Brian O’Driscoll, during his 140th International Test game  against Italy at the Aviva Stadium in 2014. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill

‘We shouldn’t be surprised elite sports players take prescription painkilling medications’

 The  metallurgical plant  in Nizhny Tagil, one of  the dirtiest cities in Russia, where  the concentration of benzopyrene in the air is 13 times  the permissible level. Scientists say the form and pace of the world’s response to climate change will shape the health of nations for centuries to come. Photograph: Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA

Policymakers should grasp ‘greatest global health opportunity’ of 21st century’

Clair Tierney, Áine Ní Fhaoláin and Katie McManus, play specialists at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin.

For young patients at Our Lady’s in Crumlin, the hospital’s play specialists are crucially important in aiding recovery

Members of the Madrigallery Chamber Choir rehearsing ahead of the premiere of a commissioned choral works, Hospital Voices, in the chapel at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) on Thursday, December 6th.  Photograph: Patrick Browne

Ireland’s longest running arts and health organisation the Waterford Healing Arts Trust is making a real difference

Martin Kelleher working on Kelleher’s Christmas Tree Farm, Brannockstown, Naas, Co. Kildare. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland faces a Christmas Tree shortage in seven years after the 2018 heatwave

Dr Íde Delargy: “When doctors resort to self-management with alcohol or prescription drugs, the risk of suicide is higher.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Young doctors are increasingly suffering from stress, burnout, depression and drugs and alcohol addiction

Agnes Mulvihill: “I had two hospital stays with pneumonia and eight chest infections.”

Sufferers of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease speak about how they cope with their condition

A public seminar on clinical trials will be held in the Trinity Translational Medicine Institute at St James’s Hospital, Dublin, on   December 5th. Photograph: iStock

Public seminar on clinical trials, chemsex education course, charity run and more

The National Charity for Deafness and Hearing Loss (formerly DeafHear) has been officially relaunched as ‘Chime’. Pictured at the relaunch announcement were comedian and actor Deirdre O’Kane and Lexie Noone (aged 5, from Kilnamanagh, Dublin). Photograph: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Cancer research, mental health, premature birth and bereavement on the agenda

Achill Island sheep farmer Martin Calvey: overall winner of the  Farming for Nature awards. Photograph: Johnny White

Farming for Nature awards celebrate farmers who protect habitats and wildlife

Global furniture maker Ikea aims to become a fully circular business by 2030. Its targets include designing products so that they can be repurposed, phasing out virgin oil-based plastics from products and ensuring all packing materials are made from renewable or recycled material. Photograph: Reuters/Grigoris Siamidis

The goal is to bring all waste back into the production cycle. Where will it lead us?

The course – which is delivered mainly online – has modules on clinical trials, regulatory affairs and health technology assessments. Photograph: iStock

‘It’s also important for researchers to hear what patients want from new drugs’

Organisers of the Knitting and Stitching Show are promoting the mindful qualities of crafting in advance of the show at the RDS. Photograph: Dara MacDónaill

Knitting show taking place at RDS, conference on eating disorders and more

Tipperary v Kilkenny: The Legends Return,   Saturday, November 3rd,  6pm in Borrisoleigh, Co Tipperary. In aid of  Amanda Stapleton, who has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.  Eoin Murphy (above) will line-out  along with former Kilkenny stars, including Henry Shefflin and Tommy Walsh. Home side  includeS Brendan Cummins, Lar Corbett and Eoin Kelly. Tickets  €20 (in Centra or Tickets.ie). Under-16s free.

Post-stroke fatigue, November the month for remembrance and autism support

Robert Bradshaw’s work accident  left him paralysed from the waist downwards. “There wasn’t any scaffolding on the site and demolition isn’t my usual type of work,” he says.

Robert Bradshaw now gives talks to construction workers on the dangers of taking risks

Panoramic views of Prague from Petrin Hill. Photograph: iStock

Engrossing and beguiling, the Czech capital offers visitors a glimpse of its rich and glorious past

Artist Ana Martinez with her wall-hanging, ‘Miracle, which featured in Dublin Simon Community’s art exhibition at Temple Bar Gallery. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times

Dublin Simon runs art and creative writing classes for people on the margins of society. For participants, it’s all about belongin(...)

College promote personal wellbeing of anaesthesiologists

E.coli: the risks of antimicrobial resistance are  further complicated by the lack of development of new antibiotics by pharmaceutical companies. Photograph: iStock/Getty

By 2050, antimicrobial resistance could cause even more deaths than cancer

Cork children Olan Hanrahan (7) from Charleville, Kumail Alhlaichi (5) from Blackpool, and Alex Madden (6) from Aherla have unleashed their superpowers for the ‘Mercy Heroes’, which raises funds for POONS, the Paediatric Oncology Outreach Nursing Service. The service allows children with cancer to receive treatment from the comfort of their own home. The Mercy Hospital Foundation in Cork is holding its fundraising day on Friday, October 19th. Register at mercyfundraising.ie to receive a ‘Mercy Heroes’ pack full of information and ideas. Photograph: Ed Godsell and John Allen

Disposing of medicines, avoiding osteoporosis and learning to slow down

The green on the par 3, 12th hole at Portmarnock Golf Club,  Co Dublin. Photograph:   David Cannon, Getty

Players produce guide to the flora and fauna of links club to mark its 125th anniversary

Edna Powell: “I was very lucky that the donor lung was suitable for me.” Photograph: Shane O’Neill

‘It is a daunting experience but receiving a donated organ is the best present you’ll ever get’

Betty Maher (102): “I would advise people to keep active and have a hobby” Photograph: Dave Meehan for The Irish Times

Physical and mental fitness is key to staying healthy into old age

In Ireland, almost one million counterfeit or sub-standard medicines were seized in 2017. Of these, 47 per cent were anabolic steroids, 23 per cent were sedatives and 13 per cent were medicines for erectile dysfunction. Photograph: iStock

Counterfeit drugs, medical devices and supplements bought online can have tragic consequences for patients

Tom Daley and Dustin Lance Black: “The fact that Pampers are including us gives people the opportunity to meet a same-sex family and, honestly, the challenges are the same.”

Olympic diver Tom Daley and his screenwriter husband Dustin Lance Black used the launch of a new Pampers nappy to introduce their (...)

The Health Innovation Hub Ireland team at work.

Health Innovation Hub Ireland matches inventors and entrepreneurs with clinicians in ‘Dragons’ Den’-style process

A very unusual event will be coming to Ireland next year when “Anatomy Lab LIVE” hosts its “surgical spin on dinner and dissection” in Belfast, Dublin and Limerick. After dinner, the operating theatre in the room will spring into action. Ventilators, a crash trolley and full team will “race the clock to save a patient’s life”. The show includes spectator involvement, with each table including a surgical trolley with clamps, scalpels and an array of surgeon’s tools. The show, which tours Britain in the first months of 2019, comes to Belfast on March 16th, Dublin on April 7th, and Limerick on April 28th. Standard tickets are £79/€89. See anatomylablive.co.uk

Childhood eczema, games for dementia sufferers and organ donation appeal

The soft crunch underfoot of yellow, red and brown leaves that have fallen from deciduous trees is one of the most potent symbols of autumn

Once you get kitted out with warm, waterproof clothes and good walking shoes, you’re up for the challenges that this most colourfu(...)

The Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland Motorshow and Conference will be held at the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, from 10am-5pm on September 28th and 29th. Pictured are bloggers Paddy Smyth and Seán O’Kelly. Admission is free and there is free parking for EU parking card holders. See ddmotorshow.ie. Photograph: Silver Image

Health advice at the Ploughing, Alzheimer’s awareness and the risks of sitting

A treat for pupils before getting Junior Certificate results at Temple Carrig School in Greystones, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

‘Many students have mediocre Junior Certificate results and do really well in the Leaving’

What is being billed as Ireland’s “first ever national yoga festival”, called NOURISH #YogaFSTVL, is scheduled for September 17th-23rd. Yoga studios, workshops and retreats all over Ireland will be opening their doors to welcome locals of all ages and abilities. For more information check out fstvlr.ie. Pictured is Jeanie Jyanti of Anam Solas Yoga.

Dublin Rape centre seeks volunteers, while MS Readathon encourages young minds

Roisin Sheridan: “I didn’t like the taste of it at first, but after about three pints of beer, I suddenly felt better”

Recovery Month: We meet three people who turned their lives around from addiction

Wildlife ranger Lorcan Scott is responsible for more than 50 raised bogs in the east and south of Ireland.

A ranger’s lot: From snails to bogs, and threats from poachers and turf-cutters

Healthy Town initiative; Incredibles family challenge; and healthy lunchboxes for kids

Molly Twomey: “An eating disorder is a coping mechanism for everything you’ve suppressed and it was very difficult to feel all the pain and heartbreak that I’d used my eating disorder to cope with.” Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Molly Twomey refused to admit she had an eating disorder until her parents intervened and got her the help she needed

Davy Russell, Richie Hogan, Lee Chin, Marty Morrissey, Ursula Jacob, Jamie Codd and Danny Mullins ahead of the Hurling For Cancer Research 2018 match in Newbridge, Co Kildare. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Sports stars come out to hurl for cancer research, a walk for night nurses and a new initiative to donate hospital parking spaces

Mary Nally: “I started up Third Age Ireland because I saw village life through my mother’s eyes and realised how little was available to keep her occupied and active.” Photograph: David Prendergast.

Health hero: Mary Nally founded Third Age Ireland, a national voluntary organisation which provides services, social activities an(...)

Researchers have also found that musical memory is one of the last types of memory people with dementia lose

Playing an instrument can protect from memory loss while personalised playlists can reduce anxiety in those with dementia

Poolbeg Power Station from Irishtown nature reserve in Ringsend, Dublin. Peregrine falcons nest on a platform on the Poolbeg  towers. Photograph: Getty Images

Travelling on a small cruiser gives you a new perspective of the Dublin coastline, its waters and islands

Donnchadh Gibson (4).

Campaign aims to encourage people to see the personalities, not just the syndrome

Krysia Lynch is chairwoman of the Association for Improvement in Maternity Services, a voluntary group that provides pregnant women with information, support and advocacy. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

There are still inequities in maternity care in Ireland, says campaigner Krysia Lynch

Common (or harbour) seal sometimes travel up the larger rivers and spend time in lakes. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Harbour seals now play second fiddle to grey variety in Irish waters

Homeward Bound: women scientists in Antarctica in January 2018. Photograph: Oli Sansom 2018

The Irish scientist on women’s voices in climate change and tackling Stem’s gender bias

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

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

The School of Looking is an innovative children’s arts and science summer school held in the South Tipperary Arts Centre.

Information on dyspraxia, dental developments, forest therapy and ePrescriptions

The cactus greenhouse at the National Botanical Garden in Glasnevin, Dublin. The delicate red tips on miniature cacti in the glasshouse  indicate the presence of flavenoids, which act as UV filters to protect the plants from high UV levels. “These pigments are currently inspiring a new range of sunscreens,”  says botanist  Matthew Jebb

Biomimicry tours of the National Botanic Gardens reveal how nature inspires inventions

Health Innovation Hub Ireland have launched a national focussed call for products and services that enable positive ageing. The HIHI team (left to right): Aisling Dolan, Paddy McGowan, Gillian O’Mahony, Diana Hogan-Murphy, Noreen Lynch, Noel Murphy, Colman Casey, Niamh Allen, Emily Naylor, Dan Maher, Jane O’Flynn, Tanya Mulcahy and Eimear Galvin.

Workshop on Alzheimer’s and dementia care and Blood Bikers wanted

“Nearly 300 grams of gold can be recovered from about one tonne of recycled mobile phones.”

Chemist Michael Braungart suggests products could end their life as biological nutrients

Ireland ranks 18th of the 26 European countries for availability of new medicines. Photograph: Getty images

Accessing new medicines is a complex business in Ireland compared to many other European countries

Mairéad Sparkes enjoying a riding session with Anna Nowicka, therapeutic riding coach at Festina Lente Equestrian Centre in Bray, Co Wicklow. Clara O’Donnell is leading the horse, with Emma Fitzgerald on Mairéad’s right.

A Dublin conference will hear how interaction with horses can help people with a variety of problems

From left, Clodagh Kane (12), Swords, Co Dublin; Conor O’Brien (12), Clarehall, Dublin, and Dr Phillip Kieran from RTÉ One’s ‘You Should Really See A Doctor’ at the launch of Irish Life Health’s “Not Just for Girls” HPV-awareness campaign. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is now so common that the majority (80 per cent) of Irish men and women will get the virus at some point in their lives, yet new research reveals 95 per cent of parents underestimate just how prevalent the virus is. Photograph: Julien Behal Photography

Water safety, a ‘virtual’ marathon and a Big Toddle

Gynmast Patrick Quinlivan from Letterkenny, Co Donegal with his haul of medals during the homecoming after the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Up to 1,600 athletes, all of whom have intellectual disabilities, will compete in a range of sports

The audience heard that “spies, police and military intelligence officers and criminals all inhabit this deeply confusing world seeking out the latest cyber criminal and cyber espionage techniques”. File photograph: Getty Images

Britain’s pivotal role in intelligence network flagged by Misha Glenny at Carlow gathering

A Sunday morning in the Phoenix Park. The Dublin  park is  bigger than all London’s parks put together, and twice the size of Central Park in New York.  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Ireland’s capital has a lot going for it if it wants to be a ‘national park city’

Sarah Cagney: “It is reassuring how easily the condition is treated without medication.”

The genetic condition often goes undetected in people until they are in their 30s

Prof Donal O’Shea is consultant endocrinologist at St Vincent’s University Hospital and St Columcille’s Hospital, Dublin. He also lectures in endocrinology to medical students at UCD and the RCSI

Health Hero: ‘I try to keep in mind the mantra of everything in moderation – including moderation’

Bloom 2018 at the Phoenix Park has an eclectic mix of stunning show gardens, tantalising food features and fun for all the family. Photograph: Chris Bellew/ Fennell Photography

Bloom, Cat Laughs, Forbidden Fruit, Vantastival, Women’s Mini Marathon and more

Up to 50 per cent of people over 50 have high blood pressure, two-third of whom either don’t know they have it or don’t make an effort to control it

Addressing lifestyle measures can help reduce the risk of stroke or heart strain

 Water and reeds in  Abbeyleix Bog, Co Laois

Abbeyleix Bog is teeming with wildlife from carnivorous plants to rare flowers and birds

The Dementia: Understanding Together campaign has put together five tips for people to make their own gardens dementia friendly. Photograph: iStock

‘Being in a garden helps a person with dementia to be oriented in time and space’

Abbeyleix Bog. ‘My main hope for the future is in community and volunteer-led initiatives like the Abbeyleix Bog project.’ File photograph:  Bord na Móna

Events aims to celebrate wildlife and raise awareness of damage being done to environment

Michelle Long and Claire Cahill, founders of the Scoliosis Advocacy Network. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

They raised over €14,000 for the orthopaedic charity Straight Ahead and hosted a huge toy collection for children having surgery f(...)

From left: Billy Beesley (11), Soifia Dragacevac, Molly Beesley (6), Luke Shanahan, Seán Gallagher and Harry Beesley (9) at the launch of the UCD Festival 2018, which is back for its third year on Saturday, June 9th, 2018. The festival is a free event where the wider UCD community and the public is invited for a day of events, talks, interactive science exhibitions and modern technologies, creative workshops and live performances. Register at www.ucd.ie/festival. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Body image at the Science Gallery and public talk on bullying by John Lonergan

There are a number of tasty recipes wildflowers can be used in. Photograph: Getty Images

May is a peak month for foraging as wild flowers and herbs come into full bloom

Social and therapeutic horticulturist Caitriona Kelly with prisoners participating in a gardening course at Loughan House open prison  in Co Cavan. Photograph: Barry Cronin/barrycronin.com

Can growing vegetables help prepare prisoners to return to society as law-abiding citizens?

The key is to get moving again and not focus too much on the exact source of the pain

Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are hosting an event called "Syria Crisis: Frontline Emergency Room" at The Royal Irish Academy, on Dawson Street, Dublin at 6.30pm on Thursday (May 10th). Dr Javid Abdelmoneim will be talking about his work in Raqqa, Northern Syria providing emergency healthcare at MSF’s trauma stabilisation unit. This is a free event but places are limited so please RSVP to 01 660 3337 or email office@dublin.msf.org

An introduction to tai chi and health checks for over-55s take place this week

“A lot of people are afraid of movement and exercise following spinal surgery yet we know that people work better in groups and prefer [physiotherapist] supervised exercise classes.” Photograph: iStock

Got Your Back Ireland is ideal for people with chronic health issues or those after surgery

A Spotted Ray (Raja montagui) eggcase sighted on Carratigue Beach in Co Mayo. This is one of Ireland’s more common species of egg-laying skate

Important marine citizen science projects sometimes struggle to survive

European eels: spend several months travelling from their spawning grounds in the North Atlantic

One of our most threatened native fish species now regarded as ‘critically endangered’

A heron flies over the Dodder waterfall. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Irish river trusts spring up as ‘rights of nature’ movement surges internationally

Rhonda Daly, Brian McCarroll and Meabh Henderson. Photograph: Alan Betson

In Ireland, about 1,300 suffer from the life-threatening inherited disease

2018 Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards finalist Caoimhe Bennett, right, from Loreto Grammar School in Omagh, with Andrea McBride, vice-president of Pramerica Systems Ireland, and guest-of-honour Joanne O’Riordan

Caoimhe Bennett was one of the 20 finalists in the Pramerica Spirit of Community Awards

Siobhan Hannafin, from Sallins, Co Kildare,  with her children, Liam Hannafin, age 3, and Áine Hannafin, age 7, who has cystic fibrosis, at the launch of Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s 65 Roses Day fundraising appeal. Photograph: SON Photographic

Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s national fundraising day and Trinity seeks participants for Alzheimer’s study

Added sugars, found in processed food and drinks, are a contributing factor in obesity and diabetes. Photograph: iStock

Avoiding added sugar isn’t easy but nutritional therapist Elsa Jones is there to help

Donating blood: One in four of us will need a blood donation at some stage in our lifetime, yet only about 3 per cent of those who can donate blood do so. Photograph: Istock

In Ireland, you can donate blood, kidney, bone marrow, platelets, breastmilk and hair

Caroline Lynch, organ donation coordinator:  “I’m humbled and privileged to journey with families at such an intense and dark moment in their lives.” Photograph: Tom Honan

Caroline Lynch is one of six organ donation co-ordinators

You can pick up an organ donor card from your local pharmacy and keep it in your wallet. Photograph: Istock

Becoming a potential donor is easy – carry an organ donor card and let your family know

Hedgegrows give rural Ireland that patchwork quilt landscape that Failte Ireland use in international tourism campaigns. Photograph: Getty Images

They provide food for animals and store carbon to mitigate against climate change

The Willow Zen Garden, in Fairview Park, Dublin, with project art manager Laura Larkin, from Dublin Culture Connects (right). It was made by locals from Ballybough Craft Group and Fairview Art Class. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times

Dublin council project enables northside women to turn their park into a Zen garden

Sir Paul Nurse speaking after being awarded the inaugural George Sigerson award for ‘inspiring aspiring’ scientists by UCD Biological Society. Photograph: Aoife O’Sullivan

‘Not enough money going into discovery on the spectrum of research from discovery to translation to applications’ - Paul Nurse

Rita Shah of Shabra Plastics: “It’s important that people rinse out their milk bottles, take off the labels and lids and don’t leave food on plastic containers so it can be used again.” Photograph: Eric Luke

Two Irish companies make recycling plastics their business

New guidelines dictate that packaging waste must be clean, dry and loose before recycling.

Up to one third of all household recycling bins are contaminated by unrecyclable material

Dr Takanori Shibata, inventor of the therapeutic seal, Paro with a client in the Alzheimer Society of Ireland Orchard Day Care Centre, Blackrock, County Dublin.

Employers across Ireland are encouraged to host an event on national Workplace Wellbeing Day on April 13th

Writing about shamrock in the 1980s, the Irish botanist Charles Nelson said that shamrock was nothing more and nothing less than young clover

There is much dispute as to exactly which three-leafed plant is a shamrock

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