All 2012

NUI Galway and Amnesty International Join Forces for Seminar on Legal Capacity

Monday, 26 March 2012

NUI Galway’s Centre for Disability Law and Policy and Amnesty International Ireland will jointly host a seminar exploring how Ireland can learn from other jurisdictions on legislating for legal capacity, the law that governs decision-making. The seminar will take place on Tuesday, 3 April, from 10.30am to 2pm in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin 2. Looking Globally, Legislating Locally: The Irish Legal Capacity Bill will examine practical and technical legislative solutions to ensure that Ireland can comply with its obligations under international human rights law, most specifically Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Professor Gerard Quinn, Director of the Centre for Disability Law and Policy at NUI Galway, said: “The new capacity law must be in line with the latest international human rights standards so the Irish Government can fully adopt the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The emphasis must be on respecting the persons’ will and preferences and supporting him/her where necessary. The Convention is clear on what capacity law should primarily look like – we need to focus on law and policy that supports people to make their own choices and decisions insofar as possible. Crucially, handling decision-making deficits should be part of an overall and more positive approach of enabling voice to be expressed and respecting that voice.” Speakers at the seminar will include: Lana Kerzner, Canadian lawyer who specialises in disability law and policy, will deliver a lecture on The Canadian perspective on legal capacity law and supported-decision making; Anna Nilsson, European expert on legal capacity, will present a lecture entitled ‘Supported decision-making and the Swedish Personal Ombudsman System’; and Genevra Richardson, Professor of Law Kings College London, will speak on Reflections on legal capacity law in England and Wales and the interface between legal capacity law and mental health law. Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “We are on the cusp of making very real strides towards achieving greater disability equality in Ireland. Ireland now has the opportunity to enact progressive legislation on decision-making capacity. This seminar demonstrates we have the research and expertise to ensure the new capacity law reflects the most up-to-date human rights standards. We are urging law-makers to take this on board as they put the finishing touches to this urgently needed capacity law.” Places for the seminar are limited so early registration is advised. Please RSVP by Friday, 30 March to or 01 8638313. -ENDS-

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European Telemedicine Research Project Experts Convene in Galway

Monday, 26 March 2012

Technologies to facilitate the remote delivery of healthcare to patients in their own home is the focus of a new EU-funded project underway at NUI Galway. The €2.3 million project, Implementing Transnational Telemedicine Solutions (ITTS), aims to deliver a range of projects on mobile self management, video consultation and home based health services to the rural and remote communities of northern Europe. This week research partner teams from Ireland, Scotland, Norway, Sweden and Finland will gather at NUI Galway for a two-day meeting. The ITTS teams and their respective clinicians, speech therapists, researchers, engineers and technologists work in a variety of fields including psychiatry, emergency services, diabetes, rehabilitation and care of the elderly. Dr Liam Glynn is senior lecturer in General Practice at NUI Galway and Principal Investigator of the Irish ITTS research team: “This project has the potential to deliver significant innovation in the connected health space. Our aim is to investigate the potential to deliver aspects of healthcare via a variety of technology platforms including the internet, smartphones and via video conferencing. These will include speech therapy, diabetes care and self management, inflammatory bowel disease management and physiotherapy based rehabilitation for COPD (Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This can improve access to healthcare and strengthen primary care services. We aim to allow those living in rural areas, the elderly, and a range of other groups to monitor aspects of own health and access healthcare professionals from their own homes.” The Irish ITTS team includes Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin from NUI Galway’s College of Engineering and Informatics. His group is responsible for the coordination of an innovative project on the use of smartphones for tracking physical activity. Smartphones possess tiny accelerometers which can be used for this purpose. The team aims to utilise and develop a suitable methodology and application, to increase physical activity in various patient sub-groups thereby leading to a wide range of potential health benefits. The Galway conference gives experts the opportunity to hold lectures and workshops where information and knowledge transfer will allow all partner teams to proceed with their respective projects so that in the future all projects are both viable and sustainable within partner countries. The ITTS project is funded under the EU Northern Periphery Project (NPP), which aims to help peripheral and remote communities on the northern margins of Europe to develop their economic, social and environmental potential. ENDS For more information on the project visit

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NUI Galway Medical Student brings Heart Health to fingertips with New App!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

A unique collaboration between the heart and stroke charity Croí and a fourth year medical student at NUI Galway has resulted in the novel use of mobile phone technology and medicine to bring heart health education literarily to our fingertips! Following on from the success of the charity’s Croí MyAction Programme, a cardiovascular disease prevention initiative, targeting individuals at increased risk of heart disease or stroke, Mike McNamara, from Ennis Co. Clare and a fourth year medical student at NUI Galway, has developed two new Apps which have just been launched on the App Store. Croí FoodWise is a user friendly app which uses a novel traffic light system to inform people on their food shopping choices. Users simply compare the information on the food label with the values assigned to the colours red (unhealthy choice), amber and green (healthy choice). Croí HeartWise empowers individuals as they attempt to make healthy lifestyle choices. The user can calculate their “Heart Age” by inputting simple information about themselves. They can track their dietary and alcohol consumption patterns and monitor their smoking habits, including how much money they would save if they quit. A detailed physical activity tracker ensures that the user meets the recommended weekly levels of exercise and they can also monitor their goals by observing their progress around a virtual running track. Announcing the launch of the two new Apps, project supervisor Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway and Director of the special study module in Preventive Cardiology which is delivered in conjunction with the Croí MyAction team, remarked: “With the widespread use of smartphones and iPads by people of all ages, mobile applications represent a highly effective means of delivering key health promotion messages to a wide audience with the aim of orienting individuals towards healthier lifestyle choices. These apps are a further example of the productive partnership which exists between NUI Galway and Croí as a community partner.” The Apps are free to download from the App store onto the iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch devices and they will be updated regularly. Since their release, the Apps have been downloaded by users in over 25 countries and Croí HeartWise has already achieved a five star rating in the App store. Speaking at the launch, Croí CEO, Neil Johnson, indicated that the development of these Apps is directly in keeping with Croí’s aim to educate and motivate people to make heart healthy lifestyle choices. The Croí Foodwise App will help educate shoppers on the rationale for choosing foods with lower saturated fat, sugar and salt levels and the Croí HeartWise App will help highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle.  “In developing these apps, we have once again worked with medical students at NUI Galway, thus strengthening our relationship with the medical faculty at NUI Galway and this is a further step in developing new educational initiatives in preventive cardiology” he said.  ENDS

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Regenerative Medicine and Life Sciences Research lead to MOUs in China for NUI Galway

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Pictured this week in China where NUI Galway announced collaborations with both Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an as part of the Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton TD (back row, l-r):  President Wei Cai SJTU; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD;  Minister Richard Bruton TD;  Professor Sanbing Shen, REMEDI, NUI Galway;  Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland. Front:  Dr Jim Browne, President NUI Galway and Professor Lin He, Director of Bio-X Institutes, Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Pictured this week in China where NUI Galway announced collaborations with both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an as part of the Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton TD (back row, l-r): Professor Lin He, Director of Bio-X Institutes; An Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD; Minister Richard Bruton TD; Professor Sanbing Shen, REMEDI, NUI Galway; Frank Ryan, Enterprise Ireland. Front: Dr Jim Browne, President NUI Galway and President Wei Cai, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.   NUI Galway is delighted to announce collaborations with both Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Medical Military University Hospital in Xi’an as part of the Trade and Investment Mission to Shanghai and Beijing this week by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton TD. The Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) based at NUI Galway has signed collaborative agreements with the Shanghai Institute for Pediatric Research, Bio-X Institutes and the Tangdu Neurosurgery & Neurology Hospital, research institutes based in two leading Chinese Universities, Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland, REMEDI is Ireland’s leading research institute in the area of regenerative medicine and stem cell research. The agreement will see REMEDI work closely with both Chinese partners in a number of research areas and will facilitate student and researcher exchange between Galway and China.  At the signing were NUI Galway President, Dr Jim Browne and Professor Sanbing Shen, who recently moved to Galway and REMEDI as Professor of Stem Cell Biology. Through Professor Sanbing Shen and Professor Tim O’Brien, REMEDI Director, NUI Galway is developing formal partnerships in the area of regenerative medicine and life sciences with research Institutes at the Shanghai Jiaotong University which has over 10 affiliated hospitals in Shanghai, and with Fourth Medical Military University Hospitals in Xi’an, which is considered to be one of the top three medical universities in China and has pioneered neurosurgery and transplant procedures in China. One of the first joint projects will involve Professor Shen, who is developing cutting edge induced pluripotent stem cell (iPS) technology at REMEDI.  iPS technology involves generating “embryonic-like” stem cells from adult cells and has been hailed as one of the top scientific breakthroughs in the last number of years.  REMEDI will also work with both Chinese institutes to develop joint clinical trial programmes in the area of regenerative medicine. Professor Tim O’Brien, Director of REMEDI at NUI Galway: “REMEDI's commitment to clinical trials of treatment using adult stem cells will be greatly enhanced by these collaborations as both institutions have similar scientific and clinical interests as NUI Galway. This will provide for much more extensive patient involvement in clinical trials, as well as the sharing of expertise in the design of the trials and the analysis of the resulting data.” Speaking at the singing of the Memoranda of Understanding in both Shanghai and Beijing, President of NUI Galway, Dr Jim Browne said: “These partnerships will see NUI Galway and these two significant Chinese universities develop joint research programmes which will encourage the exchange of faculty, researchers, and graduate students with the objective of fostering academic cooperation and collaboration between both parties.  NUI Galway has a range of excellent relationships with Chinese higher education institutions in areas from marine science to engineering to human rights.  These new agreements in the area of regenerative medicine with our Chinese partners will bring new and positive developments to our activities in the biosciences.”   In addition to signing these agreements President Browne hosted a reception for Chinese-based alumni of NUI Galway.  Almost 90 Galway graduates are based in China and the event attracted almost a third of these to a reception in central Beijing. Among those alumni and friends in attendance were Tsingua University academic, Professor Yu Ming and his wife Betty Liao and Mr Zhou Ji, former Minister of Education in China. For further information on REMEDI see  ENDS

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NUI Galway Researchers Win Prestigious Wounds UK Award

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Researchers at NUI Galway were recently awarded a Wounds UK Award for a new Electronic medical technique which aims to assist in the restoration of sensory function lost, due to aging and disease, particularly due to diabetes. The Wounds UK awards recognise the outstanding achievements of those in who are improving standards in wound prevention and management, through research, clinical audit and practice development. The NUI Galway team, who presented at the 2010 Annual Wounds UK Conference, observed that lost sensation in the feet, which is known to lead to loss of balance, foot ulceration and ultimately to amputation, may be partially restored by applying low voltage electrical noise to the affected nerves, through the skin, via electrodes. The new technique relies on the principle that the nervous system is in fact an electrically noisy transmission system. The team found that applying a noisy electrical signal to the affected nerves, resulted in the enhancement of the associated nerve signals and their transmission. If the transmission characteristics of nerve signals can be enhanced through the use of a wearable electrical device, then there is the potential to treat a wide range of medical conditions. Currently there is no treatment available to restore neural function lost due to aging and diabetes. With the current dramatic rise in both of these populations, the need for such treatments is greater than ever. This work, funded by the Health Research Board, brings together a multidisciplinary research team including: Dr Paul Breen and Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, NUI Galway; Dr Caroline McIntosh, Podiatry, NUI Galway; Dr Sean Dinneen, Diabetes and Endocrinology, University Hospital Galway and the School of Medicine, NUI Galway; Dr Leo Quinlan, Physiology, NUI Galway; and Professor Jorge Serrador, Department of Veterans Affairs, New Jersey and Neurology, Harvard Medical School. The researchers believe this may only be the starting point for this research. According to Dr Paul Breen, Electrical and Electronic Engineering at NUI Galway: “What is really exciting is that, while we have shown this to have an effect on the lower limb, theoretically it should work on any nerve. Potentially we could build a whole range of devices for a variety of neural problems.” Professor Gearóid Ó Laighin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, NUI Galway, said: “This work which is funded by the HRB and which was facilitated by an SFI Walton Fellowship, shows the potential for producing highly innovative, medical solutions, when a team of researchers from such diverse disciplines as Engineering, Medicine, Podiatry and Physiology, pool their expertise to solve complex medical problems.” -ENDS-

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