Health Board: Upcoming conferences, talks, campaigns and events

Disposing of medicines, avoiding osteoporosis and learning to slow down

1) Only one in seven people bring their unused, out-of-date medications back to their pharmacy, where they can be disposed of safely, according to a new survey. The survey by Initial Medical found that almost 80 per cent of people admitted to dumping their old medication in the bin. Two in five people also admitted to occasionally consuming expired medication (out of date within the last year.) and three in five people said they were unaware their local pharmacies can dispose of medication that has reached its expiry date. Disposing of expired medicines in the sink or flushing them down the toilet greatly increases the risk of water contamination and also endangers plant and animal life.

2) An updated version of The Pink Ribbon Path by Mary Redmond Ussher (Columba Books, €14.99) has just been published. The book includes the original prayers, poems and inspirational quotes written by Redmond Ussher during her six-year treatment for breast cancer. This new edition includes testimonies from Deirdre Garvey, chief executive of community and voluntary network The Wheel, Sharon Foley, chief executive of the Irish Hospice Foundation and former president Mary McAleese, all of whom were inspired by Mary Redmond Ussher, the distinguished employment lawyer, academic and social entrepreneur, who died in 2015.

3) Osteoporosis is the most common bone condition in Ireland, with about 300,000 people over 50 years suffering from the condition. It is often referred to as a silent disease as it can go unnoticed, without symptoms, until a fracture occurs. A DXA scan, which tests bone density, is the tool used to diagnose osteoporosis. "Our bone health and strength are largely determined by genetics, gender and age. However, a balanced diet which provides 'bone-friendly' nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin D, zinc and magnesium is important. Physical activity – particularly during childhood and adolescence, when bones are still developing – is also important," says GP Dr Sinéad Beirne in advance of World Osteoporosis Day on October 20th. See also

4) Psychologist Dr Sabina Brennan will give a public talk on brain health on Tuesday, October 23th, from 7pm-8.30pm, in St Laurence's Church, Dublin Institute of Technology, Grangegorman, Dublin. In her talk, Dr Brennan will suggest simple ways to keep your mind active and reduce your risk of developing dementia. Cost €15. Book at, 01-670 5419,


5) Run in the Dark is a global running movement raising funds for a cure for paralysis. It is organised by the Mark Pollock Trust, named after blind Irish adventure athlete Mark Pollock who was paralysed following a fall from a second-storey window in 2010. Thousands of runners are expected to join the runs on November 7th in Dublin and on November 14th in Cork, Belfast and London. Smaller pop-up runs will take place in Galway, Kerry, Kilkenny, Limerick and Mallow. See for more information.

6) A group of Irish psychiatrists are encouraging people to take time to step outside their hectic everyday lives to optimise well-being and practise self-care, by reading, meditating or even taking a long bath. Prof Fiona McNicholas, Prof Elizabeth Barrett and Prof Andrew Coogan are hosts of the 'SLOW' (Sensible Living for Optimizing Well-being) conference at University College Dublin on October 20th from 9am-5pm. Other speakers include mindfulness instructor Cormac Lynch, nutritional therapist Louise Burke and sports medicine consultant Dr Noel McCaffrey. Tickets cost €50 on

7) Psychiatrist Prof Brian Lawlor will give a public talk on the importance of having a hopeful approach to dementia in Ireland on Wednesday, October 17th at 7pm in the Sion Hill School Theatre, Cross Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin. Prof Lawlor is the chairman of the Irish Dementia Awareness Campaign and Co-director of Global Brain Health Institute in Trinity College Dublin. The talk is organized by the Living Well with Dementia project in South Dublin. Admission free.

8) An open day to provide support for people who stammer takes place on Saturday, October 20th at the Hilton Kilmainham Hotel in Dublin.  National Stammering Awareness Day, now in its 12th year, provides information to people who stammer, their friends and families. It is free to attend and all are welcome - people who stammer, family members, friends, and professionals who work with stammering. For more details see and

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson

Sylvia Thompson, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes about health, heritage and the environment