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Conference hears of medical breakthrough

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At the conference, which was held in the Meyrick Hotel, were: Dr Mary Baker, MBE, European Brain Council: Mrs Sheila Roy who spoke about her battle with Parkinson's disease; and Dr Eilís Dowd, NUI Galway and NECTAR President.

A major conference on neurodegenerative diseases in Galway last week has been hailed a huge success by organisers.

This was the first time the Annual Meeting of the Network of European Central Nervous System Transplantation & Restoration (NECTAR) was held in Ireland. NECTAR saw researchers gather to discuss the latest developments in cell and gene therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

One of the highlights of the conference was a talk by Sheila Roy, who is undergoing an experimental gene therapy treatment for Parkinson’s disease. She first started the treatment in 2011, as part of a trial for ProSavin, a viral gene therapy manufactured by Oxford BioMedica.

Sheila Roy has seen some progressive improvements since she volunteered for the radical treatment, and she has been able to reduce her medication by 50 per cent.

The Chair of the local organising committee was Dr Eilís Dowd, Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology and Therapeutics at NUI Galway, and a member of the University’s NCBES Galway Neuroscience Centre.

“Sheila Roy gave a moving depiction of what life is like with Parkinson’s disease, and we are so thankful to her for sharing it with us. Her contribution rounded off a truly successful event,” Dr Dowd said.

The major remit of the 2014 NECTAR conference was to bring together scientists, clinicians, patient advocates and industry partners from across Europe and the international community to share the latest research in repairing the damage to the central nervous system as a result of degenerative diseases.

At the conference, Dr Dowd was elected as President of NECTAR, an organisation which was founded more than 20 years ago.

“Neurodegenerative diseases are currently treated using drugs that neither address the underlying causes of disease nor prevent neurodegeneration. They simply treat the symptoms of the disease. Cell and gene therapies aim to treat the disease itself and try to reprogramme the body’s mechanism to protect or even repair the brain,” dr Dowd said.

“The science is moving rapidly, and networks such as NECTAR are facilitating the sharing of information among researchers in the field. However, we are still quite a way off any potential cure, but conferences like this renew our determination to succeed,” she added.

Eighteen international experts from across Europe, Australia and Canada spoke at the meeting. These included major international scientific speakers such as Professor Colin Masters, University of Melbourne, Australia and Professor Anders Björklund, Lund University, Sweden, as well as policy makers such as Dr Mary Baker, Past President of the European Brain Council, patient advocates, experts in clinical trial design and industrial speakers.

 

Connacht Tribune

Gardaí seek help in locating missing man

Enda Cunningham

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Gardaí have sought help in locating a man missing in Galway since the end of December.
34-year-old Luke Davoren was last seen in the University Road area on December 30.

He is described as having fair hair, 6ft in height and having an athletic build. He was last seen wearing a grey hoody, brown leather jacket, blue jeans and brown leather boots. He also had a black back pack in his possession.

Gardaí and Luke’s family are very concerned for his welfare and have urged him to make contact.

Anyone with information, particularly any road users with dash cam footage of the Newcastle/University Road areas between 1am – 2am on December 30, is asked to contact Galway Garda Station on 091 538000.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Daredevil’ swimmers are a fatality waiting to happen

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – ‘Daredevil’ winter sea swimmers who dive or jump into the water in places like Blackrock during adverse weather are putting their own lives at risk – and possibly those of rescuers – by their actions, it was warned this week.

Water Safety Ireland have cautioned that the biggest single contributor to drownings in Ireland is what is known as ‘cold water shock’ – a condition caused by the sudden entry into a cold body of water.

There is now growing concern that a copycat trend is emerging with young people – without wet suits – diving or jumping into the sea in stormy or icy-cold weather.

Several people have been filmed on social media in the sea at Salthill during storms – with a number of them taking ‘running jumps’ off the diving tower at Blackrock.

Roger Sweeney, Deputy CEO of Water Safety Ireland, told the Galway City Tribune that people jumping into the sea during storms showed at best a reckless disregard for their own safety and in a worst-case scenario represented ‘a fatality waiting to happen’ for the jumpers – or the persons trying to rescue them.

“Jumping into cold water puts you at risk of cold shock which can result in immediate incapacitation and doing so in storm conditions can make it difficult to get back out of the water safely and promptly before hypothermia sets in.

“Hypothermia leads to the cooling of the muscles needed in the arms and legs to stay afloat. Drownings typically happen when someone over-estimates their ability and under-estimates the risks,” said Mr Sweeney.

Galway Lifeboat Operations Manager, Mike Swan, told the Galway City Tribune, that the key thing for all people who enjoyed the water and the sea was to carefully plan their exercise or hobby.

“Cold water shock is a real danger at this time of year for all swimmers. Be prepared – have your cap, ear plugs, mats, woolly cap [after leaving the water] and towels all in place. Check the weather forecast and check the tides – and never, ever just jump straight into the water during the colder season.”

(Photo: Diving into the water at Blackrock during Storm Bella in December)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Developer banks on boom in rental property market

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The backer of the Crown Square scheme in Mervue is planning an increase in the number of apartments in the development following a review of the economic viability of the project.

The 345 apartments will specifically target the rental market.

Crown Square Developments Ltd, which is operated by developer Padraic Rhatigan, has told Galway City Council that the amended plans will form part of a new planning application to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála under ‘Strategic Housing Development’ legislation.

According to the company, the property market has changed since it was granted permission in November 2019 for 288 apartments in three blocks ranging from five to eight storeys in height.

Mr Rhatigan has now sought planning permission for an 18% reduction in the overall size of basement levels and a reduction in car parking from 1,377 to 1,012 spaces. Cycle parking spaces will increase from 1,110 to 1,200.

The plan also involves the relocation of the vehicular and pedestrian access to the development on the Monivea Road, which will now be closer to McDonagh Avenue. The existing planned access is at the south-easternmost point of the site, but is now planned to move further west.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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