gaillimhe, scrúdófar gnéithe áirithe cosúil le hinniúlacht ilteangach, polasaí teanga agus conas a dhéantar nuachainteoir de dhuine. Beidh ócáid phoiblí faoi nuachainteoirí Gaeilge ar siúl mar chuid den chruinniú. Labhróidh triúr nuachainteoirí Gaeilge as áiteanna éagsúla in Éirinn agus cainteoir amháin ón nGaeltacht faoina gcúlra teanga, a dtaithí ar fhoghlaim na Gaeilge agus an Bhéarla, a gcaidreamh le cainteoirí Gaeilge eile agus a gcuid smaointe ar fhéiniúlacht agus ar mhuintearas. Beidh an ócáid ar siúl san Aula Maxima ag 4.30pm Déardaoin, an 24 Meán Fómhair. Tuilleadh eolais: Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoin ócáid déan teagmháil leis an Dr John Walsh, Roinn na Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh ar 091 492563 nó -Críoch-

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Global study confirms harmful alcohol use is linked to increased risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury

Global study confirms harmful alcohol use is linked to increased risk of alcohol-related cancers and injury-image

Thursday, 17 September 2015

• 51% increase in risk of alcohol-related cancers • 29% increase in risk of injury in current drinkers • No reduction in risk for a combination of outcomes (death, cardiovascular disease, alcohol-related cancer, injury or admission to hospital) • Harmful alcohol use most common in lower income countries, where increases in risk were more pronounced A new study shows that harmful alcohol use is linked with increased alcohol-related cancers and injury, with no reduction in the risk of death. The threat appears worst in lower-income countries, where harmful alcohol use is more common, as published today in The Lancet. Alcohol consumption is proposed to be the third most important modifiable risk factor for death and disability. However, alcohol consumption has been associated with both benefits and harms, and previous studies were mostly carried out in high-income countries. This new study investigated associations between alcohol consumption and clinical outcomes in a prospective cohort of countries at different economic levels. The lead author is Dr Andrew Smyth of the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway and the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI), McMaster University Hamilton, Canada. The data came from 12 countries participating in the Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiological (PURE) study of individuals aged 35–70 years, divided into four income groups: high, upper-middle, lower-middle and low. The countries studied were Sweden and Canada (high-income); Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Poland, South Africa and Turkey (upper-middle-income); China and Colombia (lower-middle-income; and India and Zimbabwe (low-income). Dr Andrew Smyth, of the HRB Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway says: “Our data supports the call to increase global awareness of the importance of harmful use of alcohol and the need to further identify and target the modifiable determinants of harmful alcohol use.” Almost 115,000 adults were followed for an average of four years, and it was found that 36,000 people (31%), reported drinking alcohol. Although current alcohol consumption was associated with a 24% reduction in risk of heart attack, there was no reduction in the risk of death or stroke. There was also a 51% increase in the risk of alcohol-related cancers - meaning those of the mouth, oesophagus, stomach, colorectal, liver, breast, ovary, and head and neck - and a 29% increase in the risk of injury in current drinkers. High alcohol intake and heavy episodic drinking were both associated with significant increases in the risk of death. The authors also identified differences between countries of different levels of prosperity. Although in higher-income-countries, current drinking was linked with a 16% reduction in the risk of a combination of all outcomes (death, cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, alcohol-related cancer, injury and admission to hospital), the opposite was seen in lower-income-countries where there was a 38% increase in risk. Harmful alcohol use was most common in lower-income-countries, where one in eight current drinkers had high levels of intake and one in three had a heavy episodic drinking pattern. Co-author Dr Salim Yusuf, senior author and Director of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) and President of World Heart Federation adds: “Because alcohol consumption is increasing in many countries, especially low-income and low-middle-income countries, the importance of alcohol as a risk factor for disease might be underestimated. Therefore, global strategies to reduce harmful use of alcohol are essential.” In a related comment published in the same issue of The Lancet , Dr Jason Connor, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, and Professor Wayne Hall, Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia and National Addiction Centre, Kings College London, London, UK (WH), say: “More than sufficient evidence is available for governments to give increased public health priority to reducing alcohol-related disease burden in low-income and middle-income countries. This should be done by implementing the most effective population policies to discourage harmful drinking - namely, increasing the price of alcohol and reducing its availability, especially to younger drinkers, and preventing the alcohol industry from promotion of frequent drinking to intoxication.” Graham Love, CEO of the Health Research Board added, “'The HRB national alcohol diary survey last year showed that 54% of Irish people who drink, do so in a harmful manner. When you consider our national level of harmful drinking with these global findings it points to the potential for serious health consequences for Irish drinkers into the future. We must use quality research evidence like this to inform individual choices and public health policy in relation to alcohol.” Mr Love continued, “It is very encouraging to see both people that the HRB has funded and the research facilities that we have financed, come together to facilitate Irish participation in such a significant piece of international research. I would like to congratulate Dr Smyth and Professor Martin O’Donnell, at the HRB Clinical Research Facility in Galway, on getting their work published in such a prestigious journal.” -Ends-

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