Thursday, 26 May 2016

Galway Family’s Ambition to Change the World Through Their Sons’ Eyes

NUI Galway Business and Innovation Centre support a Galway family’s global mission to make their language learning solution accessible for children with autism Enda and Valerie Dodd’s innovative software solution ‘ALL’, named after their company, Animated Language Learning, is driven by the belief that they can change the world. As clients of the NUI Galway Business Innovation Centre, they are determined to create a state of the art, visually rich language learning program that has already lifted their twin sons’ from the isolation of autism, and make it accessible to every family in need. Enda and Valerie Dodd originally moved to California in 2003 to find a solution to their sons’ condition. They actively started developing the software on a full time basis in 2009 in San Francisco and established Animated Language Learning Inc. The company relocated to Ireland in 2015 to NUI Galway’s Business and Innovation Centre. Speaking about the solution, Valerie Dodd said: “There was utter confusion surrounding the diagnosis of our sons’ when it became evident that they were not talking and were diagnosed as highly autistic. Autism spectrum disorder, pervasive development disorder, deafness, language disorder, sensory integration disorder and global dyspraxia were among many terms being used, and we had little understanding of their meaning. We struggled to comprehend these diagnoses and what was truly going on with our sons’. Equally we had to make sense of what therapies were available to help our children succeed with communication. This was our challenge.” It was this quest that ultimately brought the family to San Francisco, and the collaboration with Disney, Pixar and Adobe e-learning teams. Having given up their jobs, Valerie and Enda focused on creating a solution for the autism that disrupted their sons’ language. In that time the family assembled a team of world-leading specialists and schools who together with the help of Disney led their twin boys out of the isolation of their condition. Today the boys are emerging out of their deficits, enjoying school, sports, relationships and looking forward to a bright new world. Fiona Neary, NUI Galway business development manager at the Business Innovation Centre said: “Having recently moved back from the US the Dodd family are now surrounding themselves with a solid support structure and network to scale this solution globally. We are delighted to have Enda, Valerie and their team based onsite and look forward to working with them in achieving their global mission.” Animated Language Learning has already created a learning technology which is currently being piloted with over 200 families around the world. Enda Dodd says: “Language disordered children are very complex and our work with families has been vital in developing our understanding of communication and delivering our sons’ success to families in need. Our aim is to enact social change for our families through language, creating a better future for all of us.” To read more about ALL visit: animatedlanguagelearning.com/ ENDS


News Archive

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

NUI Galway Academic is co-author of global study which finds salt is essential to a person’s health and reduction matters most in people with high blood pressure who consume high salt diets A large worldwide study involving 49 countries has found that, contrary to popular thought, low-salt diets may not be beneficial and may actually increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death (compared to average salt consumption). The results from the study were published in The Lancet. The study, involving more than 130,000 people from 49 countries, was led by investigators of the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences. Professor Martin O’Donnell, a co-author on the study and an associate professor at NUI Galway, said: “This study adds to our understanding of the relationship between salt intake and health, and questions the appropriateness of current guidelines that recommend low sodium intake in the entire population. Our findings highlight the need for a definitive clinical trial that determines the safety and effectiveness of sustained low sodium intake on incidence of heart attacks and stroke.  Until definitive trials are completed, an approach that recommends salt in moderation, particularly focused on those with hypertension, appears more in-line with current evidence.” The researchers looked specifically at whether the relationship between sodium (salt) intake and death, heart disease and stroke is different in people with high blood pressure compared to those with normal blood pressure. The results showed that regardless of whether people have high blood pressure, low-sodium intake is related to more heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to average intake. “These are extremely important findings for those who are suffering from high blood pressure. While our data highlights the importance of reducing high salt intake in people with hypertension, it does not support reducing salt intake to low levels. Our findings are important because they show that lowering sodium is best targeted at those with hypertension who also consume high sodium diets,” said Dr Andrew Mente, lead author of the study, a principal investigator of PHRI and an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics at McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Current intake of sodium in Canada is typically between 3.5 and 4 grams per day and some guidelines have recommended that the entire population lower its sodium intake to below 2.3 grams per day, a level that fewer than five per cent of Canadians and people around the world consume. Previous studies have shown that low-sodium, compared to average sodium intake, is related to increased cardiovascular risk and mortality, even though low sodium intake is associated with lower blood pressure. This new study shows that the risks associated with low-sodium intake – less than three grams per day was consistent regardless of a patient’s hypertension status. The findings show that while there is a limit below which sodium intake may be unsafe, the harm associated with high sodium consumption appears to be confined to those with hypertension. Only about 10 per cent of the population in the study had both hypertension and high sodium consumption (greater than 6 grams per day). Dr Mente said that this indicates that the majority of individuals in Canada and most countries are consuming the right amount of salt and suggests that targeted salt reduction in those who are most susceptible (those with hypertension and high salt consumption) may be preferable to a population-wide approach to reducing sodium intake in most countries except those where the average sodium intake is very high, such as parts of central Asia or China. He added that what is now generally recommended as a healthy daily ceiling for sodium consumption appears to be set too low, regardless of a person’s blood pressure level. Dr Mente continued: “Low sodium intake does reduce blood pressure modestly, compared to moderate (or average) intake, but low sodium intake also has other effects, including adverse elevations of certain hormones associated with an increase in risk of death and cardiovascular diseases. The key question is whether these competing physiologic effects result in net clinical benefit or not.” The study was funded from more than 50 sources, including the PHRI, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Registration is now open for The Mary Robinson Centre International Symposium 2016, organised in partnership with NUI Galway’s Centre for Global Women’s Studies. The Symposium will take place in Ballina, Co. Mayo, on 1-2 July. Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland, who currently serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change, explains: “The Mary Robinson Centre International Symposium 2016 will bring together in Ballina an outstanding group of sustainable development champions from Ireland and around the world. It will begin a very important international conversation that puts human rights, peace, tackling inequalities, and promoting women’s leadership at the heart of our collective efforts to implement the new UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.” In addition to Mary Robinson, keynote speakers and panellists will include: Alicia Bárcena, Executive Secretary of UN Economic and Social Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) Dr Paul Gillespie, Irish Times columnist and former Foreign Policy Editor Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Gender Envoy for the African Development Bank Heather Grady, Vice-President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, San Francisco, USA Peter Power, Executive Director, UNICEF Ireland, former Minister of State for Overseas Development Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director, Amnesty International Ireland Mouna Ghanem, Member of Women’s Advisory Board to UN Envoy on Syria Jacqueline Pitanguy, Founder and Executive Director of CEPIA (a human and civil rights NGO), Brazil Monica McWilliams, Co-founder of the Northern Ireland Women’s Coalition political party Ray Murphy, Acting Director of NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights. Niamh Reilly, Co-director of the Centre for Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway and Academic Advisor to The Mary Robinson Centre, said: “This exciting Symposium opens up global policy discussion and academic research to local communities – for anyone who is interested in issues of development, peace, human rights and equality, it is fantastic opportunity to participate in an agenda-setting discussion.” A reduced registration fee of €75 is available until Tuesday, 31 May, which includes the conference buffet dinner. A full registration fee of €95 applies after this date. A special concession rate of €30 is available to postgraduate students and others subject to eligibility. To register visit www.conference.ie. -Ends-

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

The University will mark the bequest with a public lecture on the Battle of Aughrim 1691 NUI Galway has received a significant donation of books about the Williamite War (1689-91) in Ireland and its aftermath from Colman Morrissey, son of a graduate of the University. Over a period of 45 years Colman assembled the collection of over 200 volumes which contains all the known contemporary accounts of the war. For example, the collection includes a copy (one of only 200) of John T Gilbert’s 1892 edition of the early eighteenth century manuscript ‘The Light to the Blind’. A highlight of the collection is a List of Claims  printed in 1701 of the Court  held in Chichester House (now the Bank of Ireland on College Green) Dublin where lands confiscated from the Irish Catholic losers were granted to the winners. This massive tome contains details of the former owners and the actual judgements on the claims written by hand and so is a unique record of the land confiscations and transfers. Other highlights include: the first biography of William of Orange/William III published in 1703 in original binding; the first biography of King James II by J S Clarke published in 1816 also in original binding; the English 1759 translation of the Memoirs of the Duke of Berwick (natural son of James and a celebrated general in French service); a signed copy of William King’s influential State of the Protestants in Ireland… published in 1691; and its refutation by Charles Leslie in 1692. A framed copy of the 1688 Proclamation by Richard Talbot, Duke of Tyrconnell, proscribing persons in the province of Ulster and the town of Sligo as traitors is also included. In addition there are copies of most of the publications by subsequent authors, including definitive Army Lists of the Jacobite Army, together with numerous shorter contemporary manuscripts describing parts of the conflict in various regions of the country, both North and South. In addition, the collection contains most of the publications from the 20th century dealing with the conflict, including some rare items. Most items are in their original bindings and where repairs or rebindings have been necessary they have been carried out in a most professional manner. John Cox, University Librarian at NUI Galway, said: “This is a wonderful collection and it is a real honour to receive it and to add it to the Library’s special collections. Colman has brought all his passion for this period of Irish history to bear on the collection, making great efforts to assemble it and often tracking down books in unusual places.” Colman’s fascination with the Jacobite War was inspired by a boyhood visit to the Aughrim battle site. He was brought by his father, a friend of Martin Joyce, the local schoolmaster, historian and guardian of the memory of Aughrim. This passion was subsequently reawakened by Richard Murphy’s 1965 epic poem on the Battle of Aughrim. The decision to donate the collection to NUI Galway in memory of the donor’s father, Joseph H. Morrissey, was taken because the Battle of Aughrim, the bloodiest and most decisive battle in Irish history, was fought in Connacht and because the donor’s father was a graduate of NUI Galway, or UCG as it was known then, where he attained a BA degree (with Martin Joyce) in 1935. To mark the bequest of the Morrissey Collection a public lecture, entitled ‘Myth and Memory: the Battle of Aughrim 1691’will be given by Dr Pádraig Lenihan, Discipline of History, NUI Galway, in the Aula Maxima on Tuesday, 31 May at 8pm. Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, said: “This is a most generous donation by Colman Morrissey, representing a lifetime of collecting and interest in the Battle of Aughrim. In receiving it we are delighted to honour the memory of his father, a proud alumnus of our University. The Morrissey collection will be of great value to researchers now and in the future.” NUI Galway’s Dr Pádraig Lenihan commented: “The collection will provide a wonderful resource to those interested in a time when the west was awake and events of continental reverberations took place on our doorstep.” The Morrissey Collection will be included in the Special Collections of the Library and located in the Hardiman Research Building. ENDS


Events Calendar

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Book Launch: Philosophy and Political Engagement: Reflection in the Public Sphere Edited by Allyn Fives & Keith Breen 16.00 Friday,
27 May 2016
G010 Hardiman Building
Féile Scannán na Réabhlóide 2016 20.00 Friday,
27 May 2016
An tSeanscoil - An Cinemobile - An Poitín Stil: Indreabhán, Conamara
A University in War & Revolution / Ollscoil in am Comhraic, 1923-1919 Monday,
30 May 2016
Hardiman Research Building
A University in War & Revolution / Ollscoil in am Comhraic, 1923-1919 Monday,
30 May 2016
Hardiman Research Building
GRC talks in IT Research Seminar (day 1/2) 09.00 Monday,
30 May 2016
IT125G (IT Building)
GRC talks in IT Research Seminar (day 2/2) 9.00 Tuesday,
31 May 2016
IT125G (IT Building)
Public Lecture "Myth and Memory: the Battle of Aughrim (1691)" 20.00 Tuesday,
31 May 2016
Aula Maxima, Quadrangle
Exercise 4 Health 12.15 Thursday,
2 June 2016
The Sports Pavilion, Dangan

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