Wednesday, 22 December 2021

More than 50 university research collaborations with industry  Four new spin-outs created, and one acquired for almost €40m  New initiatives launched to support research impact, knowledge exchange and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals  University of Galway has revealed a strong performance during 2021 in knowledge transfer and impact with 50 industry collaborations, four new spin-outs and multiple start-up successes and awards. The University also introduced a new initiative supporting knowledge exchange related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and societal problems and launched a toolkit to help the research community engage with external stakeholders and maximise research impact. :: Spin-outs: Four new medtech companies - Tympany Medical, FeelTect Medical, Endowave, and Symphysis Medical - were registered as spin-outs from University of Galway in 2021. All were based on Enterprise Ireland funded research and are developing medical devices which address unmet clinical needs, identified during the Bioinnovate Ireland programme at University of Galway.  :: Start-up ecosystem: University of Galway’s Innovation Office used its Business and Innovation Centre to provide 35 early-stage businesses with mentoring and supports, as well as facilities including laboratories, wet-labs and dedicated offices.   :: Illuminate: A new funding initiative by the University’s Innovation Office supports ground-breaking research that directly addresses the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each ambitious project has the potential to change society for the better, including in the fields of Geography, Psychology, English and Creative Arts and Philosophy.  :: Impact: This year saw the development and launch of NUI Galway's special toolkit to provide researchers with tools to plan, capture, communicate and monitor the impact of their research.  Professor Jim Livesey, University of Galway’s Vice-President for Research and Innovation, said: “Despite all challenges thrown at us, 2021 was a year in which the University expanded its portfolio of spin-outs and widened engagement.   “We are immensely proud of the work our colleagues in the Innovation Office have done to support our entrepreneurial principal investigators and to offer new breakthroughs to the community.”  David Murphy, Director of Knowledge Transfer and Innovation at University of Galway and head of the Innovation Office, said: “Spinouts are a critical route to successfully transfer technology out of the University. The creation of companies whose purpose is to turn research into societal impact is one of the core activities of the Innovation Office at University of Galway.”   University of Galway has 24 spin-out companies, employing more than 185 people, and bringing innovative new services and products to market.   Mr Murphy added: “Many of our start-ups have come through the Enterprise Ireland funded BioInnovate Ireland Programme, developed by University of Galway, and we look forward to building on our expertise and commitment to generating new ventures in 2022.”  Some of the successes among the University of Galway spin-out community, many of whom are based in the Business Innovation Centre, in 2021 included:  :: Vetex Medical was acquired by global company Surmodics Inc in a deal worth almost €40m in 2021. The company will expand operations in Galway as they develop a technology to address the management of venous clots. University of Galway and Vetex Medical were nominated for a Knowledge Transfer Ireland Impact Award.  :: Eight University of Galway start-ups were awarded funding totalling more than €27million through the Government’s Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. The projects will have wide-ranging benefits across many areas of society where innovative technology will be rapidly advanced in areas such as cell therapeutics, medical devices and drone-delivery. :: Tympany Medical, which is developing a specialised ear surgery device, raised €3.5 million in seed investment, including from the venture arm of the Mayo Clinic.   :: Start-up AVeta Medical which aims to revolutionise the treatment of vaginal atrophy, secured funding of €2.5 million from the European Commission.  :: Former BioInnovate Ireland fellow Dr Lyn Markey of Xtremedy Medical won the One to Watch award at Enterprise Ireland's Big Ideas 2021. :: At the Irish Medtech Awards, University of Galway’s Biomechanics Research Centre won the Academic Contribution to Medtech Award and Luminate Medical, which has developed a novel technology to prevent chemotherapy induced hair loss, took home Emerging Medtech Company of the Year. :: Three start-ups secure places at the European Institute of Innovation and Technology - EIT Health Catapult Final next year Luminate Medical, FeelTect, and Amara Therapeutics. :: Start-up Bluedrop Medical won the 2021 Roche Diabetes Care Innovation Challenge in association with Chicago-based healthcare incubator Matter. :: GlasPort Bio won the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) award for Excellence in Energy Research and Innovation.    :: Farmeye, a start-up specialising in soil management, have licensed intellectual property from University of Galway to facilitate labelling and tracking of soil samples. The company is committed to providing systems for full traceability from soil to supermarket and the intellectual property allows the company to manage the soil sampling and analysis process at scale.   :: University of Galway Pristine Coast has developed a superior approach for seaweed authentication spinning out of from the School of Natural Science by providing genetic testing and traceability solutions to seaweed biomass and products worldwide. The technology enables consumer confidence that the goods purchased are of a required standard. Ends 

Monday, 20 December 2021

Open Educational Resources ensures annual savings of €45,000 for student body  NUI Galway has created a new platform with free reusable materials for students to use in teaching and research.  The Open Educational Resources project sees academic staff and students supporting the development of textbooks, videos, lecture notes, handbooks, manuals, lesson plans, worksheets, and annotated books/memoirs. The home-grown materials are easily accessible, free and tailored for specific courses such as medicine and health, anatomy, genetics, mathematics, language learning, history, English, media studies and Irish studies.  President Michael D Higgins has written a foreword for one - a newly annotated, digital version of Material for Victory: The Memoirs of Andrew J. Kettle. The book is a fascinating historical work which brings to life the rich cast of characters and side stories behind the rise and fall of the Land League.  More info on the resources is available here  The Open Educational Resources project and grant scheme is sponsored by the NUI Galway Student Project Fund, and spearheaded by the Library, in partnership with the Students’ Union, and campus stakeholders. Students were directly involved in the creation and development of the resources.  The materials developed are estimated to result in ongoing annual savings of €45,000 per year for our student body.  Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, President of NUI Galway, said: “It is great to see the Open Educational Resources project coming to fruition. The development of Open Educational Resources is a flagship action in our Strategic Plan, where open access to educational resources is a priority.  “This initiative also works to remove the barriers of cost accessibility which we know can impact many of our students.  These resources allow NUI Galway to become a proactive collaborator for innovation, engagement and creativity both nationally globally, and this project has the capability of widening student participation, supporting diversity and encouraging a culture of social inclusion.” Clodagh McGivern, Vice-President/Education Officer, NUI Galway Students' Union, said: “Open Educational Resources have several benefits for the students of NUI Galway, for example the resources make content and educational material more accessible to students while also being a resource that can show off the innovation and talent of our University staff and students.  “Open Educational Resources are a fantastic educational tool and I’m excited for our students to experience how great they are.” Students directly involved in the creation and development of NUI Galway’s Open Educational Resources. They support the development of materials that work for them and are tailored for both the learning objectives in the programme and the learning approach of students. Ends

Thursday, 9 December 2021

“In order to improve inclusion, we first had to understand the barriers to inclusion and participation.” - Inclusive Learning at NUI Galway Researchers at NUI Galway have revealed the lived experience of postgraduate students before and during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the vast majority of students surveyed prior to the pandemic found their learning environment at the University inclusive, the proportion dropped during the pandemic.  The report was completed by members of the Inclusive Learning at NUI Galway project, Dr Shivaun Quinlivan, Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley and Dr Dinali Wijeratne and set out to enhance inclusive teaching and learning practice at the University for postgraduate students, particularly those from diverse backgrounds.  Welcoming the report, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “I am delighted at the launch of this report on inclusive learning at NUI Galway. We have committed in our University Strategy: Shared Vision: Shaped by Values to ensuring that our research informs attitudes and policies about diversity and disadvantage, to raising awareness, and ultimately to removing barriers to equality and diversity within our University and for the public good. This report speaks directly to these values and, most importantly, it places the student voice at the centre.” More than 100 students took part in the first survey in March 2020 and again, in December 2020, more than 100 students took part. The surveys do not claim to be representative or statistically significant but provide a snapshot of the perceptions of a range of students at a particular time. Key findings from the report: 85% of students surveyed prior to the pandemic said they found their learning environment at NUI Galway inclusive. However, 6% of students did not find it inclusive.  66% of students surveyed during the pandemic found their learning experience to be inclusive, while 13% did not find it inclusive. Students generally found teaching arrangements pre-Covid to be inclusive. In many cases, staff were praised for their commitment and support, and students emphasised that staff were approachable and helpful.  67% of students said the pandemic had made their learning environment less inclusive, with more female students than male students reporting this. Just 9% of students surveyed pre-Covid saw other students as non-inclusive, while 2% saw teaching staff as non-inclusive.  Some students found remote learning more inclusive, e.g. some students with disabilities (though by no means all) found their courses more accessible when teaching went virtual. Students with disabilities raised a range of issues regarding accessibility, including issues relating to physical infrastructure and learning materials. However, they also identified significant positive supports in their learning environment, particularly from the University’s Disability Support Service. The research also found that the lack of suitable and affordable childcare was a major barrier to learning for many postgraduate students who were parents. This had a significant practical and emotional impact.  Many students experienced significant difficulties in securing appropriate and affordable accommodation. Often this was due to general difficulties with the rental market, but the difficulties were particularly acute for international students, particularly those with children. Students reported a range of attitudinal barriers which impacted their learning environment. These arose largely from negative stereotypes and unfavourable attitudes linked to factors such as gender, race, sexual orientation and disability. The issue of postgraduate research students doing unpaid work was also identified in the research and the report acknowledges the University is developing a policy on pay related to this. Dr Quinlivan, joint lead of the project and co-author of the report, said: “In order to improve inclusion, we first have to understand the barriers to inclusion and participation experienced by postgraduate students at NUI Galway.” Dr Lucy-Ann Buckley, joint project lead and report co-author, said: “We felt it was really important to engage with our students, and hear their voice - this will enable us to take steps to address the issues they face. We hope the lasting legacy of this research will be to improve the learning experience for all our students.” The report makes a range of recommendations to the university. These include the development of an anti-racism policy and a reasonable accommodation policy for say students with disabilities the provision of training and the gathering and monitoring of student diversity data. Cameron Keighron, student partner on the project and former Student’s Union Education Officer at NUI Galway, said: “It's wonderful to see the final report looking at the experiences of postgraduate students in NUI Galway. This is a group that is often left without a voice, and this work is allowing their lived experience to influence positive change within our campus.  “We must listen to what systems, policies and attitudes on our campus have led to exclusion or discrimination and put steps in place to change this, with this report giving us a great set of recommendations to begin this journey.” The National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education funded the report.  Ends

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Breakthrough study determines that age is the most important consideration in the clinical treatment of one in ten adults with condition Lifestyle changes are key to improving health of young people with specific form of high blood pressure A global study by NUI Galway into health risks associated with a specific form of high blood pressure has found that younger patients with the condition are more at risk of a cardiovascular event or death. The research found that over 50s with high diastolic blood pressure and normal systolic blood pressure - a high value on the bottom blood pressure reading - are not at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. However, the condition increases the risk for cardiovascular events, or death, for younger people. High diastolic blood pressure - also known as isolated diastolic hypertension (IDH) - is defined by the American Heart Association as a diastolic blood pressure greater than 80mmHg and systolic blood pressure less than 130 mmHg. The findings have been published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association. The research was led by Professor William McEvoy, Professor of Preventive Cardiology at NUI Galway, consultant cardiologist at Galway University Hospitals and Medical Director of the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC). The research was conducted in collaboration with a team of investigators led by Prof J Staessen at the University of Leuven, Belgium. The study examined data from 11,135 patients worldwide. All of them underwent a 24-hour blood pressure assessment, known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM), which is generally considered to be far more accurate than office-based blood pressure (BP) when managing cardiovascular disease risk. Professor McEvoy explained the findings: “While IDH - isolated diastolic hypertension - is less common than other forms of blood pressure, it can be seen in 6 to 11% of the adult population and is more common in younger adults. “What we found is that only patients with IDH who are younger than 50 are at greater risk of heart-attack or cardiovascular events.” Professor McEvoy said: “Previous research in this area left some unanswered questions. Our recommendation to physicians on the back of this research is that patients under 50 with IDH need to tackle unhealthy lifestyle and diet, which are common in this setting. “They also need more close monitoring of their systolic blood pressure - the top value on the blood pressure reading - as they are more likely to develop high systolic blood pressure values that may require drug treatment.” Professor McEvoy said the findings of the study do not lead to a clear recommendation for young adults with IDH to be treated with blood pressure lowering medications. “While they are at increased risk of cardiovascular events the actual likelihood of an event is still low in young people. “Prevention of cardiovascular events is possible. Our recommendations for patients under 50 who have been diagnosed with IDH is to make healthy changes to their lifestyle and to defer drug treatment, while ensuring they have annual blood pressure checks with their doctor, unless elevated systolic blood pressure develops. “For over 50s with IDH, there does not seem to be an indication to provide drug treatment as long as the diastolic blood pressure is between 80 to 90 mmHg.” Professor Tim O’Brien, Executive Dean of the College of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at NUI Galway and Consultant at Saolta University Hospitals Group, said: “I welcome this breakthrough research. It helps to settle an open question, raised by previous research and using less rigorous recording of blood pressure. “Prevention is critical when it comes to the management of patients with cardiovascular disease and this research will help clinical teams make better informed decisions about the management of patient health when treating IDH.” Ends

Monday, 6 December 2021

Onóir le bronnadh ag an Ollscoil ar an aisteoir Nicola Coughlan, ar Stiúrthóir Cliniciúil FSS, an Dr Colm Henry agus ar Rúnaí CLG Chonnacht, John Prenty Tá céimithe OÉ Gaillimh i saol na n-ealaíon, an spóirt, na seirbhíse poiblí, na Gaeilge agus sa saol acadúil i measc iad siúd a mbronnfar Gradaim Alumni 2021 na hOllscoile orthu. Tá seachtar iar-mhac léinn aitheanta i ngradaim na bliana seo, mar aitheantas ar a sármhaitheas agus a n-éachtaí aonair: Gradam Alumni do na Dána, an Litríocht agus an Léann Ceilteach – an t-aisteoir Nicola Coughlan Gradam Alumni don Ghnó agus an Tráchtáil – Áine Ní Chonghaile, Stiúrthóir Europus, Scoláire Fulbright agus Údar Gradam Alumni don Dlí, an Beartas Poiblí agus an Rialtas – Antoinette Cunningham, Ard-Rúnaí, Cumann Sháirsintí an Gharda Síochána Gradam Alumni don Innealtóireacht, an Eolaíocht agus an Teicneolaíocht – an tOllamh Mark Costello, Ollamh le hÉiceolaíocht Mhuirí in Ollscoil Nord, an Iorua Gradam Alumni don Leigheas, an tAltranas agus na hEolaíochtaí Sláinte – An Dr Colm Henry, Príomhoifigeach Cliniciúil, Feidhmeannacht na Seirbhíse Sláinte Gradam Alumni don Rannpháirtíocht sa Spórt – John Prenty, Rúnaí CLG Chonnacht         Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge – Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Eagraí Ceoil agus Láithreoir, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta Bhí an méid seo a leanas le rá ag Uachtarán OÉ Gaillimh, an tOllamh Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh: “In OÉ Gaillimh, is ollscoil muid atá ar mhaithe le leas an phobail, le fís chomhroinnte, múnlaithe ag ár luachanna. Le 175 bliain anuas, tá oideachas curtha ag an Ollscoil seo ar chéimithe d’ardchaighdeán a raibh tionchar suntasach acu ina réimsí féin in Éirinn agus go hidirnáisiúnta. Déanaim comhghairdeas le gach duine a bhuaigh gradam agus táim ag súil le fáilte ar ais a chur rompu chuig a n-alma mater in 2022.” Mar gheall ar an bpaindéim, tá na gradaim bronnta cheana féin ar bhuaiteoirí na bliana seo. Tabharfaidh OÉ Gaillimh cuireadh dóibh filleadh ar a n-alma mater chun an gradam a cheiliúradh in 2022. Tugann Gradaim Alumni OÉ Gaillimh aitheantas do shármhaitheas agus d’éachtaí i measc breis is 120,000 céimí de chuid na hOllscoile atá scaipthe ar fud an domhain ó cuireadh tús leo in 2001. Tá gradaim bronnta ar bhreis is 100 céimí den scoth a bhfuil tionchar suntasach acu ina réimsí féin, agus a bhfuil a n-alma mater fíorbhrodúil astu. I measc na ndaoine mór le rá ar bronnadh gradam orthu tá Uachtarán na hÉireann, Micheál D. Ó hUiginn; an tOilimpeach Olive Loughnane; an laoch Rugbaí Ciarán FitzGerald; an t-aisteoir a bhuaigh Gradam Tony, Marie Mullen; an t-iarArd-Aighne Máire Whelan; Aedhmar Hynes, iar-Phríomhfheidhmeannach ar Text 100; agus Adrian Jones as Goldman Sachs. Tá OÉ Gaillimh ag fógairt freisin go bhfuil Gradaim Alumni 2022 oscailte anois d’ainmniúcháin. Tabharfaidh na gradaim seo aitheantas do alumnus nó alumna a rinne éacht ina réimse oibre agus a bhfuil tionchar suntasach acu ina réimse féin. Chun ainmniúchán a dhéanamh féach nó seol ríomhphost chuig Críoch

Monday, 6 December 2021

Actor Nicola Coughlan, HSE Clinical Director Dr Colm Henry and Connacht GAA Secretary John Prenty honoured by University NUI Galway graduates in the worlds of the arts, sport, public service, Irish language and academia are among the distinguished recipients of the University’s 2021 Alumni Awards. Seven former students have been recognised in this year’s awards, in recognition of their individual excellence and achievements: Alumni Award for Arts, Literature and Celtic Studies - Actor Nicola Coughlan Alumni Award for Business and Commerce - Áine Ní Chonghaile, Director of Europus, Fulbright Scholar and Author Alumni Award for Law, Public Policy and Government - Antoinette Cunningham, General Secretary, Association of Garda Sergeants Alumni Award for Engineering and Science and Technology - Professor Mark Costello, Professor in Marine Ecology at Nord University, Norway Alumni Award for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences - Dr Colm Henry, Chief Clinical Officer, Health Service Executive Alumni Award for Contribution to Sport - John Prenty, Connacht GAA Secretary Gradam Alumni don Ghaeilge - Neansaí Ní Choisdealbha, Music Organiser and Presenter, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh said: "At NUI Galway, we are a university for the public good, with a shared vision, shaped by our values. For 175 years our University has educated graduates of the highest calibre who have gone on to have significant impact in their field of endeavour in Ireland and internationally. I congratulate each of the award winners and look forward to welcoming them back to their alma mater in 2022." Due to the pandemic, the awards have been presented to this year’s recipients. NUI Galway will invite them back to their alma mater to mark the award in 2022. First introduced in 2001 the NUI Galway Alumni Awards recognise individual excellence and achievements among the University’s more than 120,000 graduates. They boast an impressive roll call of more than 100 outstanding alumni who have gone on to make an impact in their chosen field, and in so doing honour their alma mater. Among the distinguished honorees are President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins; Olympian Olive Loughnane; Rugby great Ciarán FitzGerald; Tony Award-winning actor, Marie Mullen; former Attorney General Máire Whelan; Aedhmar Hynes, former CEO of Text 100; and Adrian Jones of Goldman Sachs. NUI Galway is also announcing that the 2022 Alumni Awards are now open for nominations. These awards will recognise an alumnus or alumna who has made an outstanding contribution in their area of endeavour and is making a significant impact in their field. To make a nomination visit or email View short video of Alumni Award Winner, Nicola Coughlan here: Ends

Monday, 6 December 2021

UN Special Rapporteur, Professor Siobhán Mullally from NUI Galway, will spend the next 10 days assessing the issue of trafficking in persons in the Central Asian state Tajikistan.  Professor Mullally will meet representatives of Government agencies, as well as UN officials, members of civil society organisations and human rights defenders, especially those working on prevention, and on identification and victim assistance, during her visit to Dushanbe. Her visit to the country runs from the December 7th to 16th. Siobhán Mullally, Established Professor of Human Rights Law and Director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights, NUI Galway, said: “This visit will be an opportunity to meet relevant officials, civil society, organisations and survivors, to discuss trafficking in persons in all its forms, the key human rights concerns arising, as well as the progress that Tajikistan has made in combating trafficking in persons. “I will pay particular attention to the main challenges in implementing international and legal frameworks on trafficking to ensure the human rights of victims, and effective prevention. A particular concern will be the risks of trafficking that may be faced by refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers and their families. “Gender equality, and the gender dimension of trafficking will be a central focus, in particular the risks of trafficking for purposes of sexual exploitation, prevention of all forms of trafficking and access to effective remedies. Child rights and concerns in relation to child trafficking for all forms of exploitation, will be examined. “I will also examine Tajikistan’s existing and planned measures to prevent trafficking, including protection of the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers. To identify and protect victims, ensure access to justice and to effective remedies, and social protection for survivors. Measures to combat impunity for trafficking in persons, and ensure effective investigations, will also be examined.” The Special Rapporteur’s findings and recommendations will be included in an official report to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2022. Ends

Monday, 6 December 2021

The BBC correspondent Orla Guerin has been appointed Honorary Professor of International Journalism by NUI Galway. Ms Guerin will take up her appointment in January 2022, while continuing her work with the BBC. As part of her new honorary role, the award-winning correspondent will mentor students on the MA International Journalism and Human Rights programme at NUI Galway, focusing on foreign news reporting and television journalism. Ms Guerin said: “Now more than ever we need trusted sources of news and we need impartial eye-witness reporting. That's why people turn to public service broadcasters like the BBC. I am happy to join with NUI Galway, which is preparing the next generation of journalists who will take on that responsibility.” Tom Felle, Head of the Discipline of Journalism and Communication at NUI Galway, said that Ms Guerin would bring a wealth of international experience with her when lecturing. “We are absolutely delighted that Orla has agreed to join our faculty as an Honorary Professor. NUI Galway has a long tradition of training journalists who have gone on to report for news organisations worldwide, and we have a strong human rights ethos," he said. “Students will now be able to learn from one of the world’s foremost foreign correspondents, who will bring an unrivalled richness of knowledge into the classroom.” Orla Guerin is the BBC’s International Correspondent, based in Istanbul, Turkey. She is one of the world’s foremost journalists and foreign correspondents and the holder of eight honorary degrees and doctorates, including one awarded by NUI Galway in 2019. Ms Guerin was awarded an honorary MBE for services to broadcasting in 2005, and has won major broadcasting awards in the UK, USA, France, Italy and the USA. She was recently awarded the prestigious Bayeux War Correspondents' Television Prize for the second time. She won the Royal Television Society Journalist of the year award in 2018. The honorary appointment runs for four years, beginning on 1 January 2022. It is not remunerated. NUI Galway runs undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in journalism and global media, including the new MA International Journalism and Human Rights, where students can take modules from NUI Galway’s Irish Centre for Human Rights, in addition to studying journalism. The students benefit from learning about the significant global challenges facing humanity including war and conflict, climate action and humanitarian issues such as migration. NUI Galway’s journalism faculty are international experts on media and democracy issues, with Head of Discipline Tom Felle currently working with the UN migration agency, IOM, on a global project to tackle disinformation on migration as well as the development of a pilot curriculum for teaching digital literacy and migration studies in journalism schools in a number of developing countries. Ends

Friday, 3 December 2021

NUI Galway has today announced the introduction of the JAM Card© initiative on campus for people with additional needs. To mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the University is adopting the support system and providing staff training to assist those who may find it difficult to communicate or get easily overwhelmed in busy public areas. JAM Card© was created by NOW Group, a social enterprise that supports people who, for example, have autism, acquired brain injury, a learning difficulty, or any hidden disability, which may mean that they need “Just a Minute” to allow them to complete their business. The initiative is being led by NUI Galway’s Access Centre and has the backing of Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte T.D. Minister Rabbitte said: “I am delighted to see NUI Galway take such a proactive step to support people with disabilities and additional needs and encourage those who work and use the campus to adopt the JAM Card©. Ensuring that disability services are first and fore-most person-centred is a priority for Government and NUI Galway’s JAM Card© is another   innovative way to improving and meet people’s needs." President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh launched the introduction of the JAM Card© on campus. “Respect and openness are core values at NUI Galway and the adoption of the JAM Card© is symbolic of the increasing focus we place on the need to be more inclusive and go the extra mile for others,” Professor Ó hÓgartaigh said. Head of the Access Centre Imelda Byrne said: “It is important for the University community that we live by our values and that they are more than words. We hope that by adopting the JAM Card© initiative on campus we can help people and at the same time increase disability awareness, representation, and visibility across campus. “I encourage as many staff across the campus as possible to engage with the training and learn the hugely beneficial tools and confidence it provides to support those who may need ‘Just a Minute’.” People who have a communication barrier are often reluctant or unable to tell others about their condition - JAM Card© allows them to do so in a simple, effective, non-verbal manner.  The initiative was originally developed for those with learning disabilities and difficulties but it can be used by anyone with a communication barrier and they are already used across Ireland in libraries, shops and banks and on public transport. Anytime a person needs some extra assistance or time, they can present their JAM Card©, and they will be met by a staff member who knows to give that person some extra time. For more information on the JAM Card© please visit Ends

Thursday, 2 December 2021

NUI Galway study pinpoints anger, emotional upset and heavy physical exertion in hours before event A global study co-led by NUI Galway into causes of stroke has found that one in 11 survivors experienced a period of anger or upset in the one hour leading up to it. One in 20 patients had engaged in heavy physical exertion. The suspected triggers have been identified as part of the global INTERSTROKE study - the largest research project of its kind, which analysed 13,462 cases of acute stroke, involving patients with a range of ethnic backgrounds in 32 countries, including Ireland. The research has been published in the European Heart Journal. Stroke is a leading global cause of death or disability. Each year, approximately 7,500 Irish people have a stroke and around 2,000 of these people die. An estimated 30,000 people are living in Ireland with disabilities as a result of a stroke. Professor Andrew Smyth, Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at NUI Galway, Director of the HRB-Clinical Research Facility Galway and a Consultant Nephrologist at Galway University Hospitals, was one of the lead researchers. He said: “Stroke prevention is a priority for physicians, and despite advances it remains difficult to predict when a stroke will occur. Many studies have focused on medium to long-term exposures, such as hypertension, obesity or smoking. Our study aimed to look at acute exposures that may act as triggers.” The research analysed patterns in patients who suffered ischemic stroke - the most common type of stroke, which occurs when a blood clot blocks or narrows an artery leading to the brain, and also intracerebral haemorrhage – which is less common and involves bleeding within the brain tissue itself. Professor Smyth added: “We looked a two separate triggers. Our research found that anger or emotional upset was linked to an approximately 30% increase in risk of stroke during one hour after an episode – with a greater increase if the patient did not have a history of depression. The odds were also greater for those with a lower level of education. “We also found that heavy physical exertion was linked to an approximately 60% increase in risk is of intracerebral haemorrhage during the one hour after the episode of heavy exertion. There was a greater increase for women and less risk for those with a normal BMI. “The study also concluded that there was no increase with exposure to both triggers of anger and heavy physical exertion.” Co-author of the paper, Dr Michelle Canavan, Consultant Stroke Physician at Galway University Hospitals, said “Our message is for people to practice mental and physical wellness at all ages. But it is also important for some people to avoid heavy physical exertion, particularly if they are high-risk of cardiovascular, while also adopting a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise.” The global INTERSTROKE study was co-led by Professor Martin O’Donnell, Professor of Neurovascular Medicine at NUI Galway, and Consultant Stroke Physician at Galway University Hospitals, in collaboration with Prof Salim Yusuf of the Population Health Research Institute of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Canada.   “Some of the best ways to prevent stroke are to maintain a healthy lifestyle, treat high blood pressure and not to smoke, but our research also shows other events such as an episode of anger or upset or a period of heavy physical exertion independently increase the short-term risk.” Prof O’Donnell said. “We would emphasise that a brief episode of heavy physical exertion is different to getting regular physical activity, which reduces the long-term risk of stroke.” Ends

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