Health briefing


A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Nailing it for charity

THERE’S A week for everything . . .

including having your nails done for charity. During Nail It Week (October 8th to 13th ) anyone – young or old, male or female, fashion conscious or not – can have their nails painted for a donation of €5-€10. The promotion is in aid of three charities: Debra Ireland, the Jack Jill Children’s Foundation and Raynaud’s Scleroderma Ireland, who work on behalf of children and adults affected by chronic and life-threatening medical conditions.

People can Nail It at a participating Nail It salon or pop-up nail bar or with a hand layering treatment at one of 45 participating Clarins counters nationwide. Details on

Large clinical echinacea trial shows safe for colds

THE HERBAL remedy echinacea was found to be a safe and beneficial preventative and symptomatic treatment for colds in a double-blind placebo- controlled trial at the common cold centre at Cardiff University.

The largest clinical trial to date of echinacea found that the herbal remedy (the Echinaforce tincture of echinacea purpurea was used in the trial) did not induce any health risk above that reported with placebo treatment. It also found individuals who get more colds benefited more than those who suffered from fewer colds.

The study found that those taking echinacea had significantly fewer colds of shorter duration than the control group. Echinacea didn’t however prevent individuals from getting colds, which are caused by a number of different viruses. The trial was carried out on 755 adults over four months.

“Echinacea shortens the duration of the cold and it compares to the best anti-viral medicines out there,” said Prof Eccles, the principal investigator of the trial and the director of the common cold centre. “The study also showed a greater effect on those individuals who were stressed, were smokers or had other illnesses.”

Rather than treating pain symptoms, he said echinacea modulates the immune system response by reducing or increasing inflammation where necessary. It also has anti-viral properties which, in some cases, can prevent the recurrence of colds.

The study is published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.


First Pieta House centre to open in west early next year

PIETA HOUSE is to open its first suicide- prevention crisis centre in the west of Ireland early in the new year and plans to open centres in Cork, Tipperary and Kerry by spring 2013.

The demand for the services provided by Pieta House continues to grow and the first six months of this year saw a 40 per cent rise in the number of people attending Pieta House. The non-profit organisation, which has four facilities in Dublin and one in Limerick, provides free counselling services and by the end of 2012 will have helped more than 8,000 people since it began in 2006.

Co Galway businessman John Concannon, star of RTÉ’s The Secret Millionaire, has been the main driving force behind the campaign to open a centre in the west. A planning application for the change-of-use of a premises in Tuam is under consideration.

Founder and chief executive of Pieta House, Joan Freeman, has been overwhelmed by the level of support it has had from local communities in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. The Tuam premises has been donated free of charge for three years and local tradespeople have offered their services to transform the building in time for its opening next January.

She says: “People keep asking me why the Government is not funding our services when they are so vitally needed, but the way we feel is that we would be much quicker doing it ourselves rather than waiting while more people die through suicide. The preliminary suicide figures for 2011 were 525 deaths through suicide and you can be absolutely sure the number is much higher than this.”