All 2012

Mindfulness Goes Online to Help Headache and Migraine Sufferers

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The Centre for Pain Research at NUI Galway is currently recruiting people with chronic or recurrent daily headaches to take part in an online pain management programme. The study offers individuals with chronic daily headache the opportunity to avail of six online sessions of mindfulness training tailored specifically for headache pain by Dr Jonathan Egan, Lecturer in Clinical Psychology, NUI Galway. The sessions, which are free of charge, will focus on active self-management, instruction in a range of relaxation techniques, coping skills and cognitive behavioural therapy techniques (CBT) to help identify negative thinking and coping patterns. The overall technique being used is known as a mindfulness-based pain management programme, and it is hoped mindfulness training may offer some relief to people with recurrent headache. Unlike other chronic pain patients, people suffering chronic or recurrent headache are an under-researched population. Prevalence rates indicate 12-15% of the Irish population suffer from migraine alone. The disability and productivity lost as a result of severe headache can be significant. The online programme is part of a research project being carried out at NUI Galway by Angeline Traynor who is the principal researcher: “We know that a combination of psychological and mindfulness techniques are beneficial, particularly for people managing chronic or recurrent pain. Our intention is to see whether this approach can also work for people with chronic headache pain. This online setting is particularly fitting for individuals with chronic headache as it may be accessed at their convenience for the purpose of prevention, and management. The programme layout is modular to ensure ease of use and time efficiency for busy individuals who would like to log on and receive additional support in managing their pain.” The researchers are specifically interested in hearing from people who have chronic daily headache (CDH), defined as chronic head pain which occurs on 15 or more days per month over a period of three to four months and this includes tension-type headache, migraine and medication overuse headache.   Dr Egan said: “Many people find that the combination of cognitive and relaxation therapies which are offered in this headache management programme enable them to take back control of their lives and engage more in daily activities with the knowledge they have the tools necessary to better manage their pain. This project is hoping to establish if mindfulness training may be delivered effectively in an online format to help these individuals. The programme is designed to be accessible to all people who have a computer. Patients can continue with their normal treatments while also taking part in the study. GPs, physiotherapists, friends and family are encouraged to refer interested individuals to participate. For further information, please contact Angeline Traynor, at, 0860378562, or go to -ends-

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Irish Fiddler to Present Second Martin Reilly Lecture

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Fiddle player, teacher and researcher, Dr Máire O’Keeffe, will deliver the second lecture in the Martin Reilly Lecture Series. Organised by Comhrá Ceoil, the Music and Dance Studies at the NUI Galway Centre for Irish Studies, the lecture will take place on Thursday, 17 May.  This series is dedicated to Martin Reilly, the celebrated East Galway uilleann piper, who left a rich musical legacy to generations of pipers.  The lecture series gives an opportunity for researcher-practitioners in Irish traditional music and dance to present their research in a public forum. The lectures are illustrated with musical examples, and insights from the practitioner’s perspective. Galway and the West of Ireland has long been an important centre of traditional dance, music and song and this lecture series reflects the increasing interest in the study of these traditions. Originally from Tralee, Co. Kerry, Dr O’Keeffe has many different musical interests including the fiddle traditions of Ireland, Scotland, Shetland, and Cape Breton, as well as the music of Galicia in North West Spain. The title of her talk is ‘Journey into Tradition: The Irish Button Accordion’, and it is the culmination of extensive research that traces the development of the button accordion within the Irish music tradition. It considers some of the key factors in the evolution of the button accordion in Ireland and some of the players who have contributed to an identifiably Irish style of playing. The lecture will take place at 6.30pm in the Galway City Library. All are invited to attend and admission is free. For more information on the Martin Reilly lecture series visit!/pages/Martin-Reilly-Lecture-Series/289147347801522 or email ENDS

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Antarctic Octopus Points to New Evidence of Ice-Sheet Collapse

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Scientists have found that genetic information on the Antarctic octopus supports studies indicating that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed during its history, possibly as recently as 200,000 years ago.   The team, which included scientists from NUI Galway, Liverpool University in the UK and La Trobe University in Australia, found that the octopuses from Ross and Weddell Seas, which are now separated by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, are genetically almost identical. This finding suggests that these two regions may have once been connected and may contribute to recent studies demonstrating the potential impact that increasing global temperatures could have on the changing Antarctica environment. Genes from more than 450 Turquet’s octopuses, collected from species in the Southern Ocean that surrounds Antarctica, were analysed to shed new light on how animals disperse across the varied ocean landscape.  Adult Turquet’s octopuses tend to live in one place and only move to escape predators, leading scientists to believe that creatures from areas either side of Antarctica would be genetically different. Dr Louise Allcock from the Ryan Institute at NUI Galway, explained: “A previous study has shown evidence that the Ross and Weddell Seas could have been connected. We wanted to investigate whether there was any genetic information that could tell us what the past environment could have been like, and this octopus species, with its large populations around the region and limited movements, was an ideal species to use for this. “The fact that we found more similarities than we did differences supports the theory that the West Antarctic Ice Sheet could have collapsed in the past.  It also provides further evidence that scientists should continue to raise awareness about the impact of climate change on Antarctica today.” The research has been published in the prestigious journal Molecular Ecology. Dr Phill Watts, from Liverpool University’s Institute of Integrative Biology, explains: “We looked at information gathered by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life, which allowed us to examine genetic data on a scale that had not been done before in this area of the world.   We expected to find a marked difference between Turquet’s octopuses living in different regions of the ocean, particularly between areas that are currently separated by approximately 10,000km of sea.  These creatures don’t like to travel and so breeding between the populations in the Ross and Weddell Seas would have been highly unusual. “We found, however, that they were genetically similar, suggesting that at some point in their past these populations would have been in contact with each other, perhaps at a time when the oceans were connected and not separated by the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  These findings agree with climate models indicating repeated periods in history when the climate was warmer, which would have released water from the ice and increased the sea levels, allowing dispersal of creatures between the Ross and Weddell Seas.” Data on octopuses from other parts of Antarctica, not separated by this particular ice sheet, support the theory that the creatures are genetically different. They found that the depth of the ocean and its currents limited the movement of the octopus in certain areas, as would have been expected for those living on either side of the West Antarctic Ice sheet. This added further evidence that at some point in recent history this particular ice sheet might have collapsed.  The research is supported by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the collaborative scheme for systematic research (CoSyst). -ends-

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Free Lunchtime Film Screenings at NUI Galway to Celebrate Ageing

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The inaugural ‘Reel Lives Film Festival’, organised by The Irish Centre for Social Gerontology (ICSG) at NUI Galway, is offering free lunchtime screenings of films celebrating ageing across the lifecourse from 21-25 May as part of the Bealtaine Festival. Alison Herbert, ICSG PhD student and event organiser, said: “We age from the day we are born, so to celebrate ageing is to celebrate life itself. Ageing is not just old age; ageing is a part of and relevant to all of us, and film is an ideal genre to get the message across that ageing is to be celebrated.” To help celebrate ageing, the ICSG will screen the following films: Venus - a comedy/drama examining inter-generationality, starring Peter O’Toole, Leslie Phillips and Vanessa Redgrave. This 2006 filmwas nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA, Screen Actors Guild and a Golden Globe. The Savages: multi-award-winning 2007 comedy/drama, starring Phillip Seymore-Hoffman and Laura Linney. The Straight Story: multi-award-winning David Lynch 1999 film, starring Richard Farnsworth and Sissy Spacek. Harold and Maude – a Golden Globe nominated 1971 Hal Ashby comedy/romance celebrating inter-generationality. A cult classic starring Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort. About Schmidt – Golden Globe winning 2002 comedy/drama starring Jack Nicholson and Kathy Bates. The Man Who Planted Trees: Academy-winning short French-Canadian 1988 animation (L’homme qui plantait des arbres), narrated by Christopher Plummer and a tribute to the animator Frédérick Back. The lunchtime screenings, open to everyone, begin each day at 1pm in lecture hall IT125, of the IT Building on NUI Galway’s campus.  Each film will be followed by a short panel and audience discussion.  All films, with the exception of The Man Who Planted Trees, loaned by film-maker Pat Comer, are sponsored by Screenclick, Dublin. Parking is available on campus to non-NUI Galway personnel within pay and display areas.  The venue has all facilities available to hand; including cafés, restrooms, and a lift is available for easy access. Further information is available from 091 495461 or visit -ENDS-

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Minister to Address Forum on Children’s Rights at NUI Galway

Thursday, 10 May 2012

A New Era in Child Protection The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre at NUI Galway will today (Thursday, 10 May) host a forum on Children’s Rights.  The event will feature a keynote address: A New Era in Child Protection delivered by Frances Fitzgerald, TD and Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. The holding of a referendum in relation to the rights of children under the constitution is one of the key commitments made by the Government in relation to children and young people and is expected to be held in 2012.       Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: “The Government and I are committed to a comprehensive programme of reforms aimed at improving the lives of Ireland’s children and strengthening children’s rights. However no single change will be as momentous as that to our constitution. If we want to address the historic lack of focus on children; if we want to truly create a new era for child protection; if we want to really give effect to children’s rights, while recognizing the importance of the family, then we can do it by amending the constitution.” Professor Pat Dolan, UNESCO Chair in Children, Youth and Civic Engagement, NUI Galway and Professor Alan Smith, UNESCO Chair in Education for Pluralism, Human Rights and Democracy, University of Ulster will deliver an independent Commentary outlining the need for greater recognition of the rights of the child in Ireland and the inter-play between the rights of the child and rights of parents.  According to NUI Galway’s Professor Dolan: “Our perspective is simple, what is good for children, is good for their parents and ultimately to the benefit of civic society.  We believe that incorporating a commitment to children’s rights in the constitution would build a stronger culture of protecting children in Irish society and is in keeping with international obligations.” The Forum will be moderated by Carl O’Brien, Chief Reporter at the Irish Times and will include a Question and Answer session from the audience.   The Minister will also launch a new book by Professor Pat Dolan and Bernardine Brady of the Child and Family Research Centre A Guide to Youth Mentoring: Providing Effective Social Support. The UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre is committed to strengthening the rights of children and young people.  Ireland is emerging from a period in which some children, whether in the care of the State or of their families were not provided with adequate protection and support.  Providing greater recognition of the rights of the child through stronger constitutional recognition has the potential to embed children’s rights principles and standards into all decision-making by public bodies and inform the practice of those working with children.  An independent report completed by the UNESCO Child and Family Research Centre in conjunction with the Galway City Partnership and St Vincent de Paul will also be officially launched by the Minister today. The NUI Galway report titled ‘Making a Difference, An Independent Evaluation of the Incredible Years Programme in Pre-Schools in Galway City’ evaluated the impact of the Incredible Years Programme on the children during their period in the pre-school and tracked the children as they entered primary school.  The report outlines particularly significant changes in the children behaviour and makes strong recommendations relating to pre-school education inIreland.   ENDS

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