Talk on student grant at NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Open Day

Talk on student grant at NUI Galway’s Postgraduate Open Day-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

SUSI (Student Universal Support Ireland), the national Awarding Authority for all higher and further education student grants, will be the feature talk at NUI Galway’s Autumn Postgraduate Open Day on Wednesday, 19 November, from 12-4pm in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn. This talk will provide students with an opportunity to gain information on the funding opportunities and application process available to them. The Open Day will showcase over 400 of NUI Galway’s full-time and part-time postgraduate programmes, including taught and research masters, and doctoral research options. The Open Day will focus on the benefits of doing a postgraduate programme and the practicalities of making an application. With over 3,500 postgraduate students currently attending NUI Galway, 70 information stands will provide details on postgraduate opportunities at the University, with academic staff and current students on hand to answer questions about specific courses. Information on scholarships, fees and other practical considerations will also be made available to prospective students on the day. Bríd Seoige, Senior Marketing Officer at NUI Galway, comments: “A postgraduate qualification broadens your skills-set, defines your areas of expertise, increases your specialist knowledge, and can improve your job prospects: over 91% of NUI Galway graduates are currently employed or are in further study within six months of graduating.” Throughout the day postgraduate students will have the option of attending talks on funding opportunities and applications available to them, career prospects and progression, CV clinics and there will also be information on how to apply for a postgraduate course. Irish graduates are ranked first in Europe in terms of how employers rank graduates, and postgraduate study boosts employability. The number of postgraduates in employment has grown consistently in recent years and NUI Galway’s well-established links with industry allows them to take the first step in building their career. NUI Galway offers a wide range of fourth level courses, developing programmes based on its traditional academic strengths of Arts, Social Sciences, Celtic Studies, Commerce, Medicine, Nursing, Health Science, Law, Engineering, Informatics and Science. These areas have been augmented with innovative research centres in areas as diverse as Biomedical Science and Engineering, International Human Rights, Digital Media & Film Studies, and Regenerative Medicine. To view NUI Galway’s suite of new and unique postgraduate programmes and to book your place at the Open Day visit  or simply call in on the day. To apply for an NUI Galway postgraduate course visit -Ends-

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NUI Galway to host Mass Marriage 2014 for Marriage Equality

NUI Galway to host Mass Marriage 2014 for Marriage Equality-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

NUI Galway’s GiG Soc (Gay In Galway Society) will host their debut Mass Marriage 2014 on Wednesday, 12 November from 10-3pm. The event will take place in the Bailey Allen Hall, Áras na Mac Léinn, NUI Galway. The main aim of the Mass Marriage is to get students on the Register of Electors in time for the Referendum in spring 2015. Sean Reilly, Co-Auditor of GiG Soc at NUI Galway, said: “We know that college students are in favour of Same-Sex Marriage. But we also know that the majority of them aren’t registered to vote. We hope to get that majority on the Register of Electors so they can use their vote to affect positive change for the LGBTQ community.” For one day only NUI Galway’s Bailey Allen Hall will be transformed into a wedding venue for Mass Marriage 2014. There will be a “minister” to carry out the wedding ceremonies where students can marry a person of their choice, irrespective of gender. Instead of students signing a Certificate of Marriage, they will sign a Voter Registration form, and there will also be an information point in the hall where students can check to see if they are already registered. “To a student who has grown up in the Noughties, the current system of Voter Registration seems very outdated”, continues Sean. “This is why a lot of people in the 18-24 age category do not register. With this event, we hope to take the chore out of registering, and have a lot of fun in the process.” For more information contact GiG Soc at -Ends-

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Audio-visual lecture on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’

Audio-visual lecture on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

The renowned musicologist and performer Mick Moloney will deliver an audio-visual lecture at NUI Galway on ‘The Evolution of Old Time American, Country, and Blue Grass Music’. The event takes place on Thursday, 13 November, at 6pm in the Kirwan Theatre at NUI Galway. Using recordings of historic music and song, Mick Moloney will reconstruct the background of American music traditions, tracing their Irish sources. The event is co-sponsored by the Moore Institute at NUI Galway and the University’s Arts in Action series. Professor Moloney is Global Distinguished Professor of Irish Studies and Music at New York University. His exceptional career has combined the roles of professional musician, musicologist, record producer, teacher and arts presenter. He holds a PhD in folklore. He is author of Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish American History Through Song and he has featured in documentaries Bringing It All Back Home and Out of Ireland. He was awarded the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest official honour a traditional artist can receive in the United States. -ends-

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Geographers cook up a storm for Geo Week at NUI Galway

Geographers cook up a storm for Geo Week at NUI Galway-image

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

As part of international Geography Awareness Week from 17-21 November, postgraduate students within NUI Galway’s Discipline of Geography have organised an eclectic programme of events around this year’s theme of ‘Geographies of Food’. Geo Week Ireland is an annual national event aimed to promote appreciation, understanding and awareness of geography and its relevance to society and education. The Geographical Society of Ireland is hosting its second national photographic competition on this years’ theme and has created a special webpage for students, teachers, community members and the general public to upload photographs around the themes of food growing, food exchange, food waste and food security. Dr Aaron Potito, Head of NUI Galway’s School of Geography and Archaeology, said: “GeoWeek Ireland promotes awareness, appreciation and understanding of geography through a huge variety of events and activities. Our postgraduates have been involved in GeoWeek since its inception and year-on-year there is a growing interest in the subject. This year our students have put together a broad range of events which shows there is a wonderful appetite for learning about food geographies in fun and exciting ways.”   Events this year include collaborations with the University’s Baking Society, the Organic Gardening Society, the Photo Society and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security Society. Among the many events taking place in NUI Galway during GeoWeek is a public panel discussion which is entitled ‘Food Futures on a Plate’, comprised of food experts from Galway and further afield. Dr Frances Fahy, Head of the discipline of Geography at NUI Galway, said: “This year we are delighted to welcome Dr Laura Devaney from TCD and Jacinta Dalton from GMIT. We especially welcome JP Mahon, owner of EatGalway, to our public panel discussion.”   The panel discussion, ‘Food Futures on a Plate’, is open to the public and will take place in Cairnes Lecture Hall 3, St Anthony’s Building, NUI Galway, on Wednesday, 19 November at 2pm. For more information or to register for the discussion please email To find out more about the photographic competition visit -Ends-

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Winners of Science Video Competition Announced

Winners of Science Video Competition Announced-image

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Sligo schools scoop first prize in both categories The winners of the €3000 schools science video competition, ReelLIFE SCIENCE, are today announced as part of Science Week 2014. The primary school category winners are Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, with Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo taking first place at secondary school level. Primary and secondary schools from all over Ireland were challenged by NUI Galway to make entertaining and educational short videos on a range of science topics. The challenge was taken up by thousands of students in 24 counties around Ireland, producing more than 250 three-minute science videos, in both English and Irish, for the competition. Selecting the best videos to share in the €3000 prize fund were judges Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, broadcaster and Lecturer in Mathematics at University College Dublin, Stephen Curry, Professor of Structural Biology at Imperial College London and Science writer with The Guardian, and Paul Clarke, St. Paul’s College, Raheny, winner of the SciFest National Final 2013 and Overall Winner of the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2014. The ReelLIFE SCIENCE team, led by NUI Galway’s Dr Enda O’Connell, were overwhelmed by the response of the schools. Judge Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin said: “I was astounded by the calibre of the videos from both the primary and secondary schools. It is wonderful to see the thought, preparation, fun, and learning that went into all of the videos and it is very encouraging to see students enjoying and communicating science.” Primary School Winners: The judges selected ‘The Secret Life of Honeybees’ produced by the 5th and 6th class students of Sooey National School, Co. Sligo, under the direction of their teacher Thomas Egan, as the best primary school video. The prize consisted of €1000 towards science resources for their school. Judge Professor Curry commented: “Sooey National School’s video had good science content, with a very, very funny script and the kids were clearly having a lot of fun which makes the film hugely appealing.” A video called ‘ChemKids’, examining this year’s Science Week theme ‘The Power of Science’, and made by all students, from junior infants to 6th class, of Scoil Eoin, Tahilla, Co. Kerry, finished in second place, winning €300 in the process. The third placed primary school video, ‘All You Need Are Worms’ was submitted by 4th class students of Rush and Lusk Educate Together National School in Dublin, winning €200. Also shortlisted were ‘The Digestive System’ by St. Patrick’s National School, Newbridge, Co. Kildare and ‘Bíodh an Fórsa Leat’ by Scoil Náisiúnta Iognáid, Gaillimh. Secondary School Winners: At secondary school level, the judges chose ‘The History of Medicine’ by Leaving Certificate student Julien Torrades from Summerhill College, Sligo, under the supervision of his Art teacher Jonathan Cassidy, as their winner. The video, described by Professor Curry as “a good use of stop-motion…with a nice sense of humour…covering an impressive amount of ground in a short space of time” earns €1000 for Summerhill College’s science programme. In second place, a video about Austrian physicist ‘Lise Meitner - the Science Hero that time forgot’ impressed the judges, winning €300 for Rosses Community School, Dungloe, Co. Donegal, while ‘Gravity in a Nutshell’ earned Causeway Comprehensive School, Co. Kerry, €200 and third place. Also shortlisted were ‘Vision - How We See the World’ by 5th year students from St. Andrew’s College, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, and ‘Alexander Fleming - Science Hero’ by Transition Year students from St. Marys School for Deaf Girls, Cabra, Dublin 7. An additional €250 publicly voted prize, was won by the video ‘Trees: Properties and Uses’ produced by the students of St Michael’s House Special National School, Ballymun, Dublin 9, with the help of their teacher Melanie McInerney. All the videos can be viewed at and will be shown to the general public as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival Exhibition, held in NUI Galway on Sunday, 23 November. The ReelLIFE SCIENCE initiative is supported by NUI Galway; the Science Foundation Ireland Discover programme, which seeks to promote the awareness and engagement of the Irish public with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM); the Biochemical Society Scientific Outreach programme; the EU FP-7 funded VISICORT research project; Medical Supply Company; and the NUI Galway School of Natural Sciences outreach programme Cell EXPLORERS. ReelLIFE SCIENCE is one of 800 events taking place around the country for Science Week (, which runs from November 9-16. -Ends-

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NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Kildare

NUI Galway to Hold Information Evening in Kildare-image

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to an information evening in Kildare on Thursday, 20 November. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in the Osprey Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. 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 new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market. Unique programmes include a Bachelor of Arts in Human Rights, an Energy Engineering degree which is taught in the University’s new Engineering Building, Ireland’s largest School of Engineering, and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. Visitors to the information evening will also get information on NUI Galway’s newest degree programmes, a BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, BA in Journalism, BA in Science (Physics- degree options in Applied, Astrophysics, Biomedical or Theoretical) and a Bachelor of Commerce (Gaeilge). Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications 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 Kildare, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Naas 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 Kildare, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Officer, Siobhan Dorman on 086 0421591 or -Ends-

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Galway Science & Technology Festival Opens and Explores the Power of Science

Galway Science & Technology Festival Opens and Explores the Power of Science-image

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The 17th Galway Science and Technology Festival, part of National Science Week, opened on Monday 10th November and will run for two weeks culminating in the hugely popular Festival Exhibition on Sunday 23rd November at NUI Galway. Funded by main sponsor Medtronic, the Festival aims to increase the uptake and popularity of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects among young people, and will bring over 180 free shows to 35,000 primary and secondary school students over the next two weeks. The Festival will explore and celebrate the ‘Power of Science’ in schools, colleges, research institutes, companies and community centres across Galway City and County.  Children at Primary schools will be immersed in all things science with a fantastic line up of free shows including Origami Workshops learning about Origami structures for use in nano-technology and medical diagnostics, a Lego Education Workshop will introduce robotics to young children, Bug Doctor brings tarantulas and snakes into the classroom, the Science of Sound shows students how to make sound and test how it travels, Wibbly Wobbly Web, Fantastic DNA invloves extracting the DNA from a bananaand Little Cells introduces students to the concept of cells that form our body. Secondary school shows will feature live experiments in Scientific Sue’s Chemistry Show, True Physics shows students how to launch rockets and and learn about flight pressure, Dr Ken’s Circus reveals the scientific principles used by circus performers using gravity in their stunts, travel on a hovercraft in The Magic of Science with Terence Finnergan and Bend it like Beckham in James Soper’s Science Shows. NUI Galway will throw open its doors to schools providing educational tours to the Geology, Zoology and Marine Biology and Computer Musuems, the NCBES Roadshow looks at the exciting future of Biomedicine in Ireland, a visit to the School of Maths are running workshops in schools on how to genetically breed a superpet, the 3rd annual THREESIS Competition where researchers battle it out to get to the point in 3-minutes and visits to the  Sea Science exhibition presented by NUI Galway's Ryan Institute at Galway City Museum. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials will also hold workshops with children performing “surgery” to fix heart shaped biscuits with decorations representing biomaterials. The workshops will take place in AC201 on the Arts and Science concourse at 11am, 12pm, 1.30pm and 3pm. There is something science and technology for everyone at GMIT including Careers in Science – Live Online in the Classroom, Creating Software Apps and Online Market Opportunities, The Ocean and Us introduces students to the Awesome Atlantic in the Marine Resarch Laboratories, Build Your Own Satellite by GMIT’s Civic Engineering, Sustainable Energy goes to schools as part of the Green Schools initiative engaging engineering with the community, and workshops on Hydraulics/Structures/Surveying in the Engineering Labs. The Marine Institute in Renville, Oranmore is hosting an open day on Thursday 20th November and inviting secondary school students from Galway City and County to visit their facility. On the day there will be exhibits on display, a tour of the site and the opportunity to speak to Engineers regarding careers in marine engineering. Festival Chairman, Tom Hyland commented, “We are looking forward to a wonderful two week celebration of the Power of Science and invite everyone to join us on our final day Exhibition on Sunday 23rd November at NUI Galway. During the two weeks students the length and breadth of the county will be participating in demonstrations, shows and workshops all geared towards inspiring the students to develop an interest in the STEM subjects.”  He added “I would like to thank our main sponsor Medtronic who for the last 13 years has been a sterling sponsor of this event, and also greatly appreciate the support of our partners SFI Discover, Boston Scientific, Cisco, Galway Enterprise Board, NUI Galway, GMIT, Avaya, Hewlett Packard, Fidelity Investments, Creganna, Merit Medical, IDA Ireland, Galway County Council, The Marine Institute, Údarás na Gaeltachta and Enterprise Ireland who all help bring excitement and fun to science and technology for children and families across the city and county.” The Final Day Exhibition will take place at NUI Galway Campus on Sunday 23rd November and will host over 80 interactive stands and over 25 shows and workshops representing areas in research, education, industry and the environment. For students and families interested in seeing more of the shows and workshops that will be visiting schools, they will have an opportunity to see them on Sunday 23rd at the Festival Exhibition. The shows are free and advance booking is advised due to demand. Up to 70% of the Exhibition shows will be available to book at on Friday 14th November and the remainder will be available on the Exhibition day. Programme details available at  and the Festival Exhibition will open from 10am to 6pm on Sunday 23rd November. Bookings can be made at on Friday 14th November. Visit  for details of events nationwide or alternatively organise your own event – check out the ‘Get Involved’ guide Connect on Twitter @galwaysciencefe and on and use the hashtag #SciWk2014 and #GalSci2014 to join the conversation. ENDS

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Debating Science Issues 2015 Competition Open for Applications

Debating Science Issues 2015 Competition Open for Applications-image

Thursday, 13 November 2014

In conjunction with Ireland’s Science Week, Debating Science Issues (DSI) the cross border biomedical, bioethical project is being launched with an upper secondary school workshop series. NUI Galway-coordinated REDDSTAR leads the assemblage of collaborators delivering the schools’ science programme now in its eighth year. Although the workshop phase of the Debating Science Issues project is launched, several partners are still recruiting schools. The pre-competition workshops provide an open and impartial environment and challenge the students to consider the ethical impacts of contemporary research. After the school workshop, students work with their team and under their teacher’s supervision to prepare for a debate competition involving more than 36 schools across the island of Ireland to determine the 2015 All-Ireland winners. Debate adjudicators represent various stakeholders including science, communications/journalism, religion, medicine, ethics, patients, and interested publics. Debating Science Issues Coordinator, Danielle Nicholson said “As part of the Responsible Research and Innovation framework, Debating Science Issues builds bridges between the practice and end products of research and aims to meet the needs and values of the people it will ultimately affect- our young people. Debating Science Issues encourages students to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. This project addresses contemporary scientific issues such as lifestyle-related disease, stem cells, nanotechnology, genetically modified food, immunology practices, organ transplantation allocation, rare diseases and health and self-testing.” Collaborators for Debating Science Issues 2015 include REDDSTAR, an EU project coordinated at NUI Galway, the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute at DCU, AMBER at Trinity College, Insight at UCD, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre at UCC, Cork Institute of Technology, W5 in Belfast and University of Ulster, Coleraine. To find out more on the project visit -Ends-

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Parents Influence Children’s Tendency to Comfort Eat

Parents Influence Children’s Tendency to Comfort Eat-image

Friday, 14 November 2014

Findings from a research project at NUI Galway have provided new insights into the underlying causes of comfort eating. Comfort or emotional eating happens when we are not hungry but perhaps in need of stress relief or a reward. The study of over 500 people traced individuals eating habits back to their early childhood and particularly their parents responses to their emotions. Dr Jonathan Egan of NUI Galway presented the findings at the 44th Annual Psychological Society of Ireland Conference in Kilkenny yesterday (13 November). While the wide availability of convenience foods and an increasingly sedentary lifestyle are recognised as significant contributing factors to the spike in obesity rates, research is finding that psychosocial factors in childhood, such as abuse, lack of parental support, depression, may also play a role. “For many, if you are unable to express your emotions, the ‘solution’ is to comfort eat”, explains Dr Egan. “Children learn from an early age what emotions are acceptable within the household or not. If parents are caring and responsive to their children’s needs, while still being authoritative, our research indicates this leads to a healthy relationship with food. However, when a parent is overly dictatorial – ‘my way or the highway’ – children’s relationships with food can altered right into adulthood.” Combined with findings on the influence of permissive parenting, it seems that the degree of warmth and/or caring in the parent-child interaction may be of particular relevance in the development of attitudes towards expressing emotion. Healthcare professionals may play an important role in reinforcing the advantages of authoritative parenting and warmth and/or caring in the home, and communicating messages to parents regarding the importance of tolerance of emotional expression. The research looked at the relationship between a range of factors, such as how people learned to cope with their emotions in childhood, or how people relate to others, and how this influences eating patterns and BMI in adulthood. High fat and high sugar comfort food are often particularly popular with emotional eaters. Dr Egan explains, “biologically such foods reduce the activity of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-adrenal axis in the brain, which in turn dampens the stress response and activates the brains reward centres. This also makes the likelihood of similar (compulsive) behaviour more likely in the future. The findings suggest that health professionals should routinely assess broad childhood experiences (including invalidation) when working with individuals around weight management. Furthermore, the findings point to the importance for health care professionals to promote authoritative parenting in childhood, as it is protective against overweight and obesity in adulthood. Dr Egan also pointed that: “Mindfulness and being able to recognise internal and external changes within and without your body seem also to be protective suggestions lots for treatment strategies.” Dr Egan worked with Roisín Finnegan, Andrea Gibbons and Lorraine McDonagh on the research which was funded by the Millennium Research Fund at NUI Galway. -ends-

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Healthy diets are good for the kidneys - not just the heart

Healthy diets are good for the kidneys - not just the heart-image

Monday, 17 November 2014

A healthy diet may help protect our kidneys, according to a new study presented by NUI Galway researchers at a major conference in Philadelphia which comes to a close today. However, individuals must also pay particular attention to their sodium (salt) and potassium intake, according to the research, which analysed data from over 500,000 people. Chronic kidney disease is estimated to affect over 300,000 people in Ireland, although many people with chronic kidney disease may be unaware that they have it. Recent data suggests that approximately 4,000 people in Ireland have end-stage kidney disease, the most severe form of chronic kidney disease, and need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Chronic kidney disease is associated with an increased risk of other medical conditions including cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). “Current guidelines for healthy eating focus primarily on preventing cardiovascular disease”, explains the lead author on the research, NUI Galway’s Dr Andrew Smyth, whose work is supported by the Health Research Board. “We completed this research work to explore if healthy eating may also protect from kidney disease. This is particularly important, as people with more advanced kidney disease may be advised to restrict their diet.” The study indicates that dietary modifications may reduce the burden of chronic kidney disease. Dr Smyth said: “Our results suggest that a healthy diet may reduce the future risk of kidney outcomes. Importantly, it highlights the importance of looking at the whole diet, rather than just looking at healthy foods alone. The most benefit was seen from a healthy diet, containing plenty of healthy foods, low amounts of unhealthy foods, higher potassium and not too much sodium. As dietary modification is a low-cost, simple intervention, it offers the potential to significantly reduce the burden from chronic kidney disease, while also protecting from cardiovascular disease.” Dr Smyth presented the initial findings of the study at Kidney Week 2014, the annual meeting of the American Society of Nephrology, which was attended by over 13,000 people. The study, which was called ‘Diet and Major Renal Outcomes: The NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study’, used data from a large US study (National Institutes of Health Diet and Health Study). Dr Martin O'Donnell of NUI Galway was the senior author on the report.   Over 500,000 people aged 50-71, living in the United States, provided medical information and completed a diet questionnaire, which was used to measure how healthy each person's diet was at baseline (using four different scoring systems), as well as calculating each person's intake of sodium and potassium. Using available follow-up data, the researchers explored the association between diet and kidney outcomes, including the need for dialysis or dying with chronic kidney disease. During the study period, almost 5,000 people required dialysis or died with chronic kidney disease. Using three of the four diet scoring systems, people with the highest scores for diet quality had the lowest risk of kidney outcomes. In these three scoring systems, people scored highly for eating plenty of healthy foods (such as fruits and vegetables) and for eating low amounts of unhealthy foods (e.g. deep fried, fatty or sugary foods). The biggest effects were seen with the scoring systems that focus on the whole diet. The fourth scoring system, which focuses only on healthy foods (Recommended Food Score), was not associated with kidney outcomes. In addition, the researchers found that high sodium intake was associated with an increased risk of kidney outcomes, as was low potassium intake. -ends-

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