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Relaxed President hosts diabetes group at Áras

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PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has described as “heart warming” the work of the Diabetes Federation of Ireland, which yesterday, on World Diabetes Day, became the first group to visit Áras an Uachtaráin since he took up residence.

The President said he and his wife, Sabina, were very happy that the 45 volunteers and staff from across the country were able to come to “this new home that we have only just moved into”, as he greeted the group in the State reception room.

“How heart warming it is that so many people are giving of their voluntary efforts, of their time which is so precious, of their resources and of their care and their concern in their hearts,” he said. “Thank you for coming to see me, and continue with your wonderful efforts for which so many people will thank you in future.”

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MS research project at UCD yields some surprising results

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By taking a different approach, researchers have discovered what could eventually be a new type of treatment, writes CLAIRE O'CONNELL

SOMETIMES IN scientific research, taking a new angle can unearth unexpected but welcome discoveries. And that’s what happened when researchers in University College Dublin’s Conway Institute looked at a type of tissue damage associated with multiple sclerosis.

It’s early days yet, but by analysing the effects of a cognition-enhancing agent on nerve cells in the lab, they have identified what could eventually offer a new approach to help address the condition.

In MS, a progressive neurologic condition that affects more than 7,000 people in Ireland, it’s thought the immune system attacks an insulating, fatty sheath around nerve cells called myelin, explains researcher Dr Mark Pickering, a post-doc at UCD’s school of biomolecular and biomedical science.

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Tallaght to undergo major reform

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Dublin's Tallaght Hospital is to make major changes to its governance structure, which are likely to include a further reduction in the size of its board and changes in the charter which governs the operation of the hospital.

The planned changes are to be considered by the hospital at a meeting today.

RTE News reported that the changes are to be made at the behest of Health Minister James Reilly. Tallaght is also to implement a plan to deal with its deficit for this year of over €11 million.

It is understood that the Minister had made clear to the hospital that it would have to make changes in its governance arrangements, and that the hospital's budgetary strategy and the planned governance changes are linked.

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Fit 50-Year-Olds As Fit As 20-Year-Olds Who Don't Exercise

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It may not be possible to have the body of a 20-year-old at 50, but it is possible for fit 50-year-olds to be as fit as 20-year-olds who don't exercise, according to researchers at the K.G. Jebsen Center of Exercise in Medicine at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim.

Ulrik Wisloff, a professor and director of the K.G. Jebsen Center, says that activity is far more important than age in determining fitness.

Wisloff and colleagues have been looking at data from Norway's biggest health database, the Nord Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). They found that by increasing the intensity of exercise, people are able to reduce their risk of metabolic syndrome, the cluster of risk factors that increases the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular diseases.

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Dementia cost burden is a wake-up call for Europe

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Today’s news is a wake-up call for Europe. Once again, we have clear evidence of the huge economic burden of dementia.

By Rebecca Wood, Chief Executive of Alzheimer’s Research UK

But while the financial cost should concern us all, the burden is particularly great for those unpaid carers who feel the full force of these devastating diseases.

With hundreds of thousands of people in the UK living with dementia, and a rapidly ageing population, numbers will rise substantially in the next generation.

With no cure yet available, the cost of caring for people with dementia will also soar. We urgently need to avert this crisis, and that means a vast increase in research to find new treatments.

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Supporting Spousal Carers of Persons with Alzheimer's disease

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Alzheimer's disease is a common cause of dementia in older adults. Dementia is a constellation of symptoms which can include difficulties with memory, language, judgement, insight and social skills. In Ireland at present, there are 44,000 people living with Alzheimer's disease and this figure is expected to reach 100,000+ by 2036. With an ageing population, there is much concern about what we can do for those living with Alzheimer's disease. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease increases with age, with one in 20 individuals living with Alzheimer's disease over the age of 65, and one in 5 living with it over the age of 80. Most adults with Alzheimer's disease live at home, and it is estimated that family caregivers provide 57% of all informal dementia care, without receiving any compensation. In Ireland today there are approximately 274,000 family carers.
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A good life despite dementia

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A benefit concert, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, gives band members a chance to show their support to family members THERE’S NOTHING remotely rock’n’roll about dementia, yet on November 3rd, three of Northern Ireland’s biggest bands will take to the stage of the Ulster Hall in Belfast to raise money, break down prejudices and show that they care about people who are affected by this debilitating condition.

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Older people can benefit from a specialised area of psychiatry

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Psychiatry of later life is a growing discipline, but there are still not enough practitioners in Ireland, says one expert, writes COLETTE SHERIDAN

WITH A GROWING number of older people and the associated increased level of age-related mental health problems and dementia, Psychiatry of Later Life (PoLL) is likely to become an important speciality within psychiatry and medicine.

This branch of psychiatry started to develop in Ireland in the late 1980s, having been available in the UK for some time before that. “Ireland went from having no service at all to having approximately 30 psychiatrists of later life in most geographical regions, with some private psychiatrists of later life as well,” says Dr Henry O’Connell, psychiatrist of later life in the Laois/Offaly region.

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Why care for our loved ones could use a man's touch

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Many older men find it easier to establish a relationship with a carer their own gender

Like most things in this life, particularly regarding illness or disability, we don't tend to think much about them until they arrive at our own door.

As a family, we are at the third of possibly many phases of my father's ongoing illness. Phase one was eight months spent in hospital after a major stroke.

Phase two was six months spent in a nursing home after a long wait for a place there, and phase three is back home with 24-hour home care since August of this year.

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Depression not just a part of getting old

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Retirement Shouldn't Mean that Older People Retire to the Subs Bench

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OLDER people have been urged by Dr Martin McAleese to look at how they view themselves.

"There is a tendency for older people to reduce their activities and expectations to sitting down and becoming an observer of other people’s lives," Dr McAleese said.

"Retirement shouldn’t mean that older people retire to the subs’ bench."

People wanted to live full lives all their lives and were entitled to do so, he told the 23,000-member Active Retirement Ireland (ARI) annual meeting yesterday.

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CARDI report reveals 93% of older people feel safer at home when Telecare systems are used

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A new report published by CARDI on "The Role of Telecare in Supporting Carers of Older People" has revealed that older people and their families feel safer and more independent when Telecare systems are installed.

See http://www.cardi.ie/userfiles/Telecare%20(Briefing%20Paper)%20Web.pdf for the full report.

Key Points Use of Telecare in Scotland Survey Key Findings

Savings of £11 million made

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Dorothy Harrington 76, Mistress of the Computer

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Dorothy wins silver surfer award after successful online property deals

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Reilly in push for NY-style health laws

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MINISTER for Health James Reilly wants New York-style public health laws introduced here to stop the epidemic of cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes, which kill three in five people.

Officials have been in contact with Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office in Manhattan to see how the Big Apple reined in the fast food giants.

At the same time, the minister is writing directly to all fast food operators in Ireland asking them to label all menus with the calorie content.

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Governments must make health of older people a priority, says UN rights chief

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With the number of people aged over 60 expected to reach 2 billion by 2050, or more than a fifth of the total global population, discrimination against old persons should rank among the most pressing policy issues for governments and societies, the United Nations human rights chief said today.

“Regrettably, prejudice against and stigmatization of older persons [known as ageism] are consistently reported everywhere in the world,” High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay told the UN Human Rights Council’s panel on the right to health of older persons, citing discrimination based on age in areas as vital as social protection policies, employment laws, and access to public services.

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MS Society Annual Conference

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The MS Society celebrated its 50th anniversary with a bang over the weekend. The society , which promotes research into eradicating multiple sclerosis and providing treatment and respite for MS sufferers and their families held their annual conference in the Burlington hotel in Dublin this weekend.

President Mary McAleese officially opened the conference to over 1,500 delegates. "It is my hope that in 50 years this society will no longer exist as there will be no need for it" said the president, who is also the societies president. President McAleese gave a rousing yet realistic speech on how MS affects the people and their families and friends.

Comfort Keepers were delighted to support this important event and hope to do so again next year. Check out the MS Website for information on current research and to make a donation. www.ms-society.ie

Sue Cogan, Comfort Keepers Home Care

Intellectually disabled excluded from digital age

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THREE out of four adults with an intellectual disability have never written, texted, emailed or used social media to contact their family or friends, a study has found.

Launched yesterday, the report, Growing Older with an Intellectual Disability, also found that less than 60% of people with an intellectual disability used the telephone to make contact with family and friends. Also, adults with an intellectual disability were less likely to own a mobile phone than other adults in the Irish population.

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Mandatory Student Community Service 'would address crisis in care for elderly'

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WITH services for the elderly being curtailed or cut, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn has been called on to join forces with Social Inclusion Minister Joan Burton and introduce a community service "pay-back year" for third-level students.

Dermot Kirwan, spokesman for the Friends of the Elderly said all students should be obliged to do a mandatory number of community service hours throughout their third-level education.

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New Technology for Ongoing In-Home Health Assessment: Aging in Action

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Current methodology in the study of such change involves occasional home visits that are likely inadequate for assessing the individual’s ongoing state.

This method depends on the information collected on these occasional visits, and the individual’s recall of events taking place between visits, to represent the individual’s health and activity status. These limitations make it difficult to reliably detect changes that predict functional and cognitive decline.

New “smart home” technology, however, might enable unobtrusive continuous monitoring of health status that could be used to detect the early onset of health problems, and for general health

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Infections up in long-term care

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Healthcare-associated infections (HCAI) among residents in our long-term care facilities are on the increase, according to a new survey.

And the survey also shows that antibiotic prescribing in Irish long-term care centres such as nursing homes is nearly twice the average EU rate.

Overprescribing of antibiotics can cause resistance to them and is a key factor in healthcare infections.

A Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) survey of nearly 6,000 residents in long-term care centres in May of this year found that the rate of HCAI among them was 4.1%, compared to 3.6% in a similar survey last year.

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Feeling ill? There are apps for that

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Smart phone apps can help you improve your health and fitness, but what are the best ones and how do they work?

IF YOU use your smart phone to download everything from the Dart timetable to The Irish Times, it may be time to start putting it to an alternative use by helping you improve your health and fitness.

However, given the sheer volume of apps now available in this area, it can be overwhelming, particularly for iPhones, so try not to get carried away when selecting the appropriate ones for you.

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Intel's Drive to Prevent Falls Among Seniors

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Click below for a great video on what Intel is doing to reduce falls. It also goes into why preventing falls is essential.

http://www.alzheimersweekly.com/content/intels-drive-prevent-falls-among-seniors-video

Dealing with dementia

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A lack of staff and expertise means a worrying number of elderly people in care homes are receiving poor treatment

Aunt Lizzie never married. Quiet and shy, she had been a dedicated live-in nanny - a second mother to her cousin’s young son. But as the family came to need her help less, it was decided she could be put out to pasture to live with her sister instead.

Only her sister was a troubled schizophrenic and Aunt Lizzie’s nerves didn’t stand a chance. She never recovered from a subsequent nervous breakdown and then disappeared into the fog of dementia.

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Donegal woman celebrates her 107th birthday

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A DONEGAL woman has celebrated her 107th birthday
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Woman beats Galway Bay

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A DUBLIN physiotherapist currently training to swim the English Channel has become the first woman to cross Galway Bay twice.

Sorcha Barry, who works at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin, undertook the 26km challenge last Saturday as part of the Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim.

She was one of 30 participants in the annual event, held in aid of Cancer Care West and named in memory of the late Frances Thornton who had been instrumental in reviving the event for the charity.

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