NUI Galway Research Finds Irish Children are Exposed to Large Volumes of Alcohol Marketing

NUI Galway Research Finds Irish Children are Exposed to Large Volumes of Alcohol Marketing-image

Thursday, 26 November 2015

• More than 90% of children reported that they were exposed to traditional, or offline, alcohol advertisements in the week prior to the study and more than half saw four or more alcohol advertisements per day • 77% of the children reported exposure to alcohol marketing online • 61% of children reported that they owned alcohol branded merchandise Alcohol Action Ireland, the national charity for alcohol-related issues, has said the introduction of legislation regulating alcohol marketing is a child protection issue. A study carried out by the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, commissioned by Alcohol Action Ireland, found that Irish children are exposed to large volumes of alcohol marketing, which increases their likelihood of drinking alcohol and engaging in risky drinking behaviour. Dr Michal Molcho, of the Health Promotion Research Centre at NUI Galway, said their findings indicate that there is widespread exposure to alcohol marketing among children aged 13 and upward. “We found that almost all children reported seeing or hearing a traditional or off-line advertisement for alcohol drinks, while 77% were exposed to online marketing and 61% reported that they own alcohol-branded merchandise.” Dr Molcho said that increased exposure to alcohol marketing increased the chances of children to report drinking, binge drinking, and drunkenness. “These findings clearly indicate that the more intense the exposure, the greater the risk of drinking alcohol and engaging in risking drinking behaviours. Given that these findings echo previous studies, coupled with the vulnerability of young people to alcohol, there is a clear need for immediate action on alcohol marketing regulation.” Dr Patrick Kenny, School of Marketing, Dublin Institute of Technology, said the study provides a snapshot illustrating how little protection is currently afforded to Irish children from alcohol marketing. “The bottom line is that the current regulatory system does not protect children from exposure to alcohol marketing and this failure is associated with increased consumption. In a very real sense, these children are victims of society’s failure to protect them and creating an environment where children are free from alcohol marketing is a children’s rights issue that requires immediate attention.” Dr Kenny said that digital alcohol marketing, and in particular social media marketing, is now a central element of the marketing communications mix and needs to be regulated. “Digital marketing allows for more effective targeting of consumers and the interactive nature of this communication makes it arguably more effective than traditional passive advertising methods. It is worth noting that digital marketing operates largely below the radar of policy makers because they do not form part of the target audience, thus making digital marketing significantly harder to monitor or regulate.” Conor Cullen, Head of Communications and Advocacy, Alcohol Action Ireland, said it is vital that we legislate to regulate alcohol marketing, which sees Irish children continuously exposed to positive, risk-free images of alcohol and its use, which are far removed from the reality of the situation. “Alcohol use is a serious risk to children and young people’s health and wellbeing. Far from being a rite of passage, drinking alcohol may well serve to delay the development of vital coping skills, project young people into risky situations and lay the ground-work for future physical and mental health difficulties.” Mr Cullen said we need to protect children from alcohol marketing if we are serious about supporting them to make healthy choices now and in the future. “The forthcoming Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is an important first step in this regard and will finally move us away from the existing systems of self-regulation governing alcohol marketing. These systems have proved completely ineffective in terms of protecting children from exposure to alcohol marketing, which is such a powerful and sophisticated influence on their drinking behaviour and expectations.” To view the Alcohol Study visit:  http://alcoholireland.ie/media_releases/irish-children-are-exposed-to-large-volumes-of-alcohol-marketing-research-finds/ To view the Alcohol Study Brochure visit:  http://alcoholireland.ie/download/alcmarketingstudy.pdf ENDS

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Participants Required for Study of the Effects of Music on the Ageing Brain

Participants Required for Study of the Effects of Music on the Ageing Brain-image

Monday, 30 November 2015

NUI Galway study is seeking participants aged 60-85 years to join an experimental study on the effects of listening to music Monday, 30 November, 2015: An ongoing ageing research project at NUI Galway is looking for additional participants to take part in the study. This study is part of a larger ongoing project at the University, which commenced in 2013, exploring the functions and effects of listening to music on the ageing brain with both younger and older adults. The project is now seeking participants aged 60-85 years to join an experimental study on the effects of listening to music. Participants will spend two hours in a lab carrying out a variety of verbal and numerical tasks while listening to music and having their brain waves measured by electroencephalography (EEG). Prior to the lab session participants will complete a questionnaire examining potential links between uses of music, personality and wellbeing. For example, are particular ways of listening to music more common among certain personality types, and do different uses of music have different consequences for a listener’s sense of wellbeing. Jenny Groarke, a musician and PhD student in the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, said: “We will examine whether listening to music improves emotional, social or cognitive functioning, which we hope can be used to benefit older adults in the future.” An important factor in the current research is the role of choice in music listening. Almost all previous studies on the effects of music have been carried out with adolescents or young adults, and most researchers have chosen classical music for participants to listen to. The researchers at NUI Galway have concluded the first part of this study with 18-30 year-olds and noted some interesting age differences in music choices. Ms Groarke added, “We are trying to recreate real world listening experiences in the lab by having participants listen to music of their own choosing. For a start, only one of our 40 student participants selected a classical piece of music, yet almost all older adults studied so far selected classical music.” Participants are asked to choose music for a couple of different scenarios, while socialising or working for example. Whatever the situation, it seems Ed Sheeran is a popular choice, with 25% of the young adults in the study choosing at least one of his hits. While younger people are tending to listen to their favourite music regardless of the situation, older people are demonstrating greater variety and sophistication when choosing music for different contexts. Diverse musical tastes may take time to mature, or this might reflect differences in how age groups are listening to music. The researchers observed that the majority of young people are listening to music on personal devices and streaming services. The amount of choice can be overwhelming, so a well-known, popular song becomes a safe bet. Older people on the other hand tended to have smaller, personal record collections or listen to the radio. Healthy older people may have the most to gain from music listening, yet are rarely included in research on its’ effects. The research team are hoping that another 200 adults over 60 will complete the questionnaire, and are seeking a further 25 people in this age category to visit the lab for their ‘Music and The Brain’ Study. Travel and expenses will be covered by the research team. Jenny Groarke, a native of Galway, was inspired to study the link between music and well-being in older adults by her late grandfather Jimmy Dooley, who sang in the Augustinian choir for more than 65 years and played the drums in the Galway Bay Jazz band in Busker Browne’s every Sunday. She has also set up a business, Sing-Bang Music Workshops, which brings music workshops to nursing homes to improve memory ability, happiness, and quality of life in elderly adults through group music making. The study will run until Christmas and those interested in participating must complete the questionnaire of adaptive music listening functions, and sign up for the experiment at www.sgiz.mobi/s3/AFML Alternatively, participants can request a paper version of the questionnaire by contacting Jenny Groarke on jenny.groarke@gmail.com and for more information on participating in the research visit www.adaptivefunctionsofmusic.com ENDS

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NUI Galway Hosts 2nd National Event of the Atlantic Action Plan

NUI Galway Hosts 2nd National Event of the Atlantic Action Plan-image

Monday, 30 November 2015

Socio-economic marine research symposium focuses on achieving blue growth in the EU and marine policy, and the development of Ireland’s ocean wealth The Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit (SEMRU) at the Whitaker Institute and Focal Point Ireland at NUI Galway jointly organised the recent National Event of the Support Team for the Atlantic Action Plan, in association with the Annual Beaufort Socio-Economic Marine Research Symposium. The Atlantic Action Plan aims to revitalise the marine and maritime economy in the Atlantic Ocean area. It shows how the EU's Atlantic Member States, their regions and the European Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the ‘blue economy’ while preserving the environmental and ecological stability of the Atlantic Ocean. With over 100 registered delegates, the day provided participants with an update on a wide range of topics related to the marine sector in Ireland and the Atlantic Area, as well as a forum for discussing funding opportunities available to Irish stakeholders. There was a special on-line address by Commissioner Karmenu Vella, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, as well as input from Iain Shepherd, DG MARE of the European Commission, the Marine Institute, Fáilte Ireland and the INTERREG programmes (an EU supported Structural Funds Programme which supports strategic cross-border and inter-regional co-operation in in the European Union). Delegates had the opportunity to listen to Irish and international researchers in the area of marine socio-economics and discuss on-going research, potential collaboration and future research needs. The event hosted two parallel sessions and showcased current socio-economic marine research and funding opportunities. Sessions focused on the INTERREG Atlantic Area and the Ireland Wales programme and facilitated the use of these programmes in implementing the Atlantic Action Plan. Presentations from both the national contact points of these programmes as well as input from stakeholders involved in these programmes created a lively discussion on the opportunities available, how people are looking to avail of these with the ultimate aim of generating potential project ideas to bring forward in the future. A number of project ideas were presented and discussed on a one-to-one basis in a dedicated networking session in the afternoon. The first session focused on Achieving Blue Growth in the EU: Case Study for Ireland, with an overview of the Atlantic Action Plan and discussion on Measuring the EU and Ireland’s Blue Economy. The second session focused on Marine Policy and the Development of Ireland’s Ocean Wealth: Opportunities and Challenges, with an overview of the Role of the Marine Institute in Marine Policy, Research and Innovation in Ireland and Business Opportunities Associated with the Wild Atlantic Way – Brand and Progress. Each session was followed by two parallel sessions on Implementing Priority 4 of the Atlantic Action Plan and opportunities of the INTERREG Atlantic Area, Ireland-Wales Programmes and Beaufort Socio-Economic Marine Research. For further information visit: www.nuigalway.ie/semru/ ENDS

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October 2015

Minister Humphreys Launches NUI Galway 1916 Commemoration Programme as part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme

Minister Humphreys Launches NUI Galway 1916 Commemoration Programme as part of Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme-image

Friday, 2 October 2015

‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’ Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD today launched NUI Galway’s 1916 Programme of Events, ‘A Nation Rising: Commemorating 1916 and Beyond’, as part of the Ireland 2016 Centenary Programme. The University will mark the centenary year with a host of exhibitions, conferences, publications and seminars, both in Irish and English. The programme features artistic, dramatic and musical performances with established and emerging artists. It will also reach out to the wider community, sharing knowledge through public talks, festivals and workshops. Speaking at the launch, Minister Heather Humphreys said: “NUI Galway, as one of our foremost universities, will play a very important role in reflecting on the events of 1916 and the impact they had on the West of Ireland in particular. Our third level institutions are a vital element of next year’s commemorations; our universities in particular will provide a platform for discussion and debate for their students, staff, alumni, and indeed a national and international audience. I would like to thank NUI Galway for the strong partnership approach it has adopted in putting together this impressive programme for 2016, which includes one of the key national conferences to be held next year.” Dr Jim Browne, President of NUI Galway, added: “The men and women who shaped the events of 1916 had different backgrounds, beliefs and ideas, but they shared a drive to create a better Ireland. As a nation joins together to commemorate their vision, so too does our diverse university community. I am delighted to see so many colleagues contributing to the programme from across many disciplines, in particular from the Arts and Humanities. The expertise, energy and passion they bring to the commemoration is a fitting tribute to the legacy of 1916. It gives me great pleasure to invite you to join us in reflecting on a remarkable year in the making of our nation.” As part of the Commemorative Programme, NUI Galway will host the major national academic 1916-2016 conference in November 2016, with academic contributions from a broad range of Ireland’s universities and institutes of technology as well as from a number of leading international figures. The University has appointed a 1916 Scholar in Residence to co-ordinate and curate many of the events in the University’s Commemorative Programme. Based in the Moore Institute at the University, Dr Conor McNamara will conduct research on the 1916 Rising and its context in Co. Galway and the West of Ireland. He will prepare a catalogue of resources, in English and Irish, from the University’s archives and elsewhere, with a view to facilitating future research on the revolutionaries of 1916-23. Throughout the year, he will also engage with local community groups across the country, and assist with a planned exhibition marking Galway’s role in the Great War and the Irish Revolution. Dr Mary Harris, Senior Lecturer in History at NUI Galway and Co-ordinator of the University’s 1916 Commemorative Programme, noted: “The largest mobilisation outside Dublin in Easter Week 1916 took place in Co. Galway, where over 600 men and women rose. Many dreamed of a Republic, others were motivated by the prospect of land reform. In previous years, however, those involved in the Gaelic and Anglo-Irish revivals saw the West in a more romantic light, as the repository of authentic Gaelic culture. This commemorative programme examines the events of 1916 from a variety of perspectives at local, regional and national levels.” For more information on NUI Galway’s events commemorating the 1916 Rising visit www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Ends- Seolann an tAire Humphreys Clár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’ Inniu sheol an tAire Ealaíon, Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta, Heather Humphreys TD Clár Imeachtaí 1916 OÉ Gaillimh, ‘Éire á múscailt: Comóradh ar 1916 agus ar lean é’, mar chuid den tionscnamh Éire 2016: Clár Comórtha Céad Bliain. Déanfaidh an Ollscoil comóradh ar an gcéad bliain le raidhse taispeántas, comhdhálacha, foilseachán agus seimineár, i nGaeilge agus i mBéarla araon. Beidh ealaíontóirí seanbhunaithe agus nua i mbun léiriúcháin ealaíonta, dhrámata agus cheolmhara mar chuid den chlár. Cuimseoidh an clár an pobal níos leithne chomh maith, áit a roinnfear eolas ag cainteanna poiblí, féilte agus ceardlanna. Ag labhairt di ag an seoladh, dúirt an tAire Heather Humphreys: “Mar cheann de na hollscoileanna is iomráití sa tír, beidh ról thar a bheith tábhachtach ag OÉ Gaillimh agus muid ag féachaint siar ar imeachtaí 1916 agus an tionchar a bhí acu ar Iarthar na hÉireann go háirithe. Is cuid lárnach iad institiúidí tríú leibhéal na tíre de chomóradh na bliana seo chugainn; cuirfidh na hollscoileanna go háirithe ardán ar fáil do phlé agus do dhíospóireacht i measc mac léinn, comhaltaí foirne, alumni agus go deimhin lucht spéise náisiúnta agus idirnáisiúnta. Ba mhaith liom buíochas a ghlacadh le OÉ Gaillimh as an gcur chuige láidir comhpháirtíochta atá glactha aici agus an clár iontach seo á chur le chéile do 2016; clár a áiríonn ceann de na mór-chomhdhálacha náisiúnta a bheidh ar siúl an bhliain seo chugainn.” Dúirt an Dr Jim Browne, Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh: “Is iomaí cúlra, creideamh agus tuairim éagsúil a bhí ag na fir agus na mná a bhí taobh thiar d’imeachtaí 1916, ach bhí siad ar fad meáite ar Éirinn níos fearr a chruthú. Agus an náisiún ag teacht le chéile chun fís na ndaoine sin a chomóradh, tá pobal éagsúil na hOllscoile tagtha le chéile chomh maith. Táim an-sásta an oiread comhghleacaithe as lear mór disciplíní a fheiceáil ag glacadh páirte sa chlár, go háirithe comhaltaí foirne sna Dána agus sna Daonnachtaí. Is iontach an meas d’oidhreacht 1916 atá á léiriú ag an saineolas, an fuinneamh agus an díograis atá acu i leith an chomórtha. Is mór an pléisiúr dom cuireadh a thabhairt daoibh féachaint siar ar bhliain chomh tábhachtach i stair ár náisiúin.” Mar chuid den Chlár Comórtha, eagróidh OÉ Gaillimh mór-chomhdháil acadúil náisiúnta 1916-2016 i mí na Samhna 2016, áit a dtiocfaidh lucht acadúil le chéile as réimse leathan ollscoileanna agus institiúidí teicneolaíochta na hÉireann mar aon le ceannródaithe idirnáisiúnta. Tá Scoláire Cónaitheach 1916 ceaptha ag an Ollscoil chun comhordú agus eagrú a dhéanamh ar go leor de na himeachtaí ar Chlár Comórtha na hOllscoile. Tá an Dr Conor McNamara lonnaithe in Institiúid de Móra agus tabharfaidh sé faoi thaighde ar Éirí Amach 1916 agus a chomhthéacs i gCo. na Gaillimhe agus in Iarthar na hÉireann. Cuirfidh sé catalóg acmhainní le chéile, i mBéarla agus i nGaeilge, bunaithe ar chartlanna na hOllscoile agus ar fhoinsí eile, d’fhonn taighde a éascú amach anseo ar réabhlóidithe 1916-23. I gcaitheamh na bliana, oibreoidh sé le grúpaí pobail áitiúil ar fud na tíre, agus cabhróidh sé le taispeántas a chur le chéile d’fhonn ról na Gaillimhe sa Chogadh Mór agus i Réabhlóid na hÉireann a cheiliúradh. Dúirt an Dr Mary Harris, Léachtóir Sinsearach le Stair in OÉ Gaillimh agus Comhordaitheoir Chlár Comórtha 1916 OÉ Gaillimh: “Ba i gCo. na Gaillimhe a tharla an slógadh is mó lasmuigh de Bhaile Átha Cliath i rith Sheachtain na Cásca 1916, áit ar éirigh os cionn 600 fear agus bean amach. Ba é aisling na Poblachta a bhí mar threoir ag cuid acu, bhí cuid eile spreagtha ag leasú chóras na talún. Sna blianta roimhe sin, áfach, bhí íomhá níos rómánsúla d’Iarthar na hÉireann acu siúd a bhí bainteach le hathbheochan na Gaeilge agus leis an athbheochan Angla-Éireannach; dar leo bhí sé mar stór den fhíorchultúr Gaelach. Leis an gclár comórtha seo déantar scrúdú ar imeachtaí 1916 ó pheirspictíochtaí éagsúla ar leibhéal áitiúil, réigiúnach agus náisiúnta.” Chun tuilleadh eolais a fháil faoi imeachtaí OÉ Gaillimh chun Éirí Amach 1916 a chomóradh téigh chuig www.nuigalway.ie/anationrising. -Críoch-

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New Online Treatment Programme to help People Cope with Persistent Fatigue after Cancer

New Online Treatment Programme to help People Cope with Persistent Fatigue after Cancer-image

Friday, 2 October 2015

The School of Psychology at NUI Galway, with the support of Cancer Care West is currently recruiting people experiencing persistent fatigue since the completion of cancer treatment (treatment completed at least three months ago). A new online programme called REFRESH (Recovery from Cancer-Related Fatigue) has been developed at NUI Galway to help people learn how to better manage fatigue symptoms following cancer treatment. The programme was developed as part of four years of research into cancer-related fatigue by Cancer Care West and Hardiman Scholar, Teresa Corbett who launched the programme with Cancer Care West CEO, Richard Flaherty recently. Over the last three years, Ms Corbett has met with individuals who have persistent and lingering fatigue after cancer. Fatigue is one of the most debilitating and frustrating symptoms patients endure following cancer treatment. For some, these symptoms can last for months or even years after treatment. This can have an emotional and functional impact on peoples’ lives and such overwhelming fatigue can hold people back from resuming ‘normal life’ after cancer. The REFRESH trial will provide eight free online treatment sessions to people in the comfort of their own home. The content is based on the principles of cognitive-behavioural therapy, a psychological therapy that has proven to be effective in the management of symptoms such as fatigue. The online sessions will focus on what people do and think in response to their fatigue symptoms. Participants will be provided with instructions on a range of activity-pacing techniques to encourage more consistent levels of activity from day-to-day. Useful relaxation techniques and how to sleep better will also be provided. Teresa Corbett, co-ordinator of the study at NUI Galway, said: “I have met so many people who are fatigued after cancer treatment. Often they feel frustrated and confused about their symptoms. Programmes like this can be beneficial. Unfortunately, people often feel that they do not get the support they need to re-adjust to life after cancer. We want to help people to learn skills to enable them to move on with their lives. In this trial, we will offer our programme to adults who have completed anti-cancer treatment for any type of cancer.” Ms Corbett added, “We are very keen to keep this online study personal, so that people know there is a supportive team behind it. Online programmes can allow many people to access high quality care from their own home, but we know how important it is to have human contact too.” The study is open to people throughout Ireland and will take place over the coming months. General Practioners and cancer support networks around the country are encouraged to get in touch and refer suitable people with fatigue to the study. For further information contact Teresa Corbett, School of Psychology at NUI Galway on nuigrefresh@gmail.com or visit the website https://nuigrefresh.wordpress.com/ -Ends-

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ERC Research Group Attracting World-class Engineers to NUI Galway

ERC Research Group Attracting World-class Engineers to NUI Galway-image

Monday, 5 October 2015

Dr Emily Porter has been awarded the prestigious postdoctoral fellowship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to join a large European Research Council project at NUI Galway. This two-year fellowship is awarded to one of Canada’s most promising researchers with leading edge scientific and research skills. Dr Porter is a recent PhD in Electrical Engineering graduate of McGill University, Montreal, Canada, where she studied microwave radar for breast health monitoring. She will join the ERC research group in the new Translation Research Facility at University Hospital Galway, a custom-build facility to enable state-of-the-art medical research. She will be supervised by Dr Martin O’Halloran, a Science Foundation Ireland Investigator, who recently secured over €1.8 million from the European Research Council to examine the dielectric properties of human tissue, as a platform for the development of new medical devices. Working alongside NUI Galway’s Dr Róisín Dwyer and Professor Michael Kerin in the Lambe Institute for Translational Research, Dr Porter will develop improved methods for measuring the dielectric properties of biological tissue. These properties are of fundamental importance to understanding the interaction of electromagnetic fields with the human body. In particular, these quantities determine the absorption of electromagnetic fields in human tissues. Dielectric property research is extremely relevant to the advancement of electromagnetic medical devices for the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers and other diseases, and will provide a basis for her colleagues at the Translational Research Facility to investigate and apply such techniques. -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tralee

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Tralee-image

Monday, 5 October 2015

Secondary school students interested in studying at NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Tralee on Thursday, 15 October. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Brandon Hotel, Tralee, Co. Kerry. The evening will begin with short talks about NUI Galway and some of the 60 courses it offers. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in-part due to a suite of innovative programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a suite of Arts degree programmes including Drama, Creative Writing and Human Rights, an Energy Systems Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers, and a Marine Science degree. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a Bachelor of Commerce (Global Experience), Bachelor in Children’s Studies and the new Bachelor of Arts (Joint Honours). Celine O’Donovan, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, said: “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to County Kerry, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Tralee is a perfect opportunity for prospective students to meet current students and lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit for them.” To find out more about the information evening in Tralee, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Johanna Walsh on 086 7851730 or johanna.walsh@nuigalway.ie. -Ends-

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Soft in the head, but how soft?

Soft in the head, but how soft?-image

Monday, 5 October 2015

NUI Galway applied mathematician collaborates with Chinese researchers to find brain matter is softer than a gelatine gel, and may have promising results for neurosurgery A team of Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing has collaborated with an applied mathematician at NUI Galway to measure how soft brain matter really is. The researchers were able to determine that brain matter is extremely soft, even softer than common gelatine. The study appears in the October issue of Biomechanics and Modelling in Mechanobiology. The research was carried out by generating ‘acoustic beams’ on the surface of the brain, and focusing the beams to interact at a location inside the brain. The interaction amplified the magnitude of the beams and eventually a sound wave was launched in the bulk of a brain. The sound wave was then observed in an ultrafast image through an ultrasound scanner, similar to those used in obstetrics. The speed of the wave was measured, and then related to stiffness of the brain matter through mathematical equations, like the pitch of a plucked string can be related to its tension. The connection between wave speed and stiffness was made through advanced modelling and simulations, which were mainly carried out at NUI Galway. Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics at NUI Galway and affiliated with the International Brain Mechanics and Trauma Lab at Oxford University said: “Previously I had compared the brain to glue by testing cubic samples of the brain. During this study the brain was fully intact and compared to a very, very soft gelatine gel, basically a wobbly liquid.” Results from the research showed that brain matter is at least three times softer than a gelatine gel. This extreme softness helps explain why brain matter is so susceptible to impacts and rapid accelerations of the head, such as those occurring in sporting accidents, car accidents or following a bomb blast. The research has promising results for neurosurgery, if it can be used to measure the stiffness of healthy tissue compared to that of brain tumours. At the moment neurosurgeons have to rely on crude estimates to determine the extent of a brain tumour, as it is visually undistinguishable from the surrounding healthy tissue. First they remove a part of the skull to access the brain, and then use finger palpation to estimate how soft or hard a region is, before deciding which part to remove, a procedure which has barely improved in the last 100 years. For more information contact Professor Michel Destrade, School of Mathematics, Statistics and Applied Mathematics, NUI Galway on michel.destrade@nuigalway.ie or 091 492344. To view the paper visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10237-015-0658-0  -Ends-

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NUI Galway Researchers Win Prestigious Pain Prizes

NUI Galway Researchers Win Prestigious Pain Prizes -image

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Two NUI Galway PhD students were awarded first place medals at the Irish Pain Society Annual Scientific Meeting which took place in Dublin recently. The medals were awarded to Marie Fitzgibbon from Oola, Co. Limerick and Hannah Durand from Galway City. The research poster presentations were judged by a panel of international experts who commended the high quality of the research. Researchers from the Centre for Pain Research and Galway Neuroscience Centre at NUI Galway have had an outstanding record of success in this competition over the years, being among the prize winners on every occasion. Marie Fitzgibbon, a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Discipline of Physiology, won the Pre-Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Peripheral inhibition of FAAH attenuates formalin-evoked nociceptive responding in a mouse model of IFN-α-induced analgesia.’ Marie’s research, supervised by Dr Michelle Roche and Professor David Finn, involves the investigation of mechanisms underlying co-existent mood and pain disorders as well as the identification of future therapeutic targets. Marie’s research is funded by Molecular Medicine Ireland Clinical and Translational Research Scholars Programme and Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Project. Hannah Durand, a first-year PhD candidate in the School of Psychology, won the Clinical Pain Research Medal for her presentation ‘Persistent and recurrent pain in childhood: Patterns of childhood chronic pain over two years (PRIME-C).’ Hannah’s research, supervised by Dr Siobhan O'Higgins and Dr Brian McGuire, examined the characteristics of children who reported chronic pain at more than one time point in the PRIME-C survey, which evaluates the prevalence, impact, and cost of chronic pain for 5–12 year old children living in Ireland. PRIME-C is funded by the Health Research Board Interdisciplinary Capacity Enhancement Award. Leader of the Galway Neuroscience Centre and Co-Director of NUI Galway’s Centre for Pain Research, said: “We are delighted to see NUI Galway researchers win these prestigious prizes for their work. Our pain research aims to advance the understanding and treatment of chronic pain, a major unmet clinical need affecting at least 20% of the population.”   The meeting also witnessed the launch of the new Irish Pain Research Network (IPRN), a new initiative that will run as a special interest group of the Irish Pain Society. Professor Rolf-Detlef Treede, President of the International Association for the Study of Pain, launched the new research network, together with Professor David Finn, incoming President of the Irish Pain Society. The aim of IPRN is to bring together all active pain researchers on the island of Ireland for the purposes of sharing research results and ideas and facilitating cross-institutional collaboration in the area of pain research. -Ends-

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NUI Galway Retain Title as Most Biodiverse Campus

NUI Galway Retain Title as Most Biodiverse Campus -image

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Volunteers recorded 628 species on campus in 24 hours  For the second year running,NUI Galway has won the top award for most biodiverse campus at Ireland’s Intervarsity BioBlitz competition, beating off stiff competition from UL, UCC, and Maynooth University. Over a 24 hour period, volunteers combed the University’s campus and recorded a total of 628 species. Last year the University recorded 581 species. With extensive semi-natural habitats across the NUI Galway estate, the BioBlitz teams logged 324 plants and tree species, 91 mosses, 34 bird species, 31 terrestrial and freshwater slugs and snails, 29 flies, 15 mammals,14 butterflies and moths, 14 diatoms, 13 beetles, 12 terrestrial and freshwater bugs, 11 fungi, 10 caddisflies and 10 ants/bees and wasps, 3 millipedes and 3 spiders, 2 lichens, 2 leeches, and 2 worms and a fish, earwig, mayfly, grasshopper, woodlouse, water hoglouse, mite and a flatworm. Along with NUI Galway staff, students and graduates, volunteers included staff and students from GMIT, and members of the public. Ireland’s BioBlitz is designed to increase public awareness of the variety of life in Ireland, and to highlight some of the ecological services that biodiversity provides to enhance our quality of life at a global and local level. The Bioblitz demonstrates the high level of skill and expertise necessary to study many aspects of Ireland’s biological diversity. It also demonstrates the importance of being able to survey and identify plants and animals as these are important aspects of Ireland’s biodiversity and skills that are taught at NUI Galway. Dr Caitriona Carlin of the Applied Ecology Unit at NUI Galway, said: “The win reflects the wonderful variety of life on campus and the effort of the recorders in being able to identify so much wildlife - and it was great fun!” This initiative was supported by NUI Galway’s School of Natural Sciences, the Buildings Office and the Green Campus team. NUI Galway’s statistics from the BioBlitz competition can be viewed at http://www.biodiversityireland.ie/intervarsity-bioblitz-2015-final-result/. -Ends-

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