A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Taoiseach drops in for wafer ice cream
TAOISEACH ENDA Kenny yesterday dropped in to St Patrick’s National School in Cornanool, Castlebar to host a “HB Ice-Cream Funday Party” for Down Syndrome Ireland.
Celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, the HB Ice-Cream Fundays campaign has raised over €2 million for Down Syndrome Ireland.
The campaign, supported by HB Hazelbrook Farm and Tesco Stores, runs through May and June.
EC awards nearly €4m to ischemia research study
SUFFERERS OF ischemia, a condition which limits blood supply to a tissue, may benefit from a new European research project involving Irish scientists. The European Commission has granted €3.7 million to a consortium led by NUI Galway (NUIG) researchers to investigate use of biomaterials to alleviate the condition. Ischemic heart disease affects some 16 million adults in Europe and is said to be the most common cause of death in the western world. However, ischemia is also a factor in other medical conditions – limiting blood supply to a limb, for instance, which can result in amputation and even death.
Ischemia has a number of causes, according to the NUIG team led by Prof Abhay Pandit, director of the university’s Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB). These include cholesterol blockages in atherosclerosis or the clotting that may cause ischemic stroke, along with inflammation as in ischemic colitis, or conditions such as sickle cell anaemia.
The consortium led by NUIG involves academic groups from the Foundation for Research and Technology (Forth), Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche in Italy, Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, University of Brighton in Britain, University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, Vivasure Medical in Ireland and Selyno Biomedical in Israel. The funding award has been made through the EU-FP7 grant programme under the Marie Curie Initial Training Network.
“Our focus is on therapeutic angiogenesis, which aims to form new vessels to supply the ischemic tissue and restore function,” Prof Pandit said.
95% of abuse reports not confirmed, group hears
JUST 5 per cent of the 30,000 reports of child abuse made to the HSE in 2010 were substantiated, an indication that the current system is “clearly not coping”, the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children heard on Thursday.
Dr Helen Buckley, associate professor at the school of social work and social policy in Trinity College and chairwoman of the National Child Death Review Panel, was speaking at a committee meeting discussing the Draft Heads of Children First Bill 2012, which would see the introduction of a legislative framework for the mandatory reporting of child abuse. “I’ve been looking at this confirmation figure dropping over the years and I’ve always been surprised that there hasn’t been some formal or official commentary on it because it really is extraordinary that 95 per cent of the reports that are made to the HSE aren’t confirmed . . . That could be because the thresholds are high, it could be because the reports are made multiply,” she said, meaning there could be a duplication of reports in cases where multiple concerns were raised about the same child.
Speaking at a separate session, the HSE’s national director of children and family services, Gordon Jeyes, said he did not believe that just 5 per cent of cases were substantiated. “I don’t think the percentage figure of 5 per cent . . . is accurate as such, not least because the 30,000 are not individual children,” he said. Mr Jeyes said the timetable for the Children and Family Support Agency, due to be in place by January 1st, 2013, was a “daunting timetable” but said “the less risky course is to go quickly and let’s get on with . . . taking this forward”.