Health Board: Upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Health risks in outer space, vitamin B12 deficiency and game on for a record-beating tennis match

From left: David Mullins, James Cluskey, Daniel O’Neill and Luke McGuire

From left: David Mullins, James Cluskey, Daniel O’Neill and Luke McGuire


1) An attempt to break the Guinness world record for the longest tennis match will be made at Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club in Dublin – beginning Friday, July 13th. The first ball will be served at 8am on Friday, and, hopefully, the rackets will be put down at 8pm on Sunday, July 15th. It is hoped the attempt will raise at least €20,000 for the Enjoy Tennis programme, which has enabled almost 1,000 players with a disability to learn and play the game in 70 clubs around Ireland. The current world record is held by four Dutch players who played nonstop for 58 hours in 2013. Making the attempt to break that record will be: David Mullins and James Cluskey (former Davis Cup players) and Daniel O’Neill and Luke McGuire (both members of Trinity Tennis Club).

2) “Me and My Mental Health: Coping for Everyday” is the theme of a talk by occupational therapist Orlaith Donoghue at 7.30pm on Wednesday, July 11th, in the Swift Centre, St Patrick’s Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8. The free public talks run by the mental-health support group Aware are held on the second Wednesday of each month. Gerard Butcher, cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, will speak about self-compassion in anxiety and depressive disorders on Wednesday, August 8th, in the same venue. Aware is currently recruiting volunteers for its support services. No prior qualifications or experience is required, as training and support and education are provided. See

3) The health risks of travelling into outer space is the theme of a free talk at the Science Gallery, Pearse Street, Dublin 2, on Thursday, July 12th, at 6.30pm. Held as part of the current exhibition, Life At The Edges, panellists will discuss how extreme travel changes our bodies, and ask if it help us pioneer novel therapies. Booking details on

4) One in eight adults over 50 in Ireland is deficient in vitamin B12 and one in seven is deficient in folate, according to a new study by The Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA). Vitamin B12 and folate are essential for nerve function, brain health and the production of red blood cells and DNA. The researchers suggest that mandatory fortification of these vitamins in certain foods should replace the current practice of voluntary food fortification in Ireland. “In countries such as the US, mandatory folic acid food fortification for the past 20 years has prevented millions of cases of folate deficiency without any proven adverse effects. Irish public health authorities need to act on the facts from studies such as ours,” says study author, Prof Anne Molloy.

5) The National Adult Literary Agency has developed a website with interactive activities parents can do with their children over the summer months. The site provides age-appropriate suggestions from hopscotch and card games to e-books and apps – all of which support literacy and numeracy in fun ways.

6) Ireland’s first mobile X-ray unit is currently conducting tuberculosis (TB) testing at community sites easily accessible by homeless people and vulnerable migrants in Dublin. The mobile vehicle has a waiting area, a consultation room and an X-ray unit to check lungs for this infectious disease. There were 321 new TB cases reported in Ireland in 2017, mainly in Dublin and Cork. While this makes Ireland a low incidence country overall, 43 per cent of the reported TB cases in 2017 were born outside Ireland. See for more details.