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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Global Study Finds ‘Salt in Moderation’ is Key to Health

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

The Mary Robinson Centre to Host International Symposium 2016

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

NUI Galway Receives Major Book Collection about the Williamite War

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

NUI Galway to Host International Conference on Natural and Constructed Wetlands

News Archive

Friday, 20 May 2016

NUI Galway researcher launches final report on home evictions in the 28 EU Member States, including Ireland, and calls for better legal protection for those at risk Few EU Member States (including Ireland) monitor and record evictions in a systematic or holistic way - preventing an effective response In Spain, Ireland and the UK, most evictions are from private rented housing Limited reliable public data on legal evictions in half of EU Member States Courts should be obliged to involve social support agencies in repossession cases Significant absence of research, data or reports on illegal evictions from the informal or ‘black’ private rented housing market, particularly in relation to documented and undocumented migrants, asylum-seekers, Roma, Travellers, and some people with disabilities NUI Galway today launched the results of an EU-wide study on home evictions across all tenures. The report shows that evictions arising from increased rents are often greater than mortgage evictions, even in Ireland. The report also highlighted the lack of human rights impact in eviction cases and calls for an EU-wide adoption of best practices, such as Poland’s ‘No evictions to nowhere’ policy. The two-year research pilot, ‘Promoting protection of the right to housing - Homelessness prevention in the context of evictions’ was led by Dr Padraic Kenna, Project Director and lecturer in the School of Law and Centre for Housing Law, Rights and Policy at NUI Galway. It was a collaborative project with a number of European Universities and agencies, including FEANTSA – the European Federation of National Organisations working with the Homeless. Commenting on the Final Report, Dr Padraic Kenna said: “The findings of this research show the need to integrate accepted eviction-related housing rights standards into national and EU legal and policy norms. Creating a legal obligation on courts and other agencies, involved in possession proceedings, to promptly engage with housing and social support agencies would be a valuable first step in preventing homelessness.” In 2008 the financial crisis had a major impact on housing systems across Europe, with dramatic increases in mortgage arrears, debt, rental costs and utility arrears. EU Member States responded in different ways, within both their financial and housing systems. This research covered the period after the crisis. The Final Report examines and analyses available data and trends on evictions, identifying risk factors, links with homelessness, and the availability and effectiveness of preventative interventions. National experts across the 28 EU States provided all available local data and information. The Report found that constitutional, human rights and consumer law protection on the inviolability of and respect for home, is applied in a fragmentary and inconsistent manner, thus denying EU citizens equal access to their rights. An unknown number of evictions take place outside the judicially supervised process, affecting many people with deficits in the local language, support networks or resources, particularly those in the informal or ‘black’ rental market. There is a significant absence of research, data or reports on illegal evictions from the informal or black rental market, particularly in relation to documented and undocumented migrants, asylum-seekers, Roma, Travellers, some people with disabilities, and others. Contrary to popular assumptions, in Spain, Ireland and the UK, most evictions are from private rented housing rather than mortgaged properties. EU data showed that the highest housing cost overburden in 2013 among poor households occurred in Greece (91%), while some 50% or more of poor households had utility arrears in Bulgaria and Croatia, with over 60% in Greece and Hungary, a significant eviction risk factor. The most comprehensive analysis of eviction risk factors is found in Denmark, with studies on risk of eviction among one million households in private and public rented housing. This and other research shows that evicted households initially seek help and support from family and friends. Up to one quarter may eventually rely on homeless services, which are only widely available in north and western European countries and cities. The critical issue is preventing those evicted from becoming homeless. The Final Report suggests that access to rapid rehousing schemes, protected minimum incomes and the possibility of “fresh start” options are key factors. Debt advice and legal assistance are most effective measures in preventing rental evictions. In terms of effective preventative interventions, the report highlights adequate supply of affordable housing, legal advice and debt restructuring as significant. The Final Report sets out eighteen recommendations for Member States and the EU, ranging from protection and promotion of housing rights, improved housing policies, responsible lending and areas requiring further research. (See Notes to Editors below). To read the full report visit: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=738&langId=en&pubId=7892&type=2&furtherPubs=yes ENDS

Friday, 20 May 2016

NUI Galway’s societies recently celebrated a very successful year with the President of NUI Galway Dr Jim Browne in a presentation acknowledging their numerous national successes during the college year. Riona Hughes, NUI Galway Societies Officer, said: “NUI Galway societies continue to bring new life to the University, surpassing the achievements of previous years and playing a vital role in shaping students as capable, contributing and active citizens able to play key roles in our world’s future. Evidently the unique work of societies not only enriches campus life but also within the community at a local and national level.” Dr Browne praised the societies on the four awards that they brought home from the Board of Irish College Societies (BICS) National Society Awards in April, where they topped the leader-board with 40 wins since the inaugural awards ceremony in 1996. Winners from NUI Galway this year were: the Medical Society for ‘Best Society in an Academic, Cultural and Social Field’; The French Society’s Ciaran Mac Choncarraige for ‘Best Fresher’; The Draíocht Society for ‘Best Society in a Civic and Charity Field’; and PotterSoc’s Triwizard Cup for ‘Best Intervarsity’. The Rover Society was commended on their win at the National Rover Scouts Intervarsities, and on their ‘Community Achievement Award’ from Scouting Ireland. The society has received praise in recent months for their work helping the homeless, in association COPE. Other national awards this year included two wins for Dramsoc at the Irish Student Drama Awards. Dylan McCormack won the award for ‘Best Actor’ for his role in ‘Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me’, which also brought home the prize for ‘Best Production’. Neil Delaney of Galway University Musical Society (GUMS) won Best Male Performance at the first Musical Intervarsities in UCD in April. The Choral Society also had a hugely successful year with their three choirs taking home trophies at the Cork Choral Festival, Kiltimagh Choral Festival, Sligo Choral Festival and at Choir Factor 2016, as well as winning RTÉ’s Lyric FM’s Choirs for Christmas Competition. NUI Galway has 116 Student Societies, offering students and staff opportunities to meet people with similar interests, try new things and have fun. The societies range from artistic and performing groups to academic ones linked to university departments, as well as many with social, cultural or political focuses. This year the Societies Office has been cultivating a new emphasis on health and wellbeing, with the creation of a new sub-branch of societies promoting positive lifestyle choices. -Ends-

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Mary McPartlan, Teacher, Traditional Artist in Residence, Director of the successful Arts in Action programme at the Centre for Theatre and Performance, has been appointed 2016-2017 Fulbright Ireland Ambassador at NUI Galway. A high profile professional singer, her albums include, the award winning ‘The Holland Handkerchief’, ‘Petticoat Loose’ and the newly release ‘From Mountain to Mountain’ Mary was a Fulbright Scholar to the Institute of Irish American Studies, Lehman College City University of New York in 2012-2013. While in New York, she taught a module on Irish Women Traditional Singers since the 1950s in Ireland and undertook research in Irish song material in New York and Kentucky. She also gave a series of lectures on Irish contemporary playwrights and plays. As part of her research, Mary visited Berea College, Kentucky, to explore the work of American folk music singer, songwriter, and Appalachian dulcimer player Jean Ritchie, who was a central figure in the history of the American Folk revival from the 1950’s onward. A Fulbright scholar herself, Jean visited Ireland on her 1952 Award to trace the links between American ballads and Irish songs. While on her own Fulbright scholarship in the US, Mary had the opportunity to visit Jean’s home in Kentucky where she sang and played music with Jean’s family and friends. Mary’s recent album ‘From Mountain to Mountain’ pays tribute to Jean Ritchie and the Ireland-Appalachian connection. Commenting, Silas House, novelist and writer in Kentucky, USA, said: “Mary’s own Fulbright journey culminated in the recording of the CD Mountain to Mountain. Mary’s journey in search of the evolution from across the Atlantic to Appalachia mirrored that of Jean Ritchie’s during her Fulbright in 1952, which also culminated in her album ‘Field Trip’.” Building on the Ritchie-Pickow archive housed in NUI Galway’s James Hardiman Library, and Mary’s Fulbright research, the ‘Jean Ritchie Scholarship’ was officially launched in 2015 by the University’s International Office celebrating its growing links with Berea College, Kentucky in the US. Since returning to Ireland, Mary has continues to teach and develop the Creative Arts at NUI Galway. Her ‘Fulbright Ireland Ambassador’ role is geared at growing awareness and understanding of Fulbright opportunities on campus so that other NUI Galway students, researchers and staff may follow in her footsteps and venture to the US to undertake study or research in their own area of expertise. Dr Dara FitzGerald, Executive Director, Fulbright Commission, said: “The Fulbright Commission is delighted that Mary McPartlan will act as NUI Galway Fulbright Ireland Ambassador. Mary is fully aware of the Fulbright experience, process and value. I know that she will bring her passion for Fulbright to engage with ‘Fulbrighters’ in the University and applicants wishing to apply for a Fulbright Award. Mary will also work with University officers and academic staff to promote NUI Galway and Fulbright links both in Ireland and the USA.” Several NUI Galway students and staff have been successful in their application for a Fulbright award in recent years. These include 2015-2016 Awardees: Gerard Wall, a lecturer in Microbiology at NUI Galway who recently returned from his Award at the University of Wyoming where he was developing detection devices for environmental monitoring; Méabh Ní Choileáin an NUI Galway graduate of Applied Communications, currently teaching Irish language at the Catholic University of America, Washington D.C. as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA); Síle Dolan a graduate of Irish at NUI Galway, currently a Fulbright FLTA at Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts; and Emma Lowry, a graduate of the Master’s in Language Education at NUI Galway, currently a FLTA at the University of Montana. As Fulbright Ambassador at NUI Galway, Mary will be available to take queries from those who would like to apply for 2017-2018 Fulbright Awards. She will be organising Fulbright activities on campus to increase awareness of these scholarship opportunities. If you wish to contact Mary in this capacity you can reach her at mary.mcpartlan@nuigalway.ie. The 2017-2018 Fulbright Irish Awards application period will open on 31 August 2016 with a deadline of 28 October 2016. See www.fulbright.ie for further details. -Ends-

Events Calendar

Upcoming Events Time / Date Location
Pint of Science Galway 19.00 Tuesday,
24 May 2016
Oslo Bar, Salthill
1916, Cinema and Revolution International Conference Wednesday,
25 May 2016
Huston School of Film & Digital Media
iBalance Croi Weight Management System 13.00 Wednesday,
25 May 2016
Aras Moyola MY 126 Classroom 3
Exercise 4 Health 12.15 Thursday,
26 May 2016
The Sports Pavilion, Dangan
Whitaker Seminar: Made to measure? Developing a creative sector index for the northern periphery of Europe 13.00 Thursday,
26 May 2016
CA110, Cairnes Building
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

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