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April 2015

Enactus NUI Galway Project Launch and Showcase

Enactus NUI Galway Project Launch and Showcase-image

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Students of Enactus NUI Galway recently held a project launch and showcase event. Enactus is a global student-lead initiative where students, along with the guidance of business and faculty advisors, create projects which benefit society socially, economically and environmentally and in doing so engage members of society. The recent event gave Enactus students the opportunity to present this year’s four projects, including the Wallflower Initiative, Bike Back, Eat Your Words and TARA, as well as the future plan for these projects. NUI Galway was one of the founding Irish teams of Enactus Ireland and this year will mark its fourth year of involvement. Guided by academic advisors and business experts, participating students from all disciplines form a team on their university campus and apply business concepts to create and implement community empowerment projects around the globe. The current Team Leader and master’s student at NUI Galway, Elizabeth O’Brien, has been involved in Enactus for three years and also attended the Enactus World Cup 2014 which took place last year in Beijing, China. Elizabeth said: “Enactus has given me the opportunity to improve our local community but also enhance my educational experience. It has helped me to understand special challenges and issues, develop solutions and make a difference in people’s lives. It was an honour to open our launch event and share the good work that we are doing.” Michael Campion, a lecturer at NUI Galway’s J.E. Cairnes School of Business and Economics, and Faculty Advisor for Enactus NUI Galway, said: “The typical student who engages with Enactus is enthusiastic and passionate about making things better for others. Designing and developing Enactus projects is not easy due to the criteria laid down and it challenges students to be creative, enterprising and tenacious. It’s a privilege to work with and support such students in their Enactus endeavours.” In May, Enactus NUI Galway students, along with seven other third-level institutions, will gather at the Chartered Accountants of Ireland in Dublin for the Enactus Ireland National Final 2015. This will give one team the opportunity to travel to Johannesburg, South Africa to represent Team Ireland for this year’s World Cup Final where Enactus students from 36 countries will be represented and each team will present their projects to a judging panel of global business leaders. -Ends-  

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Major investment in human genome research by joint SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust funding

Major investment in human genome research by joint SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust funding-image

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Professor Brian McStay, from, NUI Galway has secured €1.5 funding from the SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Biomedical Research Partnership to study uncharacterised regions of the genome that could advance our understanding of a wide range of human diseases.                                         According to Professor McStay, who works in the Centre for Chromosome Biology, School of Natural Sciences at NUI, Galway: "This project will explore some of the unmapped regions of the human genome that play a key role in how ribosomes, which make proteins, are made. We will look at the genetic factors that influence how ribosomes themselves are put together. We know that unregulated ribosome production plays an important role in many types of cancer, so a better understanding of what impacts ribosomes has obvious potential to help our understanding of cancer and a range of human diseases which are collectively termed ribosomopathies." Commenting on the award, Graham Love Chief Executive at the Health Research Board says, "This funding is not easy to get and competition is intense, so Brian’s success should be acknowledged.  Biomedical research like this, which will help us to better understand our fundamental human make up, is central to providing new avenues for scientists to explore in the search for better and more effective treatments." Dr Michael Dunn, Head of Genetics and Molecular Sciences at the Wellcome Trust, adds, "Wellcome Trust Investigators represent some of the very brightest minds in biomedical science.  We are delighted to make an award to Professor Brian McStay whose work aims to address an important aspect of basic chromosome biology that is still poorly understood.  The award provides generous, long-term, flexible funding, which we hope will enable Professor McStay to make significant advances in knowledge in this important field and thereby help the Wellcome Trust to achieve its mission of improving human and animal health." Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said,  "The SFI-HRB-Wellcome Trust Partnership supports research into some of the most pressing biomedical and clinical research questions in health, ultimately delivering a social impact by enhancing the quality of patients care.  This joint funding scheme also boosts Ireland’s biomedical research credentials internationally, thereby attracting investment and ultimately creating jobs.  The fact that Professor McStay’s study secured the funding ahead of international competition underlines the quality of the world class research taking place in Ireland." -Ends-

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March 2015

NUI Galway Mountaineering Club 40th Maamturks Challenge

NUI Galway Mountaineering Club 40th Maamturks Challenge-image

Monday, 2 March 2015

NUI Galway’s Mountaineering Club Maamturks Challenge will take place on Saturday, 18 April. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the challenge, this hillwalking event is considered one of the toughest in Ireland, covering 24.3km over tough, mountainous terrain with a total ascent over the course of the walk of 2,336 metres. First organised by Mountaineering Club members in 1975, it comprises of a route covering the full Maamturks hill range in Connemara. Typically participants start the walk at 5am at the base of Corcóg, to finish 8-11 hours later in Leenane. Along the route, NUI Galway Mountaineering Club crew, with the Galway Radio Experimenters Club will be at eleven checkpoints watching over participant’s safety and wellbeing, supported by the Galway Mountain Rescue Team. NUI Galway Mountaineering Club Captain, Cathal Breathnach, said: “This year we are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the event. This is definitely a milestone in the history of the Mountaineering Club; it is a great accomplishment that each year, a dedicated team of volunteers have organised this event for the general public.” To celebrate the 40th jubilee and recognise the volume of organisation and voluntary work required to make this event such a success, the Club aim to make a documentary about the Challenge. This documentary will be shown during a special commemoration ceremony after the walk in Leenane Hotel. Cathal continued: “We have reached capacity for the Maamturks challenge, but we would like to invite all who are, or have previously been, involved in the Maamturks’ Challenge to attend the celebrations in the Leenane Hotel, at 8pm.” Participation from past members of the organising committees, past participants, and members of the public are encouraged to submit photos, stories and anecdotes from the past 40 years for inclusion in the documentary. For more information on the Maamturks Challenge visit http://www.nuigmc.com/maamturks/. To submit material for the documentary please email maamturks@nuigmc.com -Ends-

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RIA Charlemont Grant Awards Bestowed on Six NUI Galway Scholars

RIA Charlemont Grant Awards Bestowed on Six NUI Galway Scholars-image

Monday, 2 March 2015

Six NUI Galway academics were among the recipients of the inaugural Royal Irish Academy Charlemont Grant Awards, which were presented at a special ceremony in Academy House in Dublin recently. Funded by the Academy, the Charlemont Grants are designed to act as a career springboard to assist scholars in strengthening their international mobility and developing international collaborative networks. These are small grants, with high impact, and are complimentary to larger programmes offered by other funders including the Irish Research Council and SFI. The NUI Galway recipients were: Dr Margaret Brehony, Centre for Irish Studies; Dr Sarah-Anne Buckley, History; Dr Eoin Daly, School of Law; Dr Jessica Hayes, REMEDI; Dr Martin O'Halloran, NCBES; and Dr Anuradha Pallipurath, School of Chemistry. Grants are available for short visits to any country to support primary research in any subject area. The duration of visits is generally between one week and six weeks in length, the key objectives being to initiate one-to-one collaborations, explore opportunities to build lasting networks and gain access to ideas, research facilities, and complementary equipment. Funds are available to facilitate initial project planning and development; to support the direct costs of research; or for visits by or to partner scholars. The 2016 call for applications will open in early autumn, for further details please visit www.ria.ie. -Ends-

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NUI GALWAY RADIO SOCIETY ANNOUNCE SPEAKERS FOR SECOND NATIONAL STUDENT RADIO CONFERENCE

NUI GALWAY RADIO SOCIETY ANNOUNCE SPEAKERS FOR SECOND NATIONAL STUDENT RADIO CONFERENCE-image

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

NUI Galway Radio Society is delighted to announce the second National Student Radio Conference will take place in NUI Galway on Saturday, 7 March, 2015. The conference is supported by Craol, the representative, co-ordinating, lobbying, training, & support organisation for Irish Community Radio; NUI Galway Societies’ Office and Flirt FM 101.3. Covering areas from imaging to sound art and from sports to music journalism, the conference will see; Chris Greene (2fm & 4OD), Shane O'Connor (BBC 5 Live & Peanut Productions), Joyce Ní Chionnaith (Raidio na Life), Louise Clarke (iRadio), Tweakel, La Cosa Preziosa (Sound Art & Field Recording), Team 33 (Newstalk), Ros Madigan (GoldenPlec), Denzil Lacey (ZAVA Media & 4FM) and Mary O'Malley (RTÉ's Sunday Miscellany) talk to student radio producers and enthusiasts from all over Ireland. Special surprise events will also be revealed on the day. Tickets for the conference can be found on Eventbrite.ie. Groups of 10 or more people can purchase tickets at a reduced rate. Ticket holders will be given a welcome goodie pack, lunch and admittance to the post conference social. Also included is entrance to a pre-event taking place on Friday March 6th for those travelling to Galway early. For more information on the conference visit http://www.nsrc.ie/ https://twitter.com/NSRConference                    hello@nsrc.ie https://www.facebook.com/nationalradioconference?fref=nf -Ends-

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How much should a public health system pay for new drugs?

How much should a public health system pay for new drugs?-image

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Recently published research, which looked at the cost thresholds for relatively expensive new drugs in the UK, will be discussed at NUI Galway on Friday, 6 March. Professor Karl Claxton from the University of York will speak at an event hosted by NUI Galway’s Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group. Professor Claxton’s talk, ‘Methods for Estimating the Cost-Effectiveness Threshold for NICE and the NHS’ will take place at 2pm in Lecture Hall 1 of the Cairnes Building on the North Campus of NUI Galway. “While the research is based on British data, its findings are very relevant for Ireland given that the HSE uses a very similar system to the NHS for deciding which new drugs are to be reimbursed,” explained Mr Brendan Kennelly, Health Economics and Policy Analysis research group at NUI Galway. “Every public health system has to cope with a limited budget and has to decide how to use the available resources to achieve the best possible health outcomes for all the people that are entitled to use the system. This is a very challenging decision involving important questions about ethics, values, measuring health, and opportunity costs.” Health economists have developed a concept called a Quality Adjusted Life Year (commonly known as a QALY) to help this decision making process. A QALY is equal to one year of life in perfect health. When public health systems decide whether or not to reimburse a pharmaceutical company for a new drug they often refer to the cost per QALY of the new drug. In February, a group of leading health economists at the University of York produced important new research on this issue. A team, which was led by Professor Karl Claxton, estimated the effects of changes in NHS expenditure on the health of all NHS patients. The results indicate that £13,000 of NHS resources adds one Quality Adjusted Life Year to the lives of NHS patients. It suggests that the NHS offers much better value of money that was previously thought. Currently in the UK, the National Institute for Clinical and Healthcare Excellence (NICE) uses a threshold of £30,000 per QALY to judge whether the health benefits offered by a new drug are greater than the health likely to be lost elsewhere because of the additional cost imposed on the NHS. The York research shows that this threshold is too high and as a consequence the approval of new drugs at current prices is doing more harm than good to NHS patents overall. In Ireland, the maximum that the HSE will pay for a new drug is around €45,000 per QALY. This has led the HSE to reject certain drugs as being too expensive relative to the health benefits that they produce. “The recent controversy over the cost of Soliris, a life-saving but very expensive drug for people with a rare blood disorder, is just one example of the difficult choices that public health systems have to make on a regular basis,” says Mr Kennelly. -ends-

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Poetry Aloud on the Streets of Galway City

Poetry Aloud on the Streets of Galway City-image

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

NUI Galway students perform ‘A Poem for Ireland’ shortlist in Galway city centre Students of Irish and of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway recently brought poetry out of the lecture halls and onto the main shopping street in Galway city for the pleasure of unsuspecting shoppers. Students recited a selection of verses from poems shortlisted in RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. These included poems by W.B. Yeats, Patrick Kavanagh, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Paula Meehan and Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. This flashmob style event, which also included a number of musicians, aimed to encourage the general public to engage with the ten shortlisted poems and to cast their vote in the national ‘A Poem for Ireland’ campaign. To view the flashmob event on Shop Street visit http://youtu.be/Cv9jNnUrnTo. Event organisers Dr Rióna Ní Fhrighil, Gaeilge lecturer at NUI Galway, and Marianne Ní Chinnéide, Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance at NUI Galway, believe that there are many ways to engage with poetry. Beyond the act of reading, poetry can be made accessible through performance. Their students performed poetry on a busy city street to remind people that poetry is for everybody. One of the poems shortlisted for RTÉ’s ‘A Poem for Ireland’ is ‘Filleadh ar an gCathair’ by Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh. Ailbhe is a graduate of NUI Galway, and currently lectures in the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the University. For a full list of the 10 shortlisted poems and to vote for your favourite poem, see www.rte.ie/apoemforireland. -Ends-

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The Brains behind the Breakthroughs

The Brains behind the Breakthroughs-image

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

A research showcase, “The Brains behind the Breakthroughs”, will be hosted by the NUI Galway Neuro Society at 7pm in the Westwood Hotel on Monday, 9 March. This free public seminar will showcase the depth and scale of brain research being conducted in NUI Galway. Designed specifically for a lay audience, it promises to give an insight to the life of a neuroscientist and the approaches being taken to tackle some of the biggest questions about the brain. Professors, senior research scientists and students will present a variety of perspectives on their current areas of research which range from increasing our understanding of pain and brain pathology to the latest in medical neuroimaging and genetic studies. Professor David Finn will introduce proceedings as head of the Galway Neuroscience Centre which represents the multi-disciplinary research groups focused on neuroscience in NUI Galway. Auditor of the NUI Galway Neuro Society, Michelle Naughton, adds: “This event is for anyone who is curious about the brain and what we have still yet to learn about it. With many exciting new developments in the field of neuroscience, this showcase will demonstrate the substantial research being undertaken in NUI Galway to advance our current knowledge.” As an additional Brain Awareness Week event, on the 11th and 12th March, NUI Galway’s Neuroscience Centre will be holding an exhibition in the Aula Maxima aimed at teaching secondary school students about the brain and disorders of the nervous system. This event is being hosted to celebrate, Brain Awareness Week (9-15 March), which is a global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. It is a worldwide celebration of the brain that grows more successful every year. For more information contact neuro@socs.nuigalway.ie or check out the NeuroSoc NUI Galway facebook page. -ends-

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NUI Galway Announces Opposition to Galway City Transport Project

NUI Galway Announces Opposition to Galway City Transport Project-image

Thursday, 5 March 2015

NUI Galway will this week submit its opposition to proposals in the Galway City Transport Project. The University, which is central to the life of the city and surrounding region, is one of the major employers in the city; it hosts a population of over 20,000 students and staff and has invested €400m over the last decade in capital development. The University believes that what currently makes the NUI Galway campus an attractive location – for Irish and international students and staff – would be irretrievably damaged should proposed routes be accepted. Increases in research activity have seen a surge in the numbers of international staff. International student numbers have grown significantly, to the extent that NUI Galway now has the largest proportion of international students of all the Irish universities. Foreign students are a great benefit to the local economy, supplementing the flow of income generated by the increased number of Irish students. University buildings have expanded, creating high-quality infrastructure for increased student numbers and research activities. The University’s Strategic Plan for 2015-2020 will reflect a drive to maintain the dramatic improvements and enhance its national and international standing. All these developments are under threat. The last decade has seen an investment of €400m in capital development by NUI Galway and this has been undertaken with a purpose: not just to build a successful university, but to continue a lengthy pattern of interaction with Galway and its citizens, providing graduates to support the growth of high-quality local employment and engaging in research activities which connect both with local industry and with the rich culture of Galway city and the region. The physical growth of the University has been carefully planned over many decades. A programme of land acquisition in Dangan has allowed the University to increase the area for new buildings while simultaneously acquiring space for sports facilities. The unified campus is now an educational base for over 17,000 students. The University continues to climb in world rankings, reflecting significant improvements in research activity and overall performance. Its progress would be severely disrupted by the current proposals. If in recent decades the University and the city have grown hand in hand, we are now threatened with the prospect that both would face a future of relative decline. The University is proud of its unified campus which has emerged as a result of decades of planning and forethought. The campus sees teaching and research buildings intermingled, sports facilities readily available to students, and University lands providing a major recreational facility for all. The University will therefore strongly object to current proposals and call for alternative options for the future of Galway transport planning. ENDS OÉ Gaillimh ag cur in aghaidh Thionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe Tá Ollscoil na hÉireann, Gaillimh le hagóid fhoirmiúil a dhéanamh an tseachtain seo in aghaidh na moltaí atá i dTionscadal Iompair Chathair na Gaillimhe. Tá an Ollscoil ar cheann de na fostóirí is mó sa chathair, agus í i gceartlár shaol na cathrach agus an réigiúin máguaird. Tá os cionn 20,000 duine, idir mhic léinn agus chomhaltaí foirne, ag staidéar nó ag obair ar an gcampas agus €400m infheistithe ag an Ollscoil le deich mbliana anuas i bhforbairtí caipitil. Creideann an Ollscoil gur láthair thar a bheith tarraingteach é campas na hOllscoile faoi láthair do mhic léinn agus comhaltaí foirne as Éirinn agus thar lear, agus go ndéanfaí dochar as cuimse don champas dá nglacfaí le haon cheann de na cúrsaí bealaigh atá molta do Sheachbhóthar na Cathrach. Tá méadú mór tagtha ar líon na gcomhaltaí foirne ón iasacht atá san Ollscoil le tamall de bharr méadú ar an méid taighde atá ar bun. Tá méadú suntasach tagtha ar líon na mac léinn ón iasacht, agus OÉ Gaillimh anois ar an ollscoil Éireannach a bhfuil an sciar is mó de mhic léinn idirnáisiúnta i mbun staidéir inti. Tá an-tairbhe le baint ag an ngeilleagar áitiúil as na mic léinn ón iasacht, agus cuireann siad leis an ioncam a thagann isteach sa chathair ó na mic léinn Éireannacha.  Tá méadú tagtha ar na foirgnimh san Ollscoil agus bonneagar den scoth anois ann le haghaidh na mac léinn agus na ngníomhaíochtaí taighde atá ar bun, agus méadú seasta ag teacht orthu sin. I bPlean Straitéiseach na hOllscoile, 2015-2020, beidh béim ar an rún daingean atá ag an Ollscoil leanúint den dul chun cinn láidir atá sí a dhéanamh agus an seasamh náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta atá aici a neartú tuilleadh. Tá contúirt anois ar na forbairtí seo go léir. Le deich mbliana anuas, rinne an Ollscoil infheistíocht €400m i bhforbairtí caipitil agus is le cuspóir soiléir a rinneadh é sin: ollscoil a mbeadh rath uirthi a thógáil, agus lena chois sin leanúint den dlúthcheangal atá ag an Ollscoil le Gaillimh agus muintir na Gaillimhe – céimithe oilte a chur ar fáil ar mhaithe le fostaíocht áitiúil ar ardchaighdeán mar aon le gníomhaíochtaí taighde a chur chun cinn le go mbeadh ceangal ann le tionscail áitiúla agus le cultúr luachmhar chathair na Gaillimhe agus an réigiúin trí chéile. An fás fisiciúil atá tagtha ar an Ollscoil, rinneadh é a phleanáil go mion le cúpla scór bliain anuas. Ceannaíodh talamh in imeacht na mblianta i gceantar an Daingin agus dá thoradh sin bhí a dóthain achar talún ag an Ollscoil i gcomhair foirgnimh nua agus áiseanna spóirt araon. Is lárionad oideachais é an campas comhtháite seo agus os cionn 17,000 mac léinn i mbun a gcuid léinn ann. Tá ardú ag teacht chuile bhliain ar sheasamh na hOllscoile sa rangú domhanda – is toradh é sin ar an bhfeabhas mór atá tagtha ar chúrsaí taighde agus ar fheidhmíocht na hOllscoile trí chéile. Chuirfeadh na moltaí reatha isteach go damanta ar dhul chun cinn na hOllscoile. D'fhás an Ollscoil agus an chathair in éindí le blianta fada anuas, ach tá an baol anois ann gur meath atá i ndán dóibh araon. Tá campas comhtháite ag an Ollscoil mar thoradh ar phleanáil agus fadbhreathnaitheacht le blianta fada, agus í an-bhródúil as an gcampas sin. Tá foirgnimh theagaisc agus thaighde fite fuaite ina chéile ar an gcampas, tá áiseanna spóirt ar fáil do na mic léinn gan stró, agus tailte na hOllscoile ar fáil do chách mar áis mhór áineasa agus caithimh aimsire. Tá rún ag an Ollscoil, dá bhrí sin, agóid láidir a dhéanamh i gcoinne na moltaí reatha agus iarrfaidh sí ar na húdaráis roghanna malartacha a chur chun tosaigh i dtaca le cúrsaí iompair i nGaillimh don aimsir romhainn. CRÍOCH

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Pulmonary Rehabilitation as a non-pharmacological intervention in patients COPD reinforced

Pulmonary Rehabilitation as a non-pharmacological intervention in patients COPD reinforced-image

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Research published in Cochrane Review Pulmonary Rehabilitation is a non- pharmacological intervention for patients with Chronic Obstructive Airways Disease (COPD) and its effectiveness was confirmed in a Cochrane Review which has generated major interest across the world. The review was led by a team from the School of Nursing and Midwifery at the National University of Ireland Galway. The team consisted of Bernard McCarthy, Dr Dympna Casey, Professor Declan Devane, Professor Kathy Murphy, Edel Murphy and the internationally renowned Canadian pulmonologist Dr Yves Lacasse. The two-year project brought together the findings of 65 randomised control trials involving 3822 participants for inclusion in the analysis. COPD is a chronic lung disease that causes obstruction in breathing. This results in persistent and progressive breathlessness, productive coughing, fatigue and recurrent chest infection. Worldwide, COPD is a major cause of long term health issues. The World Health Organisation projects that by the year 2030 it will be the third most frequent cause of death globally. There are around 110,000 people in Ireland diagnosed with COPD, but it is estimated that a further 200,000 people living with the disease who have not been diagnosed. COPD affects the quality of peoples’ life but pulmonary rehabilitation can make a difference. Bernard McCarthy, NUI Galway, the lead author explains: “At this time, COPD is an incurable, life-limiting condition that is associated with significant economic costs due to progressive disease severity and frequent hospital admissions and readmissions. Our findings from pooling all the international research demonstrate that pulmonary rehabilitation has a significant positive effect. Pulmonary rehabilitation which includes exercise as a key component and may also include assessment, education, psychological support and dietary advice, has been shown to relieve breathing difficulty and fatigue and improves individuals’ sense of control over their condition. These all lead to a better quality of life for individuals with COPD, facilitating them to re-engage with their normal lives.” The authors concluded that these improvements from Pulmonary Rehabilitation are clinically significant. In addition the volume of evidence is now so convincing that “additional randomised controlled trials are no longer warranted.” What we now need, according to the team, is to investigate the components of pulmonary rehabilitation essential for best outcomes. “It would be good to investigate the ideal programme length and location, the degree of supervision and intensity of training required, or how long treatment effects persist.” The team also found some tentative evidence that “there is a difference between hospital-based and community-based programmes, which now requires further study.” Some authors of the report were previously involved in the PRINCE study which was completed in 2012 in conjunction with Irish general practices. The PRINCE (Pulmonary Rehabilitation in Nurse-led Community Environment) study was funded by the HRB, and consisted of a two-armed randomised cluster trial. In one arm (intervention group), persons with COPD received a structured education pulmonary rehabilitation programme, while the other arm (control group) received usual care. At the time, the study was one of the largest pulmonary rehabilitation trials conducted in primary care. This recent Cochrane Review informs the global community of professionals working in this field about the potential for helping patients with this debilitating illness. Bernard McCarthy added “We must reinforce that prevention is the priority, focusing on measures, such as smoking cessation. Our findings gives hope to those suffering from COPD worldwide who are currently housebound and reluctant to engage in routine activities of living due to the limiting natures of this condition. For them Pulmonary Rehabilitation might be a light at the end of a very dark tunnel.” -ends-

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