Monday, 21 August 2017

World Experts on Pain after Surgery to Attend Annual Scientific Meeting at NUI Galway

The 17th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Irish Pain Society will be held at NUI Galway on Saturday 26 August. It will mark the 10-year anniversary since the establishment of the Centre for Pain Research at the University, Ireland’s first multidisciplinary pain research centre. The theme of this year’s meeting will focus on the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) theme for 2017, ‘Pain After Surgery’. Professor David Finn, Co-Director of the Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway and President of the Irish Pain Society, said: “Unfortunately, pain can be a serious unwanted consequence of surgery, affecting millions of people worldwide and exacting a very significant toll on health, wellbeing, society and the economy. To address this important unmet clinical need, we require a better understanding of pain neurobiology, and the mechanisms and factors influencing the transition from acute to chronic pain. The Irish Pain Society meeting this year has been organised to increase our understanding of postoperative pain and its treatment.” The event will welcome international speakers from across the key disciplines relevant to post-surgical pain to discuss:   Prediction and prevention of pain after surgery - Professor Esther Pogatzki-Zahn, Germany Postoperative pain management in children - Professor Alison Twycross, UK The transition from acute to chronic pain - Dr Patricia Lavand’homme, Belgium The profile and management of persistent pain following breast cancer treatment - Dr Niamh Moloney, Guernsey The psychological aspects of understanding and reducing postoperative pain - Dr Rachael Powell, UK The meeting will also include poster presentations by Irish pain researchers, a data blitz short oral symposium in association with the Irish Pain Research Network, and a masterclass in the use of ultrasound imaging to aid with pain treatment. The meeting will provide an opportunity to broadening knowledge and networks across Pain disciplines, with the aim of moving towards a more enlightened approach for improved understanding and management of pain post-surgery. Professor Finn added: “I am really excited to be hosting this year’s Irish Pain Society meeting in Galway and anticipate a day filled with informative and thought-provoking talks covering the cutting edge of research on pain after surgery, as well as fruitful discussions and interactions with colleagues.” Further details can be found at -Ends-

News Archive

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Health Research Board awards promising researchers including NUI Galway biostatistician whose work will start with interventions targeting heart disease and stroke  The new HRB Emerging Investigator Awards announced this week by the Health Research Board, will enable researchers at the mid stage of their career to shift gear to become independent investigators. The HRB is investing €8.3 million through this scheme to support researchers who have demonstrated real promise as they take their first step to research independence. Award recipients include Dr John Ferguson, a Senior Research Fellow in Biostatistics at the HRB Clinical Research Facility at NUI Galway for his research in the area of population health research and public health, which studies determinants of health and disease with the goal of identifying interventions that promote health and reduce the burden of disease.  Dr Ferguson’s research involves deciding on an appropriate intervention that mandates a prior forecast of the intervention’s effect on disease. The proposed project will develop methods for estimating the long-term effects on disease prevalence for any planned disease intervention. The methods will initially be developed for interventions targeting stroke, but will later be extended to several other diseases. Speaking about the award, Dr John Ferguson said: “My research methods will allow more accurate predictions of the effect of population health interventions - for instance how a successful promotion of daily exercise might affect the prevalence and incidence of heart disease and stroke as well as better estimate risk factor burden. The HRB Emerging Investigator Award will help to develop my career as a researcher working on the joint interface between statistics, medicine and population health.” According to Mairead O Driscoll, Interim CEO at the Health Research Board: “What set these successful individuals apart was their diversity and ability to multitask. Their challenge now is to build their research team, advance their research programmes, foster collaborations and leverage funding to build a sustainable research programme.  Everyone is well qualified for the challenge.” The HRB will support these investigators for four years with a maximum of €800,000 including the investigators’ salary and support for research staff. Areas that will benefit from this investment include: Health Economics Biostatistics Immunology Respiratory Medicine Pharmacology Neurology and Neuroscience Psychology Molecular and Cellular Biology Health Services Research. Successful individuals will be recognised as principle investigators in their institutions, As well as doing research that would ultimately improve people’s health, or positively influence policy or practice; they will also be expected to act as mentors and work well in collaboration with other disciplines. -Ends-

Monday, 14 August 2017

NUI Galway has relaunched its iPoints app, addressing the new Common Points Scale, which is now in effect for all Leaving Certificate students.  The app will allow Leaving Certificate students to quickly and easily calculate their points when they receive their exam results and is available through iTunes for both iPhone and iPad. The NUI Galway iPoints app is available for all iPhone and iPad users on the iTunes store now  The app calculates the number of points attained in each subject, in line with the revised Common Points Scale, and indicates the total. The app calculates 25 additional points to be added for Higher Maths if relevant, and allows for Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme (LCVP) scores to be included. The app also gives students the option to share their results by text message, or through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, if they wish. Commenting on the app, Stephen O’Dea, Admissions Officer at NUI Galway said: “Unlike the old Leaving Certificate points, the new Common Points Scale is designed to minimise the impact of random points’ allocation as fewer individuals will end up with the same score. This has been achieved by using a non-linear scale. The downside of this of course is the points awarded for individual grades are slightly less memorable than before. As it’s the first year of operation, many will be unfamiliar with the new scale so the iPoints app will offer Leaving Certificate students an easy way to quickly calculate their total score.” ___________________________________________________ Déanann OÉ Gaillimh an aip iPoints a athsheoladh chun teacht leis an gComhscála Pointí nua don Ardteistiméireacht Tá an aip iPoints athsheolta ag OÉ Gaillimh, ag tabhairt san áireamh an Comhscála Pointí nua, atá i bhfeidhm anois do gach scoláire Ardteistiméireachta.  Tabharfaidh an aip deis do scoláirí Ardteistiméireachta a gcuid pointí a ríomh go tapa agus go héasca nuair a fhaigheann siad a gcuid torthaí scrúdaithe agus tá sé ar fáil ar iTunes don iPhone agus don iPad. Tá aip iPoints OÉ Gaillimh ar fáil do gach úsáideoir iPhone agus iPad sa siopa iTunes anois Ríomhann an aip líon na bpointí a bhaintear amach i ngach ábhar, ag teacht leis an gComhscála Pointí leasaithe, agus tugann sé an t-iomlán. Ríomhann an aip 25 pointe breise don Mhatamaitic Ardleibhéil más cuí, agus cuimsíonn sé na scóir do Ghairmchlár na hArdteistiméireachta (GCAT). Tugann an aip deis do mhic léinn chomh maith a gcuid torthaí a roinnt ar theachtaireacht téacs, nó ar na meáin shóisialta cosúil le Facebook agus Twitter, más mian leo sin a dhéanamh. Ag labhairt dó faoin aip dúirt Stephen O’Dea, Oifigeach Iontrála in OÉ Gaillimh: “Ní hionann agus seanchóras pointí na hArdteistiméireachta, tá an Comhscála Pointí nua leagtha amach chun tionchar leithdháileadh randamach na bpointí a laghdú mar ní bheidh an oiread céanna daoine ag fáil an líon céanna pointí. Bainfear é seo amach trí scála neamhlíneach a úsáid. Is é an míbhuntáiste a bhaineann leis seo ar ndóigh ná nach bhfuil sé chomh héasca cuimhneamh ar na pointí a bhronntar do na gráid ar leith is a bhí cheana.  Ós rud é gurb é seo an chéad bhliain don chóras seo, beidh go leor daoine nach bhfuil ar an eolas faoin scála nua agus mar sin is bealach éasca é an aip iPoints ag scoláirí Ardteistiméireachta a scór iomlán a ríomh.” -Críoch- 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Charity renews its call for a specific family homelessness strategy following an independent research report carried out by NUI Galway and TCD Focus Ireland welcomed a new independent research report on the difficulties faced by families that are homeless in accessing healthy food and having normal family meals. The report, which was jointly funded by the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA) and the Department of Health, was carried out by Marita Hennessy at NUI Galway and Dr Michelle Share, who is an internationally recognised expert on food poverty and a Senior Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin. The new report entitled Food Access and Nutritional Health among Families in Emergency Homeless Accommodation, outlined the negative impact food poverty has on the health and wellbeing of children living in emergency homeless accommodation in Dublin. The Food Report was launched by the Director of Investigations at the Ombudsman for Children, Nuala Ward. Mike Allen, Director of Advocacy in Focus Ireland said: “This report highlights the enormous difficulties faced by the over 1,000 families that are homeless and living in emergency accommodation. But it is also a very positive and forward looking report, setting out useful guidelines and standards which should inform the development of the new Family Homeless Hubs. It also clearly sets out the answer for these families must be homes of their own.” Focus Ireland managed the commissioning and publication of the report on behalf of the DCYA and Department of Health. The research outlines parents’ daily struggle to provide healthy meals for their children and themselves due to the challenging circumstances of living on very low incomes in emergency homeless accommodation.  Mr Allen said: “This research highlights the complex issues arising in trying to support families that are homeless. It reinforces Focus Ireland’s call for a specific homeless sub-strategy for families, with a cast-iron commitment families will not spend more than 6 months in emergency accommodation.” The Food Report highlighted the lack of access to cooking and storage facilities, it has led to families supplementing their diets with noodles, instant pasta, chicken and chips and pizza. The research included detailed interviews with ten parents living in emergency homeless accommodation and also six service providers involved in the provision of health and social services for people who are homeless.   The study sought to explore the food situation for these families and to make recommendations for policy-makers and front-line service providers to help improve food security, health and well-being among families who are homeless. The parents interviewed spoke of huge difficulties finding healthy meals for their children due to restricted times of access to kitchen facilities, communal eating facilities and a lack of storage facilities and utensils for food. The research has found that regimented meal times and the constrained food provision conditions in homeless accommodation services negatively influence children’s dietary intake. Dr Michelle Share from TCD explained: “It’s not just about food and nutrition: families have to rely on takeaways and convenience foods. It makes it harder for children to develop good eating habits as they have to eat in socially unacceptable circumstances, like dining on the bed, or on the floor, lined up at a counter and sometimes even under CCTV surveillance. “They get used to dining in communal settings or with tourists - rather than as a family around their own table. All of this means a loss of dignity. On a practical level it can inhibit other important parts of children’s lives such as free play and completing homework.” The research found that all families interviewed shared a bedroom, and just one of the ten families surveyed were provided with breakfast and dinner in their emergency accommodation. All parents highlighted that their children’s food was a priority for them and that they went to considerable efforts in challenging circumstances to provide for them. This was clearly shown by parents who always tried to provide fruit for their children to ensure they received vitamins.  The key recommendations of the research include: Rules and regulations in relation to the use of kitchens and eating facilities across all emergency accommodation for families need to be flexible to meet the different routines and need for privacy for families and to help avoid ‘institutionalisation’ arising from extended stays in emergency accommodation. All emergency accommodation must provide a kitchen table in a private and appropriately sized space. The challenges families face in the preparation of nutritious meals are primarily due to practical barriers and restricted facilities, rather than any lack of awareness of healthy eating. All emergency accommodation must provide a kitchen table in a private and appropriately-sized space. The challenges families face in the preparation of nutritious meals are primarily due to practical barriers and restricted facilities, rather than any lack of awareness of healthy eating. A set of standards in relation to any premises defined as family emergency accommodation. While the Department of Housing and the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) have emphasised the range of improved facilities that will be available in Family Hubs, no standard framework has been published to set out minimum standards to apply to the operation of Hubs. Rebuilding Ireland should outline this. Emergency accommodation must be a temporary measure. No matter what improvements are made in the physical quality and access to services in emergency accommodation, living there still has a detrimental impact on the health and well-being of family members. Over time, poor nutrition can lead to a decline in general health and mental health of families. The most effective improvement in the provision of emergency accommodation is to ensure that it is for the shortest time possible, through the provision of secure and affordable homes. Focus Ireland’s family team works hard with Dublin Region Homeless Executive to support families and children who are homeless. The Focus Ireland Advice and Information services based in Dublin and elsewhere are funded by a range of statutory and non-statutory funders. The service plays a vital role in preventing families and individuals becoming homeless. This new report comes at a time of change in the policy guiding the provision of family emergency homeless accommodation as up to 600 families are due to be moved into family hub accommodation. The DRHE has indicated that family hubs will feature permanent on-site support services (in some cases 24/7) and access to cooking and laundry facilities. Focus Ireland Director of Advocacy Mike Allen said: “The report underlined the fact that the longer the stays in emergency accommodation, the more difficult it can be for families to move on from homelessness to independent living. We are repeating our call for a dedicated sub-strategy to address family homelessness that includes a target of supporting all families out of homelessness within six months and also providing a range of supports to avert the potentially devastating effects on the children involved.” To read the full report, visit: -Ends-

Events Calendar

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The public are invited to a fascinating public lecture of a winter expedition with the German icebreaker “Polarstern” to Antarctica. The talk will be delivered by Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Helmholtz-Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany on Wednesday, 14 September, at 7.30pm in the Colm O’hEocha Theatre in the Arts Millenium Building at NUI Galway. Professor Lemke has participated in nine polar expeditions with the German research icebreaker “Polarstern”, and has collections of stunning photographs depicting the Antarctic landscape and intriguing experiences to share. He is visiting Galway to participate in the Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme which is a week-long intensive, accredited workshop examining how climate and oceans interact, with particular examples from the Atlantic Ocean and higher latitudes. The lecture is open to members of the public and is part of a workshop organised by Dr Pauhla McGrane of the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training (SMART) being held in Galway, from 12-19 September,offered to international postgraduate students of marine, atmosphere and climate-related sciences. “Polar regions play an important role for our climate, but direct observations are difficult to obtain and can only be achieved with greatest effort. This is especially true in wintertime” said Professor Lemke. “Severe blizzards, being trapped between thick ice floes and forced to drift with the ice, the darkness of the polar night and temperatures around minus 30°C. This presentation will take you along on an extraordinary winter expedition into the Antarctic Ocean. It shows the beauty of the frozen ocean, presents some insight into polar and climate research, and demonstrates everyday life on a research icebreaker,” he continued. High latitudes have received attention recently because of significant changes in the atmosphere, sea ice, and ocean, and on land, especially in the Arctic. The surface air temperature in the Arctic has increased about twice as fast as the global air temperature. The Arctic sea-ice extent in summer has decreased by 35% since 1979, and the sea-ice thickness during late summer has declined in the Central Arctic by about 40% since 1958. A warming has also been observed at depth in the Arctic Ocean and the Southern Ocean. But surprisingly there is no negative trend observed in the Antarctic sea ice. Both, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass, and the sea level is rising. Most of these observed trends are in agreement with warming scenarios performed with coupled climate models, which indicate an amplified response in high latitudes to increased greenhouse gas concentrations. But details of the complex interaction between atmosphere, sea ice and ocean, and the impacts on the ecosystem and the human society are still only marginally understood. Results will be shown from the latest Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and from a winter expedition the speaker has lead into the ice-covered Weddell Sea (Antarctica). Dr Pauhla McGrane, coordinator of SMART said: “We are delighted that Proffessor Lemke has agreed to provide his unique insight into carrying out climate research in hostile polar environments, particulaly when accompanied by such beautiful stark images. This is especially relevant as this year we will run the second North South Atlantic Training Transect on-board the RV Polarstern from Germany to South Africa which will train 24 postgraduate students, including seven Irish students, in researching climate, ocean and atmospheric interactions at sea. These innovative offshore international collaboarations, developed with AWI, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) and funded by the Nippon foundation are essential in developing excellent climate and ocean scientists to measure and understand our changing planet”. Professor Lemke continues to work on the observation of climate processes in atmosphere, sea ice and ocean and their simulation in numerical models for the polar components of the climate system. On six expeditions on Polarstern he acted as chief scientist.  For more than 30 years he served on many national and international committees on polar and climate research. He was the Coordinating Lead Author for Chapter 4 (Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground) of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report published in 2007. The IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together with Al Gore in 2007. For the Fifth Assessment Report of the IPCC published in 2013 Proffessor Lemke worked as Review Editor of Chapter 4 and as Lead Author of the Technical Summary. All members of the public are welcome and refreshments will be served afterwards. The Atlantic Ocean Climate Scholars Programme is a collaboaration between SMART, NUI Galway, AWI and the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO) that is funded by the Nippon foundation under NF POGO Regional Training fund.  -ends-