Éagothroime Sláinte go Forleathan i Measc Leanaí ag Aois Scoile in Éirinn

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Tugtar léiriú ar an éagothroime sláinte i measc leanaí in Éirinn i dtuarascáil a d'fhoilsigh an tIonad Taighde um Chothú Sláinte, OÉ Gaillimh inniu. Seo an dara tuarascáil náisiúnta ón Suirbhé ar Iompraíocht Sláinte i Leanaí ag Aois Scoile (HBSC) "Éagothroime Sláinte i measc Leanaí ag Aois Scoile in Éirinn". Den chéad uair tá scrúdú déanta ar phatrúin sláinte, ar iompraíocht sláinte agus ar fholláine i measc leanaí ón Lucht Siúil, leanaí inimirceacha, leanaí a bhfuil míchumas agus tinneas ainsealach orthu agus leanaí i scoileanna faoi mhíbhuntáiste, agus tá comparáid déanta idir iad agus leanaí eile. I measc phríomhthorthaí an tsuirbhé tá rátaí arda úsáidte alcóil i measc cailíní agus buachaillí ón Lucht Siúil, agus rátaí ísle meisce i measc buachaillí inimirceacha; thuairiscigh leanaí ó scoileanna faoi mhíbhuntáiste nach raibh aiste bia chomh scamhardach sin acu agus fuarthas amach go bhfuil leibhéil arda leatroma bulaíochta i measc cailíní ón Lucht Siúil, inimircigh agus leanaí a bhfuil míchumas nó tinneas ainsealach orthu. Is lú seans go mothódh daltaí ón Lucht Siúil, ó theaghlaigh inimirceacha agus daltaí a bhfuil míchumas nó tinneas ainsealach orthu go nglacann daltaí eile leo agus is lú seans go mbeadh triúr cairde nó níos mó ná sin ag cailíní sna grúpaí daltaí sin, go háirithe. Ba spéisiúil an rud é gur beag difríocht a aithníodh idir na grúpaí ó thaobh a gcaidrimh lena dtuismitheoirí. Dúirt an Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn ó Ionad Taighde um Chothú Sláinte OÉ Gaillimh: "Is tuarascáil cheannródaíoch í seo a thugann dúshlán na tuairime atá againn maidir le héagothroime agus le héagsúlacht in Éirinn. Bhí a fhios againn go raibh éagothroime sláinte ann i measc daoine fásta ach ceapadh go raibh níos mó comhionannais ann idir leanaí – ach ní hamhlaidh atá ar chor ar bith. Tá deacrachtaí níos mó ag grúpaí áirithe leanaí ná mar atá ag grúpaí eile, agus baineann an fhadhb seo linn uile". Díríodh ar leanaí scoile ó rang 5 go dtí an 5ú bliain, agus ba é an chéad uair é ar cuireadh na difríochtaí agus na cosúlachtaí maidir le sláinte ghinearálta agus folláine, úsáid substaintí, iompraíocht cothaithe agus bia, gníomhaíocht fhisiciúil, foréigean agus gortuithe, dearcadh i leith na scoile agus an caidreamh le tuismitheoirí agus le cairde ar taifead go córasach. Ag fáiltiú di roimh an tuarascáil, dúirt Mary Wallace T.D., An tAire Stáit sa Roinn Sláinte agus Leanaí a bhfuil freagracht ar leith uirthi maidir le Cothú Sláinte agus Sábháilteacht Bia: "Tá sé tábhachtach taifead a choinneáil ar an gcaoi a bhfuil ár gcuid leanaí. Cabhróidh sin linn tuiscint níos fearr a fháil ar na réimsí ar cheart dúinn ár n-iarrachtaí a bheith dírithe orthu. Táimid tiomanta d'fhianaise taighde a úsáid chun cur lenár gcur chuige i leith an chuimsithe shóisialta". Tá an suirbhé de chuid HBSC Éireann lonnaithe san Ionad Taighde um Chothú Sláinte, OÉ Gaillimh ó 1994 agus is féidir gach tuarascáil agus gach alt a íoslódáil ó www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc - críoch -

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Widespread Health Inequality Among School Children in Ireland

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

The extent of health inequalities among children in Ireland has been revealed by a report released today by the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway. This is the second national report from the Irish Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study "Inequalities in Health among School-aged Children in Ireland". For the first time, patterns in health, health behaviour and wellbeing among - children from the Travelling Community, immigrant children, children with disabilities and chronic illnesses, and children in disadvantaged schools - have been studied in comparison to other children. Key findings include elevated rates of alcohol use among girls and boys from the Travelling Community, and low rates of drunkenness among immigrant boys; children from disadvantaged schools reporting poorer diets and higher levels of bully victimisation among Traveller girls, immigrants and children with a disability or chronic illness. Students from the Travelling Community, from immigrant families and with a disability or chronic illness are less likely to feel accepted by other students and girls in particular are less likely to have three or more friends. Interestingly, very few differences are identified between groups in terms of their relationships with parents. Dr Saoirse Nic Gabhainn of NUI Galway's Health Promotion Research Centre, said: "This is a landmark report which challenges our assumptions in relation to inequality and diversity in Ireland. We knew there were inequalities in health among adults but it was thought that children were more equal - this is simply not the case. Some groups of children are having a more difficult time than others, and this is an issue for all of us". Focusing on children from 5th class to 5th year, all of whom are in school, this is the first time that differences and similarities in general health and well-being, substance use, diet and food behaviour, physical activity, violence and injuries, perceptions of school and relationships with parents and friends have been systematically documented. Welcoming the report, Ms Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children with special responsibility for Health Promotion and Food Safety, said: "It is important to document how our children are doing. This will help us better understand where our efforts need to be focussed. We are committed to using research evidence to inform our approach to social inclusion". The HBSC Ireland study has been based at the Health Promotion Research Centre, NUI Galway since 1994 and all reports and articles are available for download from www.nuigalway.ie/hbsc -ends-

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New Research into Use of Stem Cell Therapy to Fight Blindness

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A new collaboration between the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway and Dr David Kent, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Aut Even Private Hospital, Kilkenny, aims to investigate the therapeutic potential of adult stem cells in combating the loss of vision in diseases such as Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). "AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in the over 50s. It is estimated the condition affects over 60,000 adults here in Ireland. The WHO has stated that the instances of AMD will triple in the next 25 years as our population ages, however there is currently no cure for the condition and awareness remains low", said Avril Daly, Head of Public Affairs at Fighting Blindness. She added: "Irish researchers are making great inroads in discovering the causes and potential treatments for AMD and we at Fighting Blindness strongly support Dr Kent and REMEDI in this important project and wish them every success". Amy Lynch, a Ph.D. student in REMEDI, NUI Galway, will investigate the therapeutic potential of stem cells to regenerate retinal cells in the macula area of the eye. Amy's project will be based around the determination of efficacy in an in vivo model of macular degeneration, where she will avail of the in-house expertise in stem cells and delivery in REMEDI and will be supported with strong clinical and scientific guidance from both Dr Kent and Professor Frank Barry, Scientific Director, REMEDI. Des Kenny, CEO of the National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) said: "We are very excited about the contribution this project will make to supporting people with sight loss in this country. We were delighted many years ago to have been able to support David Kent's choice of specialisation into this very important aspect of significant sight loss". According to Professor Barry, "REMEDI is very focused on developing novel strategies for treating human disease using the stem cell and gene therapy technologies we have developed at NUI Galway. This project is very important to us because of the high incidence of this condition in Ireland and worldwide. We are delighted to initiate the project in collaboration with Dr Kent and will benefit greatly from his clinical and research expertise in AMD. We also welcome the input from Fighting Blindness and the NCBI, both of whom have done a great deal to promote the research effort in Ireland in diseases of the eye". Further details of AMD can be found at www.amd.ie. REMEDI is an SFI funded research institute at the National Centre for Biomedical Engineering Science located at NUI Galway www.remedi.ie. -ends-

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NUI Galway Opens its Doors for Open Day 2008

Monday, 6 October 2008

The NUI Galway Open Day will take place from 9am to 3pm on Thursday, 9 October, 2008. Thousands of secondary school students from all over Ireland are expected to attend, along with their parents and teachers. Caroline Loughnane, NUI Galway's Director of Marketing and Communications and one of the organisers of the Open Day, says: "This is an excellent opportunity for anyone considering applying to NUI Galway to talk to staff and students, find out more about the course you are interested in, explore the campus and decide whether the University is right for you". "The Open Day also gives students the opportunity to experience university life first hand" she added. "Visitors can see our full range of subject specific exhibition stands in Áras na Mac Léinn, our student centre, and check out our programme of interactive taster sessions on a wide range of subjects that run throughout the day". Some of the newer programmes on offer at NUI Galway include: BEng/MEng in Engineering Innovation - Electronic. This programme aims to provide graduates with specialised multi-disciplinary skills to start their own business, centred on the development of innovative, niche, market-led, electronic products. BE (Hons) and MEngSc in Sports and Exercise Engineering. The first of its kind in Ireland, this programme will provide graduates with the skills and expertise to design systems and devices for the evaluation and execution of sport performance across a broad range of sports. BSC (Hons) in Podiatry. This course consists of the study and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle, knee, leg and hip, the only such course available in the Republic of Ireland. The majority of study will be undertaken in the state of the art podiatry clinic which is to be developed by the HSE at the Merlin Park Hospital site. BA CONNECT Programme. With a radical departure from traditional Arts degrees, the BA CONNECT Programme offers seven four-year degrees designed to increase the employability of graduates by developing distinctive skills and creating connections with life beyond the campus. The degrees are: BA with Children's Studies; BA with Creative Writing; BA with Film Studies; BA with Human Rights; BA with Irish Studies; BA with Theatre and Performance; and BA with Women's Studies. Tours of the campus will give an insight in to university life, and the top class facilities offered at NUI Galway including the brand new €22 million Sports Complex located by the Quincentennial Bridge. The 6,500 sq.m. eco-friendly sports and leisure complex includes a 25 metre 6-lane swimming pool with moveable floor, squash and racquetball courts, a three-court basketball hall, multipurpose studios, a substantial gym and a high-tech climbing wall. Operators, the Kingfisher Fitness Group, who already run six successful leisure centres across the country, are offering NUI Galway students significant discounts for this state-of-the-art facility. Joe Cosgrove, Managing Director of Kingfisher Fitness Club, says: "Whether it's signing up for a year's gym membership, or popping by for a 'Splash and Dash', we have offers to suit everyone's sporting and fitness needs". With over 40 clubs and 85 societies at NUI Galway, there is something to suit all interests. Representatives from all clubs and societies will be available on the day in order for visitors to find out more. Representatives will also be at hand from the ALIVE Volunteering Programme, which aims to support and promote volunteering on campus, to talk about the wide range of volunteer opportunities available for students. Visitors can book a place at the Open Day and receive a programme in advance by logging on to www.nuigalway.ie/openday or you can just turn up on the day. For further information contact the Schools Liaison Office on 091 492814, email mary.coyle@nuigalway.ie or visit http://www.nuigalway.ie/openday/ -Ends-

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New High Speed Broadband for Gaeltacht

Monday, 6 October 2008

- NUI Galway Extends Knowledge-Economy in Gaeltacht - A new high speed telecommunications network, which will result in high speed broadband services, is being brought to the Galway Gaeltacht as a result of a joint initiative undertaken by NUI Galway, HEAnet and Údarás na Gaeltachta. The new network, which will be operated by AirSpeed Telecom, will support in excess of 300Mb and will be made available at seven of NUI Galway's Gaeltacht centres* and available for business users within the Galway Gaeltacht region. These services, to be launched today (Monday, 6 October, 2008) by Minister Éamon Ó Cuív T.D., will strengthen the University and its academic partners in delivering their core teaching and research mission. The work of Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, NUI Galway's Irish language arm, will be facilitated, as the new services help it to 'collapse distance' and integrate its various units. Kieran Loftus, Director of Computer Services, NUI Galway, said: "High Speed Networking has featured in NUI Galway campus life for several years, but our presence also extends along the Western seaboard. Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge has centres in locations throughout the Gaeltacht. The marine science research activities of the Martin Ryan Institute at its Carna location will benefit as will those of the Environmental Change Institute at Mace Head in Connemara and Carron in the Burren, Co. Clare. NUI Galway's knowledge region partner GMIT will also benefit from provision at its sites in Castlebar and Letterfrack". Kieran Loftus added: "It is not just NUI Galway that will benefit from these new services. Our academic partners, in both teaching and research, will be able to access our resources. We hope that our presence will stimulate new and advanced activities in these communities. HEAnet services are being provided in a way which will make it easier to provide services locally, perhaps acting as a catalyst and an enabler for the provision of good broadband services to these rural communities". The new communications network should make a significant difference to companies and organisations operating in the Galway Gaeltacht region, according to Pádraig Ó hAoláin, CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, which part-funded the service. "Broadband is like air and water to any modern business nowadays. It is simply essential. Having high speed access available in these Gaeltacht areas can only help retain businesses, encourage growth and attract others to the region. This project was also a joint venture with NUI Galway, who needed high speed network to their Gaeltacht outreach campuses. The provision of third-level accredited courses in the Gaeltacht is central to the Údarás' strategy and part of the bigger picture to help enterprise promotion for the area. This new network also addresses the lack of broadband connectivity in the southwest Connemara area and this investment by an tÚdarás and HEAnet now means that a high speed service is available to businesses in the area", he said. John Boland, CEO, HEAnet, said in advance of the launch: "HEAnet is bringing the power of the national and international research networks to these remote but important sites. This opens up a very fast and very powerful two-way communication channel and globally connects these valuable resources, linking the Irish sites seamlessly to the other 3,000 research institutions across Europe". Liam O'Kelly, Managing Director, AirSpeed Telecom, says: "AirSpeed Telecom is delighted to extend its network infrastructure in the Galway, Mayo and Clare region. Our licensed radio network is ideally suited to solving the geographic and cost challenges of providing high bandwidth telecommunications services in the region". ENDS

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