NUI Galway Graduate Awarded Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship

NUI Galway Graduate Awarded Prestigious Postdoctoral Fellowship-image

Monday, 22 July 2013

Dr Ben Newland, NUI Galway PhD graduate, has been awarded a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. This fellowship provides a unique opportunity for the most promising newly qualified postdoctoral researchers to make an early start in developing their independent research careers, working in the best laboratories in the UK and overseas. Under the guidance of Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway, Dr Newland studied biomaterial based gene therapies for Parkinson's disease at the NFB, and was co-supervised by Dr Eilís Dowd and Dr Wenxin Wang. Ben is due to begin his postdoctoral research fellowship in October 2013, and will be primarily supervised by Professors Stephen Dunnett and Anne Rosser at Cardiff University in the UK. He will spend extended periods at the Technische Universität Dresden in Germany and the University of Oxford in the UK. The title of Dr Newland’s study is ‘A combinatorial approach for enhancing cell transplantation for neurological diseases via simple and scalable chemistries’. The research goal of his postdoctoral position is to investigate mechanisms which increase stem cell survival following transplantation to the brain. Rapid and significant stem cell death following transplantation into the brain hampers the progression of stem cell therapies for neurodegenerative diseases. Dr Newland’s research will focus on the maintenance, delivery and therapeutic potential of transplanted stem cells in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. This Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowship is highly multi-disciplinary in nature, combining nanomaterials, soft hydrogels and gene therapy and this fellowship will incorporate expertise from three European Universities. Congratulating Dr Newland on his fellowship, Professor Abhay Pandit said: “Since the vast majority of successful applicants of the Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellowships are situated in ‘Oxbridge’ or London, it is great to have a successful applicant from Ireland to be based in Cardiff University. Dr Newland will continue to build on the foundations he has forged at NUI Galway by continuing to collaborate with the University and the group at NFB. We wish him every success in his career and look forward to working with him at NUI Galway in the very near future.” -ENDS-

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Ambitious Research Programme to Provide Revolutionary New Therapies for Patients in Ireland

Ambitious Research Programme to Provide Revolutionary New Therapies for Patients in Ireland-image

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Initial focus on stem cells and arthritic disease, burn care and diabetic foot ulceration The Irish Blood Transfusion Service is supporting a major new national initiative led by NUI Galway and involving research groups in Cork and Dublin. This will enable research into innovative cell-based therapies and will, for the first time, provide access to these new treatments for patients in Ireland. Blood transfusion is a life-saving procedure that has been carried out for many decades.  In fact it represents one the earliest and most successful forms of cell therapy. This revolutionary science of cell therapy now encompasses a range of procedures involving the delivery of healthy cells to injured tissue in order to treat a disease or stimulate repair. The objective of the NUI Galway-led programme is to build a research network to develop sustainable manufacturing technology and to validate the effectiveness of these new therapies, leading to a greater research effort and wider access to these new cell-based therapies in Ireland. The project involves a partnership between the three major cell therapy research centres in Ireland, the the SFI funded Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, the National Adult Stem Cell Transplant Centre at St. James’s Hospital/Trinity College Dublin, and the Centre for Research in Vascular Biology at University College Cork. Initially, the programme will focus on three key areas: Regenerative medicine applications in arthritis, burn care and diabetic wounds These applications all arise from a substantial and convincing research effort, mainly carried out in the partners’ laboratories, indicating that stem cells can stimulate an effective and sustained repair response in arthritic joints, can bring about the development of new blood vessels in ischaemic limbs and can stimulate wound healing in, for example, burns and chronic wounds. Stem cell manufacturing and clinical trials A sustainable stem cell manufacturing platform will be developed and a series of pivotal preclinical studies and clinical trials will be carried out. The Centre for Cell Manufacturing Ireland, a cell bioprocessing facility built to the highest international standards at REMEDI in NUI Galway, will be the manufacturing site for culture‐expanded cells for clinical use. Clinical studies will be optimised by utilising the integrated efforts of the Health Research Board Clinical Research Facilities. Stem cell transplantation techniques Bone marrow has been used as a source of stem cells for transplantation for many years. Over the last two decades, umbilical cord blood has emerged as an important  stem cell source for those in need of transplantation.  The use of otherwise discarded cord blood stem cells is a very important strategy already used to treat some conditions and has the potential to provide new therapies not available previously. Professor Frank Barry is Scientific Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator on the research programme: “The development of these innovative therapeutic platforms in association with the Irish Blood Transfusion Service is a new approach to medical research in Ireland. The scope of the programme is broad and ambitious and brings together world-leading researchers and clinicians in cellular therapy. It has the potential to provide patients in Ireland with new, ground-breaking therapies.” The interest in cell‐based therapy has grown exponentially in the last decade, as the tremendous potential to lead to effective treatments for a variety of major diseases is being realised. Despite many breakthroughs, cell therapy is still largely experimental and the development of a worldwide platform in cell‐based regenerative medicine still faces many challenges. According to Frank Barry “This new research programme will take us several steps closer to that goal.” According to Dr Ian Franklin, Medical and Scientific Director of the IBTS: “IBTS is delighted to support this three site collaboration led by the REMDI centre at NUI Galway. Conventional blood transfusion is still essential to modern health care but the next generation of treatments will require the production of cell based treatments to promote body repair, healing and the regeneration of tissues and organs in the laboratory. Ireland’s universities have the expertise to develop these approaches and IBTS has the experience and ability to provide the quality manufacturing environment to bring these treatments to patients within the health care system.”  -ends-

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NUI Galway Boat Club/ Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships

NUI Galway Boat Club/ Gráinne Mhaol Dominate at National Rowing Championships-image

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

NUI Galway Boat club and its sister alumni club Gráinne Mhaol had a massively successful weekend at the National rowing championships held in the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the weekend. For the fifth time in the past six years Grainne Mhaol/ NUIGBC took the blue riband event of the championships, the Men’s Senior Eight from Queen’s University and UCD respectively. The defending champions dominated the race from start to finish winning by over 4 seconds from their northern rivals. The crew of Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett, Dave Mannion, Niall Kenny, Emmett Donnelly, Alan Martin, Cormac Folan and James Wall were coxed by Ruadhán Cooke to victory in difficult headwind conditions. Gráinne Mhaol also took the Senior Four title marking Alan Martin’s eight National Senior win. Also from the Senior Eight, Niall Kenny won the Men’s Lightweight Single event. Robert O Callaghan and Richard Bennett went close in the Senior Pair finishing runners up to Galway Rowing club by the narrowest of margins. This victory was further backed up by the win in the Inter Eight by the NUI Galway men’s crew, who took the win from UCD Boat club. As several of the NUI Galway crew are relatively new to the sport it suggests the pipeline of talent in the club will continue for some years. There was also a significant victory for the women’s NUI Galway pair of Lisa Dilleen and Aifric Keogh who won by 11 seconds from St. Michaels in the Senior event. While Dilleen joined a composite crew with Cork to take the Senior Four, Keogh joined Cliona Hurst to take the Inter Double. Hurst was also runner up in the Intermediate Sculls and NUI Galway also took second position in the Women’s Novice Four and the Men’s Inter Four. This incredibly successful weekend precedes one of the most exciting weeks ahead for NUI Galway rowers as five members of the club, Robert O Callaghan, Richard Bennett (Men’s Coxless Four) Aifric Keogh (Women’s Coxless Four) Sean O Connor and Fionnán McQuillan-Tolan, all competing at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. NUI Galway Boat Club coach Dave Mannion is also coach to the Women’s Four at the championships. Gary Ryan, Elite Sport Development Officer at NUI Galway: “It is a huge testament to the rowers and coaches, past and present, that NUI Galway Boat Club and its alumni club Gráinne Mhaol, which were already the strongest combination in Irish rowing, have taken an even greater leap forward in domestic and international rowing with its performances this year. I would like to congratulate all involved as I know how much hard work and professionalism has gone into achieving this success. I would also look forward with great anticipation to the World U23 championships this weekend where four of our students currently on sports scholarship will compete at the World U23 Championships in Linz Austria. It is a great platform for those athletes and a great credit to the athletes, their coaches and support team who have worked so hard for this opportunity.” Ends

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NUI Galway Recruiting for 2013 Chronic Headache Management Study

NUI Galway Recruiting for 2013 Chronic Headache Management Study -image

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Last year, the Migraine Association of Ireland and Chronic Pain Ireland collaborated with researchers at NUI Galway on a study of chronic headache pain management using online methods of treatment delivery. The researchers at NUI Galway are extending their online study this year and are currently looking for individuals to participate. During the 2012 study, NUI Galway’s Dr Jonathan Egan, Dr Brian McGuire and Angeline Traynor sought to examine the effectiveness of an online mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) programme tailored to support chronic headache pain management in adults with various types of chronic headache.  Treatment was delivered via – a specially designed, self-paced forum for participants’ convenience. Participants had unlimited access to the mindfulness based exercises and information designed to support self-management of headache pain. The exercises were specifically designed to help alleviate headache associated barriers including sleep disturbance, anxiety and headache onset. The programme incorporated guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, sitting meditation and mindful awareness exercises, and cultivated mindful breathing, peaceful mind states and emotion regulation.  “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain” said Angeline Traynor, researcher at NUI Galway. “This type of service was designed to be accessible to all, as an online survey it is not limited to a person’s locality.” The results of the 2012 study showed clinically significant decreases in participant levels of pain severity, anxiety, depression, pain interference in daily functioning, medication intake and the overall impact of chronic headache on daily life were observed in those participants who completed the programme. Angeline continued: “The programme was effective in supporting pain management across chronic headache conditions including migraine and tension type headache. It appears to have successfully encouraged the development of beliefs consistent with a self-management approach even among individuals who were not pre-disposed to such an approach.” The study demonstrated that health benefits for chronic headache sufferers followed from just six weeks of online mindfulness based stress reduction practice. Those interested in participating in the study can contact Angeline Traynor at or directly access the programme information at or -ENDS-

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Should Twitter and Facebook be part of the Newsbeat?

    Should Twitter and Facebook be part of the Newsbeat?-image

Thursday, 25 July 2013

           INSIGHT@NUIGalway launches national survey on journalists’ use of social media Social media is becoming a vital tool to many contemporary journalists. From Syria to Turkey and Brazil, international news stories are broken by ordinary citizens on social media every day and it’s not just serious news. The latest football transfer rumours or celebrity scandal is now more likely to break on Twitter than by conventional means. The emergence of these new technologies is fundamentally changing the way journalists work and source stories. A 2011 survey* revealed that 97% of UK journalists use social media for their work, similar pan European** and global*** studies have also been completed. In Ireland, however, despite the widespread adoption of social media particularly among journalists, no formal study on Irish media professionals’ use of social media has yet been carried out. Researchers at the Science Foundation Ireland Research Centre INSIGHT@NUIGalway have launched the first national survey on how Irish journalists use social media.  This new study aims to measure the prevalence of social media use among professional journalists, and determine the role it plays in the modern Irish newsroom. The researchers are calling on all media professionals working in print, TV, radio and online media to take 10 - 12 minutes out of their busy schedules to fill out the online survey. “The ubiquity of social media is quickly changing the global media landscape, leading us to query Ireland’s contemporary journalistic practices”, said Dr Bahareh Heravi, the project leader and head of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway. “This survey will help to not only delineate these practices, but the data collected has the potential to ultimately result in more informed and accurate reporting,” she added. Dr Heravi stressed the need for all journalists to get involved, from digital natives to those who don't even have a twitter account: "We are aware that there are some journalists who don't use social media or even feel that it shouldn't be used for journalistic purposes. It is very important for the study to capture all journalists' opinions.” The project is being run by the Digital Humanities and Journalism group in INSIGHT@NUIGalway, which leads a number of projects exploring how new technologies are impacting the world of journalism and other digital humanities like archiving. “This survey will help us to determine the needs of the media industry in Ireland and enable us to shape its future. This is the role of the Digital Humanities and Journalism group at INSIGHT@NUIGalway” said Director of INSIGHT@NUIGalway Professor Stefan Decker. INSIGHT is Irelands National Data Analytics Research Centre, hosted at NUI Galway, UCC, DCU and UCD. The survey can be accessed here: and more information on the research group can be found at ENDS *2011 Social Journalism Study carried out by Cision and Canterbury Christchurch University (UK) **2011 Social Journalism Study, European Results ***2012 Global Digital Journalism Study by the Oriella PR Network

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Seolann an tAire Stáit, Donnchadh Mac Fhionnlaoich Dioplóma nua sa Phleanáil agus Buanú Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh

Seolann an tAire Stáit, Donnchadh Mac Fhionnlaoich Dioplóma nua sa Phleanáil agus Buanú Teanga in OÉ Gaillimh-image

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Sheol an tAireStáit, Donnchadh Mac FhionnlaoichDioplóma nua sa Phleanáil agus Buanú Teanga in Ionad OÉ Gaillimh, Gaoth Dobhair, Co. Dhún na nGall tráthnóna aréir. Tá an Dioplóma á thairiscint ag OÉ Gaillimh i gcomhar le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta. Cúrsa páirtaimseartha thar dhá bhliain atá i gceist leis an dioplóma seo a thabharfaidh deis do rannpháirtithe eolas agus oiliúint fheidhmeach a fháil ar straitéisí buanaithe teanga agus leas-chleachtais na pleanála teanga. Tá an cúrsa dírithe ar oibrithe pobail agus teanga sna ceantair phleanála teanga a luaitear in Acht na Gaeltachta. Beidh an cúrsa seo feiliúnach dóibh siúd atá ag obair in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta agus an Straitéis 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge á fheidhmiú acu. D’fháiltigh an tAire Stáit Mac Fhionnlaoich roimh an Dioplóma úr: “Cinntíonn Acht na Gaeltachta go mbeidh tábhacht as cuimse le tograí buanaithe teanga a thabhairt chun cinn go náisiúnta agus i measc phobal na Gaeltachta go mór mór. Cuideoidh an cúrsa seo le cumasú phobal na teanga chomh maith le forbairt feidhmiú na Straitéise 20 Bliain don Ghaeilge. Úsáid stuama acmhainní atá sa chomhpháirtíocht seo idir Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge agus Údarás na Gaeltachta.” Leag Príomhfheidhmeannach Údarás na Gaeltachta, Steve Ó Cualáin, béim ar thorthaí foghlama an chúrsa: “Is mian le hÚdarás na Gaeltachta go mbeadh oiliúint fheidhmeach sa Phleanáil Teanga ar fáil ar bhealach atá éifeachtach agus praiticiúil. Beidh an cúrsa seo fóinteach do phobail atá ag iarraidh an chuid is fearr den phleanáil teanga a thabhairt leo agus a chur i bhfeidhm de réir chúinsí a gceantracha féin. Tá áthas orainn tacú leis an Dioplóma nua seo.” Dúirt Dónall Ó Braonáin, Príomhfheidhmeannach Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge, OÉ Gaillimh: “Cúrsa é seo a tharraingeoidh ar an léann teanga ach a dhéanfaidh freastal ar riachtanais phobail san am céanna. Beidh scoth na tacaíochta foghlama ag mic léinn an chúrsa seo agus beidh sé feiliúnach dóibh siúd ar spéis leo ceist na pleanála teanga a scrúdú ar bhealach solúbtha agus saoráideach.” De bharr scaipeadh tíreolaíoch na rannpháirtithe, bainfear leas as teicneolaíocht nuálach fhoghlama leis an Dioplóma seo a chur ar fáil. Beidh deis ag mic léinn an chúrsa a gclár ama staidéir féin a leagan amach agus a chur in oiriúint dá gcúinsí féin. Tabharfar an oiliúint chuí ríomhaireachta do rannpháirtithe an chúrsa ag seisiúin speisialta ionduchtaithe agus déanfar an cúrsa a eagrú ar bhealach a laghdóidh ualach taistil na mac léinn idir Méan Fómhair 2013 agus Márta 2014. Clúdóidh an siollabas réimse cuimsitheach ábhar a bhaineann leis an bPleanáil Teanga agus gheobhaidh na rannpháirtithe oiliúint sna bealaí is éifeachtaí le tabhairt faoi thograí buanaithe teanga a leagan amach dá bpobal féin. Sa chéad bhliain den chúrsa, beidh béim ar leith ar an tsochtheangeolaíocht agus ar chultúr agus ar chomhthéacs na Gaeltachta comhaimseartha. Fáilteofar roimh iarratais ó dhaoine atá ag obair in earnáil na forbartha teanga nó pobail sa Ghaeltacht nó in earnáil na Gaeilge go náisiúnta chomh maith le daoine eile a bhfuil spéis acu san ábhar seo. Beidh táille laghdaithe á ghearradh ar an gcúrsa seo ag OÉ Gaillimh mar bheartas taca do phróiseas  na pleanála teanga sa Ghaeltacht. Tá OÉ Gaillimh buíoch de thacaíocht Údarás na Gaeltachta agus moltar do rannpháirtithe atá ag obair na hearnála pobail agus teanga sa Ghaeltacht clárú ar-líne agus teagmháil a dhéanamh le hoifigí réigiúnacha Údarás na Gaeltachta le deiseanna tacaíochta a fhiosrú. Is féidir iarratas ar-líne a dhéanamh ar an Dioplóma roimh 23 Lúnasa ach suíomh Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge a cheadú: nó teagmháil a dhéanamh le comhordaitheoir an chúrsa, Éamon Ó Cofaigh ag 091 493802 nó -CRÍOCH-

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Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Noting the sad passing of Colm Murray, NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne said: On behalf of his many friends at NUI Galway and on a personal level, I extend sincere condolences to his wife, Ann, his daughters, Kate and Patricia and his extended family. Colm was a great friend and supporter of NUI Galway. An Arts graduate (BA 1972) and an Alumni Award Winner for Sports Achievement and Leadership (2011), Colm was involved in a range of alumni events and activities. Over the years Colm participated in and hosted a range of alumni events in Dublin and in Galway – events which always attracted audiences who relished his enthusiasm and his story-telling flair. With the sporting world’s attention on Galway and Ballybrit this week, we remember with pride and genuine affection one of Ireland’s best-loved sports journalists. We note his passing with sadness and pay tribute to a graduate whose commitment to his alma mater was deeply-held and much valued. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam uasal dílís. James J. Browne PhD, DSc, MRIA, C.EngUachtarán – President _______________________________________________________________________ Sean O'Rourke, Chair of NUI Galway Alumni Association Colm Murray was a proud graduate of NUI Galway, and often recalled his student days with affection and no little mirth. He studied in the faculty of Arts in the 1960s and 70s but in fact Colm was an Everyman, a lifelong student of the ways of the world. He brought a sense of curiosity and wonder to his assignments which informed and enlivened his broadcast journalism. In the RTE newsroom he was a brilliant NUJ official, defusing many an industrial relations row with a mixture of humour, guile and an uncanny sense of timing. Though he did not specialise in current affairs Colm was a close follower of political events and would give colleagues the benefit of sound observations on running stories and the players involved - usually sharp but never cruel. Colm had legions of friends and admirers and easily won the confidence of people. As a sports broadcaster he reported with knowledge, flair and enthusiasm from Ballybrit to Beijing. There's a certain timeliness that his passing comes during Galway Race Week where his services as a social ringmaster and tipster were greatly enjoyed if not always followed with success. Some years ago he encouraged people at a pre-Races brunch in the old quadrangle to follow his list of sure things. And then he cautioned hilariously: "But my final word in this great Aula Maxima where so many distinguished scholars have passed through the hallowed portals is: Caveat Punter" _______________________________________________________________________ An NUI Galway Dublin Alumni Group presentation COLM MURRAY, BA 1972, in conversation with Seán O'Rourke BA 1977 took place in the AVIVA STADIUM on Thursday 16 June, 2011. First broadcast by RTÉ on 2 January 2012 was re-broadcasted Tuesday 30 July 2013. Please click on following link to hear interview.!rii=9%3A3156768%3A9153%3A02%2D01%2D2012%3A  


Dramatic Turn for NUI Galway Professor

Dramatic Turn for NUI Galway Professor-image

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

NUI Galway has appointed Professor Patrick Lonergan as its first ever Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. Professor Lonergan’s appointment strengthens NUI Galway’s reputation as a national hub for the study of theatre. His focus will be on developing new courses, building new research resources, and partnering with theatre companies. Speaking upon his appointment Professor Lonergan stated that “It is a great honour to have been named NUI Galway’s first Professor of Drama and Theatre Studies. I look forward to working with colleagues in the University and the wider community, as we develop new courses, forge new partnerships with theatre-makers, and make sure that NUI Galway is recognised as a world leading centre for the study of Irish theatre.” NUI Galway offers a very successful BA in Drama, Theatre and Performance, as well as a Performing Arts degree, and a new part-time MA in Drama and Theatre Studies is currently enrolling for September 2013. As part of its educational offering, the University this year again partnered with the Galway Arts Festival. One element of the partnership was to offer six NUI Galway students the opportunity to be part of the SELECTED programme. This unique internship with an all-areas backstage pass to the festival gave the students an intensive two-week immersion in festival organisation. The selected students attended shows, liaised with performers and directors, and also had the privileged access to visiting international Festival Directors. NUI Galway also maintains a partnership with Druid Theatre – which saw the University act as one of the co-producers of the multi-award winning DruidMurphy show last year. That partnership is growing all the time, with members of Druid running workshops for students, in acting, directing, set design and theatre marketing, among other things. NUI Galway will also be transforming our knowledge of Irish theatre through projects like the digitisation of the archive of the Abbey Theatre. When added to the University’s already extensive theatre archives, this resource will provide access to hundreds of scripts and videos of Irish plays – much of it never seen before. Speaking about these developments, Professor Lonergan commented: “We have achieved an enormous amount in the area of Drama and Theatre Studies at NUI Galway already. Our aim now is to build on those achievements, so that students and researchers from Ireland and abroad will recognise that NUI Galway is the best place in the world to study Irish drama.” Patrick Lonergan was born in Dublin in 1974, and graduated from University College Dublin with an MA in 1998. He completed a PhD at NUI Galway in 2004, and has been a member of staff in the Discipline of English since that time. He has written widely about Irish theatre for publications such as The Irish Times and Irish Theatre Magazine. His first book, Theatre and Globalization: Irish Drama in the Celtic Tiger won the 2008 Theatre Book Prize, a prestigious international award whose previous winners include the Guardian critic Michael Billington, the theatre director Peter Brook, and Columbia University Professor James Shapiro. More recently he has published The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh with Bloomsbury in London. He is also very active in the Irish theatre community. He runs the annual JM Synge Summer School in County Wicklow, is a former Theatre Assessor for the Irish Arts Council, and is a Board Member of Irish Theatre Magazine and Baboró International Arts Festival for Children. He has won several research awards, and is currently completing a project on Theatre Performance and Globalization, which is being funded by the Irish Research Council. He serves on the boards of several major international journals (including Contemporary Theatre Review and Irish University Review), is a Vice President of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, and is active in many other international organizations. ENDS

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June 2013

Research Highlights Stress Levels among Parents of Children with Autism

Research Highlights Stress Levels among Parents of Children with Autism-image

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Levels of stress among parents of children with autism are higher when those families have less access to services. Preliminary data from a study by NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) indicates cutbacks in services are having a real and measureable effect on parents’ wellbeing. “Our research is highlighting the negative impacts that cutbacks and inadequate service provision may have, not only on child outcomes, but also on the health and wellbeing of the parents,” says Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of ICAN at NUI Galway. A group of 140 mothers, fathers and a control group of caregivers of typically-developing children were included in the study. The research, conducted by PhD student Ciara Foody under the supervision of Dr Geraldine Leader and Professor Jack James, will be presented at a conference in NUI Galway from 11-12 June. This research investigated stress among parents by using diaries, questionnaires, 24 hour blood pressure monitoring and also conducted an analysis of the stress hormone cortisol. “We looked for the physical flags of stress, such as high blood pressure”, explains Dr Leader. “Perhaps none too surprisingly, parents of children of autism experience elevated levels of stress compared to parents of typically developing children. However, we were also able to show a correlation between increased stress among parents of children with autism who have less access to services and interventions.” Preliminary results demonstrate that unmet services needs were a significant factor.  Having a child with a greater number of service needs that were not being met (speech and language therapy, respite services, etc.) was associated with higher maternal blood pressure and higher parental reports of depressive symptoms and parenting stress.  The study also shows that sleep is also found to be an important factor. Child sleep problems and parental sleep quality were associated with maternal blood pressure, parenting stress, anxiety and depressive symptoms. The conference from 11-12 June, Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Research to Practice, will feature keynote talks, as well as workshops aimed at providing parents, practitioners, teachers and researchers, with the latest evidence-based approaches to diagnosis, clinical management and adult service provision. The event is being organised by ICAN in collaboration with the US science and advocacy group Autism Speaks, and runs from 11-12 June. For more information visit -ends-

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Chairperson of the new Child and Family Agency to deliver keynote address at UNESCO Research Centre Conference

Chairperson of the new Child and Family Agency to deliver keynote address at UNESCO Research Centre Conference-image

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will host its 6th Biennial Family Support conference on 13-14 June. Entitled ‘Engagement and Participation in Family Support’, the conference will contextualise trends, challenges and options relating to citizens’ engagement and participation in the field of Family Support. The forum will highlight the relevance of citizenship to Family Support and the role of services, communities and individuals in service delivery and systems reform. Alongside presentations from keynote speakers including Norah Gibbons of the new Child and Family Agency, delegates will hear from special guest Kenneth Egan, Ireland’s most decorated amateur boxer. Kenneth will speak on the commitment and dedication required to excel in sport and how the support he received from family, friends and others helped him to deal with the challenges and difficulties he encountered. Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair at the Child and Family Research Centre in NUI Galway, commented: “This conference is an opportunity to explore not just the role of state services, but also of individuals and communities in supporting families both in terms of safety and welfare. The recent scandal regarding early years services including creche facilities highlights that social workers alone and regulation systems do not have the capacity to protect children at risk and that more innovative models of community care and involvement are urgently required. There is a need to develop systems whereby families and citizens can play their part in safeguarding children.” The conference is hosted as part of the ‘Five Nations Family Support Initiative’ in conjunction with representatives from across the United Kingdom (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) and UNESCO, Paris. The aim of this new initiative is to collectively discuss and advance Family Support policy and practice issues which will be progressed and developed on an international stage. Other speakers will include: Professor Constance Flanagan, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. The Political Theories of Adolescents: How they Matter for Democracy Professor Anne Power, the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK. Learning from the Horse’s Mouth: What Families Bringing up Children in Difficult Urban Areas Say about their Role and Influence Andy Lloyd, Head of Service – Workforce Development, Children’s Services, Leeds City Council, UK. Defending and Developing Family Support in an Age of Austerity Dr Bernadine Brady and Dr Carmel Devaney, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway. Changing the Odds: the Benefits and Challenges of Volunteer-Led Service Provision Professor Mark Brennan, Pennsylvania State University, USA. Citizenship as a Mechanism for Individual, Family, and Community Support Dr John Canavan, Associate Director, UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre, School of Political Science and Sociology, NUI Galway will deliver the closing remarks. For further information, or to register for the conference, visit -ends-

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