Daily Archives: October 21, 2013

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 21st October 2013

Dail/Leinster house web users try to access porn sites


Leinster House computer users have attempted to access porn, dating and gambling sites over 1,100 times in just five months, new statistics have revealed.

Staff, visitors, contractors and journalists have all tried to log onto banned websites on Oireachtas computers.

Records show that there were a total of 1,170 cases which were not linked to pop-up pages or spam – which means they were deliberately accessed.

Oireachtas staff members, journalists, visitors and contractors all have access to the computer equipment.

DISCIPLINED:  And Leinster House workers have been disciplined over the bids to access the illegal and banned sites.

A number of individuals have been disciplined for their deliberate misuse of taxpayer-paid for computer equipment.

The office of the Houses of the Oireachtas service operates a strict ‘acceptable usage policy’ (AUP) which applies to journalists, visitors, contractors and staff, a spokeswoman confirmed.

The AUP states that staff are also put on notice that “any contravention of these principles may be regarded as a matter to be dealt with under the disciplinary procedure”.

“Where inappropriate usage is identified, it is investigated and where spyware and malware computer viruses, and other technical issues are ruled out as being the cause for traffic, these access attempts are dealt with through the formal disciplinary procedures,” the representative said.

“Disciplinary action has been taken where the AUP has not been followed.”

Although the documents released under the Freedom of information Act to the Irish Examiner reveal that there were almost 40,000 attempts to access banned sites but only 1,170 of these were not linked to spam.

A further breakdown of the figures identify that 17,078 of the 29,839 records related to the eight-week summer break between July and September.

Ireland had third highest deficit in European Union for 2012


Country places behind Spain and Greece in EU ranking

Ireland also has one of the highest ratios of government debt to GDP at 117.4 per cent, behind Greece (156.9%), Italy (127.0%) and Portugal (124.1%).

Ireland had the third largest deficit in the European Union in 2012 according to new figures from Eurostat.

Ireland, with a deficit in percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 8.2 per cent, placed third behind other debt-burdened countries Spain (10.6%) and Greece (9.0%).

In 2012 the lowest government deficits in percentage of GDP were recorded in Estonia and Sweden (both -0.2%), Luxembourg (-0.6%) and Bulgaria (-0.8%), while Germany (+0.1%) registered a government surplus . Seventeen Member States had deficits higher than 3 per cent of GDP.

According to the data, fifteen Member States recorded an improvement in their government balance relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011, with twelve worsening and one remaining stable.

When it comes to the ratio of government debt to GDP,Ireland again placed highly , with the fourth highest ratio of 117.4 per cent, behind Greece (156.9%), Italy (127.0%) and Portugal (124.1%).

The lowest ratios were recorded in Estonia (9.8%), Bulgaria (18.5%), Luxembourg (21.7%) and Romania (37.9%). Fourteen Member States had government debt ratios higher than 60 per cent of GDP. In all, six Member States recorded an improvement in their government debt relative to GDP in 2012 compared with 2011 and twenty-two worsening.

Children in Ireland need to eat less and move more, Irish medics warn


irish Groups launch campaign to tackle obesity epidemic

Research shows approximately one in four primary school children are overweight or obese, with 6% of three-year-olds classed as being obese.

 Children need to eat less and move more to beat the obesity epidemic sweeping Ireland, medics have warned.

Parents  have been called on to make practical changes to everyday lifestyle habits like giving youngsters smaller portion sizes and fewer treats and fizzy drinks.

Safefood said less time in front of the television, 60 minutes a day physical activity and getting a good night’s sleep will also make Ireland’s children more healthy in the future.

Research shows approximately one in four primary school children are overweight or obese, with 6 per cent of three-year-olds classed as being obese.

Lynn Ni Bhaoigheallain, chair of the safe food advisory board, said: “We all want children to have a bright future and we get them into all sorts of healthy habits, like brushing their teeth or crossing the road safely.

“This campaign is about supporting parents in making small changes in their everyday family lives.”

The cross-Border campaign to help parents take on childhood obesity features television, radio, poster and point of sale advertising and includes a free booklet.

Launched by safefood — in partnership with the HSE and Healthy Ireland Framework, and the Fitter Futures for All Implementation Plan in Northern Ireland — it also reminds parents about the negative health impacts of excess weight in childhood and how this can impact on a child’s quality of life.

Consultant paediatrician Dr Sinead Murphy also warned obese children face serious illnesses in adulthood. “With a quarter of children overweight or obese, we need to tackle the issue of childhood obesity head on or our next generation will be beset with significant health problems later in life,” said Dr Murphy, Clinical Lead for the W82GO Healthy Lifestyles programme at Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin.

“Evidence shows that once obesity is established, it is both difficult to reverse and can track into adulthood. “Sadly, children who are overweight are at serious risk of becoming adults  who are obese. “This increases the risk manifold of developing serious illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancers and shortened life-expectancy.”

Getting parents to replace fizzy drinks, juice drinks and cordials with water, and being realistic about foods that ‘should be’ treat foods, are key targets in the campaign.

Minister for Health DrJames Reilly  added: “Obesity presents  a real clinical, social and financial challenge which will have a detrimental legacy lasting decades and which will undoubtedly lead Ireland to an unhealthy and extremely costly, if not unaffordable, future if action is not taken now.”

“I want to encourage everybody to help create generations of healthy children who can enjoy their lives to the full and reach their full potential as they develop into adults by making healthier food choices, by being more active and taking the first steps towards reducing overweight and obesity.”

Lifestyle, Disease, Health—and You! By Dr. Rob Berberian, D.O.


As an integrative medicine physician, I get asked the question “What is integrative medicine?” quite often. Since this is a fairly new specialty field of medicine, many people may not be familiar with what it is. The principle behind integrative medicine is to combine the best of what Western medicine has available with the best of what natural and holistic medicine can offer.

Traditional medicine quite often tends to focus more on treating the symptoms. Integrative medicine looks at the person as a whole and tries to reach the root and cause of the symptoms, so treatment can be addressed appropriately.

Medicine is truly an art that has been lost. Treating a patient is more than checking off a bunch of lists on a computer screen. Every patient presents a unique case, and a generic treatment plan cannot be applied.

Getting to the root of the problem: In my private  practice, I use the principles of integrative medicine to really find the root and cause of illness and disease, so I can work with the patient to create a customized plan to achieve optimum wellness. We look at all aspects of health from the physical to the mental, emotional and spiritual. Health is not merely the absence of disease but rather it’s the connection between the mind, body and soul. All of these components of health have to be addressed in order to achieve optimum wellness.

I see patients who have been prescribed medications for many years for illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. After getting proper treatment and focusing on the root of all of these illnesses, these diseases have been successfully reversed and patients have been able to get off of their prescription medications.

Nutrition & stress: The two main causes of most diseases are nutrition and stress. Making poor choices with what you eat can result in illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and even certain types of cancer. Stress can also cause a lot of symptoms and illnesses, including obesity, heart disease, insomnia and depression. I provide my patients with the tools necessary to make the right choices regarding nutrition and learn the skills necessary to cope with all the stressors that we face.

Health & happiness:   Life is a delicate balance between health and happiness. All components of your life contribute to your state of well-being. I am a strong believer of the principle of love as the foundation  of health. Without loving yourself  and others in your life, you are setting yourself up for potential illnesses and diseases. With my specialty focus in spiritual wellness, I tie all aspects of health and disease with the foundation of love and spirituality. Treating patients with a holistic approach allows them to free themselves from the constraints of fragmented care and reach a new level of health and wellness.

So if you are looking to reverse the disease that you already have or achieve a better state of health, you have to find a doctor who is on the same page as you, to help you get a more holistic approach to treatment, in order to achieve the optimum health that you desire. Fill your life with love and happiness so you can guide yourself through the journey into health. 

Women scientists or technologists 

under microscope in RI


Look up a female scientist or technologist on Wikipedia, and you might not find what you’re looking for. Many don’t have detailed pages or any page at all on the free online encyclopedia created by contributors, the vast majority of them men.

It’s a symptom of a larger problem for women in so-called STEM fields _ science, technology, engineering and mathematics _ where men far outnumber women. Even women who have done pioneering work in these fields don’t always get the recognition they deserve, as evidenced by the list of recipients of Nobel Prizes in science. No woman has won one since 2009.

Brown  University biology professor and an alumna hope to help chip away at the problem with a Wikipedia “edit-a-thon,” one of many that’s been held in recent years to help increase the representation of women on Wikipedia.

They gathered dozens of faculty members and students this week at Brown to train them on how to add and edit pages. They also provided lists of suggestions for women to add, entries  to clean up or those who needed more detail, along with links to source material.

Among those listed was Ingeborg Hochmair, who does not have a page even though last month she won the prestigious Lasker Award for medical research for her work developing the modern cochlear implant. By contrast, her husband, Erwin Hochmair, an accomplished engineer who helped develop the device but did not win a Lasker prize, has his own page.

Another is Anny Cazenave, who last year won the William Bowie Medal for outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics. She’s not on Wikipedia.

Maia Weinstock, a Browne graduate, organized the Tuesday event with Anne Fausto-Sterling, a professor of biology and gender studies. They held the training to coincide with Ada Lovelace Day, an annual observance started in Great Britain in 2009 to highlight women in technology and named for the English mathematician who died in 1852. Lovelace is often described as the world’s first computer programmer.

Weinstock, who has run other edit-a-thons for different fields, said she’s targeting Wikipedia because it’s so influential and is one of the most popular encyclopedias in the world. It’s the first place many people go to find out about a subject.

“You’re helping change what everybody else gets to see on a particular topic,” she told trainees.

She said she also hopes to increase the number of women who contribute to Wikipedia. Fewer than 20 percent of Wikipedia editors are women.

Sara Hartse and Jacqueline Gu, both Brown freshmen and computer science  students, said they first became aware of gender inequity on Wikipedia during an uproar in the spring when someone began systematically moving female novelists including Harper Lee and Ann Rice off the “American Novelists” page and onto the “American Women Novelists” subcategory.

They’ve both seen big gender imbalances in science and technology classes and activities and heard their female computer science professor bemoan the fact that talented women often leave the field. Neither had edited a Wikipedia page before this week, but spent the evening cleaning up and adding details to pages for botanist Katherine Esau and oceanographer Sylvia Earle.

“I like this because it’s about empowering women to contribute to this,” Hartse said. “It’s a good feedback loop.”

New hope for baldness/hair loss


New technique offers hope but is a long way from a cure

Scientists have pioneered a new technique for growing human hair , part of a quest to dramatically improve the medical treatment of hair loss. But the research, while promising, is a long way from being a cure for baldness.

Scientists have pioneered a technique for growing new human hair, part of a long-term determination to dramatically improve the medical treatment of hair loss.

Current treatments can be unsatisfactory because they don’t stimulate robust new hair growth . Hair-loss medicines may slow the loss of hair follicles or stimulate the growth of existing hairs, but they don’t create new hair follicles. Nor does hair transplantation, in which follicles are relocated from one part of the scalp to another.

Now, in a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National  Academy of Sciences, researchers have shown that it may be possible to generate new human hair on human skin.

“We’re trying to recapitulate what happens in an embryo” where new hair is spontaneously generated, said Colin Jahoda, professor of stem cell sciences at Durham University in England and a senior author of the study.

The findings are a long way from being the much-sought fix for receding hairlines or bald patches. But they do offer fresh hope for those who suffer from such “pattern baldness,” which is common with aging, or hair loss that results from disease, wounds or burns.

The key to the latest study are dermal papilla, a small group of cells that sit at the base of a follicle and provide instructions to other cells to make hair. For more than 40 years, scientists have believed  it would be possible to multiply human dermal papilla in a lab dish and then transplant them to a person’s scalp to generate new hair.

But it never worked. When such cells were put in skin tissue, they quickly stopped behaving like hair cells and behaved more like skin cells. As a result, they grew no hair.

In the latest experiment, the researchers found a way around the problem by studying rodents. When rodent papilla are transplanted into rodent skin, they readily generate hair. The crucial insight, said Prof. Jahoda, was that in a lab dish rodent papilla spontaneously come together and form three-dimensional clusters. By comparison, human  papilla stick to the bottom of a lab dish in a thin two-dimensional layer.

Prof. Jahoda and fellow researchers from Columbia University in New York figured they needed to turn the 2-D layer of human papilla into 3-D clusters.

They obtained dermal papilla cells from seven human donors and multiplied them in a lab dish. “We then did a very simple thing,” said Prof. Jahoda. “We made a little drop of the culture medium  and turned it upside down, which encourages the cells to come together into a ball.”

Each of the spheroids contained a cluster of about 3,000 papilla. The spheroids were transplanted into foreskin tissue, obtained from newborns, that had been grafted onto the backs of mice; the technique must be first tested on animals for safety reasons . (Because foreskin tissue doesn’t normally have hair it was a good way to test the technique’s hair-generating potential.)

The 3D culture conditions appeared to partially restore  the cells’ normal hair-inducing properties. After six weeks, five of the seven transplants resulted in new hair follicles that genetically matched the donors.

The researchers need to learn a lot more about the process before it can be tried in humans.

They don’t yet know precisely how papilla cells interact with skin cells. They also need to understand the control mechanisms that determine the various properties of hair, such as color, angle, positioning and texture.

Nonetheless, the findings suggest some potentially new approaches forgenerating  hair growth. Researchers may now be able to identify a few “master genes” that regulate the process, and try to influence them. Or, by analyzing how the spheroids work, it may be possible to find drugs that similarly influence hair papilla function.