Daily Archives: May 26, 2014

News Ireland daily BLOG by Donie

Monday 26th May 2014

Public hospital outpatient waiting lists show a 230% increase


Public hospital outpatient waiting list numbers are continuing to spiral – the number of patients waiting over a year for an appointment has increased by 230% since the end of 2013.

The latest performance report from the HSE shows that there were 16,295 patients waiting over a year for an outpatient appointment as of the end of March, compared to only 4,937 waiting this period at the end of last year.

There were 13,438 patients waiting over a year for outpatients at the end of February.

The total number of patients on outpatient lists is now 331,281, compared to 300,752 at the end of 2013.

Health Minister Reilly aimed to have no-one waiting over a year for an outpatient consultation by the end of 2013. The numbers were cut by over 50,000 between the end of November and the end of December last.

This was mainly achieved through buying services from private hospitals for a once-off clearance of the lists before the end of 1913, However, the lists after they were cut substantially, almost immediately started rising again.

Latest figures also show that public hospital waiting lists for operations and procedures are continuing an upward spiral that started in January.

Only four adult patients were waiting over nine months for treatment at the end of December last but by the end of March the numbers waiting over eight months (the new maximum wait target) had risen to 4,350.

Total numbers on treatment waiting lists now stand at 50,537, compared to 44,870 at the end of December and 49,147 at the end of February.

The continuing increase in waiting lists, coupled with the growing financial crisis in the HSE, is increasing the pressure on Health Minister James Reilly, especially in the wake of the Government parties’ poor local and European election results.

New Sligo County manager says ‘door now open’ to Lissadell estate owners


New Sligo County manager Ciaran Hayes says the council would try to facilitate the owners if seeking to host more concerts at Lissadell House.

The Sligo county manager has said his door is open to the owners of the Lissadell estate, and that he was hopeful the “fantastic facility” would reopen to the public.

At a special meeting today to discuss the fallout from the legal battle over rights of way at the Co Sligo estate, Ciaran Hayes also said the council would do its best to facilitate the owners if, for example, they wanted to have more concerts on the estate.

He told councillors he could not give a guarantee that such a dispute would not happen again. Mr Hayes said the issue had implications for every local authority in the State and implications for legislation. Councillors were told there was a legal onus on the council to defend rights of way.

Building bridges

After a number of councillors urged that the council be more proactive in building bridges, Mr Hayes said he would have no problem in approaching the owners, and a motion urging him to do so was passed.

The meeting was held following the release of a statement from owners Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy that described a report prepared by officials on the legal background to the case as “a whitewash”.

Last November, the Supreme Court found in favour of the owners and overturned a High Court ruling that rights of way existed on four avenues through the estate, the ancestral home of 1916 leader Constance Markievicz.

Mr Hayes told the meeting the council’s costs in the matter were likely to exceed €2 million and some legal bills had been paid from an overdraft. He said the owners would furnish a legal bill to the council, which is liable for 75 per cent of their costs, estimated at up to €7 million. In the absence of agreement it would be referred to the taxing master and could take up to two years to be finalised.

The estate was regarded as one of the leading tourist attractions in the northwest, but it has been closed since 2009. Today, the couple said no decision had been made about its future.

Labour councillor Jim McGarry said the family deserved an apology from Sligo County Council. They were parents and children who had made Lissadell a home, he said. “They put their heart and soul into creating something for the good of the people of Sligo and were treated appallingly,” he said.

What had happened was heartbreaking, Mr McGarry said. “Lissadell is now closed, and has been for the past five years,” he said, adding that it had been a tourist attraction that brought more than 40,000 visitors a year to Sligo.

In December 2008 the county council had passed a motion to amend its county development plan aimed at protecting public rights of way along four routes at Lissadell.


Fine Gael councillor Joe Leonard, who had proposed the motion, was heckled by Mr McGarry as he told colleagues his conscience was clear.

“I did the right thing. I would do exactly the same again,” said Mr Leonard, adding he had acted in the interests of the local community.

“I applaud the strenuous and repeated efforts by Sligo County Council to achieve a negotiated settlement,” he said.

Mr Leonard told the sometimes heated meeting the Supreme Court’s decision to completely reverse the High Court ruling was “in the eyes of the community, and in my own opinion, unbelievable”. He said the ruling on costs was “equally mystifying to any reasonable observer”.

Seán MacManus of Sinn Féin said the council could not wait for an approach from the owners but had to “extend a hand to the Walsh-Cassidy family, even at this late juncture”.

Galway in shock at five suicides in one weekend


Families and friends gather at the Walk of Life event in Galway city, after a weekend where at least five suicides were recorded. Walk of Life creates awareness around depression and suicide and remembers loved ones who have been lost to suicide.

Hundreds of people joined a remembrance walk after confirmation by gardai that there were at least five suicides in Galway in the space of just a few days.

Cork hurler Conor Cusack, who has made no secret of his own battle with depression, spoke at the Walk of Life event in Galway city organised by Niall McDonagh and his mother Mary.

Their family is among thousands across the country who have experienced the tragedy of suicide – with the five deaths in Galway coming the previous weekend.

“It is so shocking and tragic for anyone touched by it and after the numbers in Galway – if that is not an epidemic, I don’t know what is,” said Niall.

Ireland has exceptionally high rates of suicide among young people, with 600 deaths of people under the age of 25 recorded in Ireland in 2012.

“We need to change the way society looks at suicide,” said Supt Gerry Roche, one of the founders of suicide prevention and support group Galway East Life Support.

“It is a huge problem. Here in the West it is probably the single biggest issue.”

Stem cell research Products, Opportunities, Tools and Technologies


Dominate the Stem Cell Product Market by Making Smarter Decisions Faster

Stem cells are still a relatively new discovery, as the first mouse embryonic stem cells were derived from embryos in 1981, but it was not until 1995 that the first successful culturing of embryonic stem cells from non-human primates occurred and not until 1998 when a technique was developed to isolate and grow embryonic stem cells from human blastocysts.

Soon after, mesenchymal stem cells, neural stem cells, and hematopoietic stem cells became popularized. Groundbreaking experimentation in 2006 then led to the introduction of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

To facilitate research resulting from these far-ranging discoveries, a large and rapidly growing stem cells products market has emerged. There are now over one million stem cell researchers in 179 countries worldwide. In addition, there were only 17 stem cell product companies as of 2006 and that number has expanded to include over 100 today (more than a 5-fold increase). Not surprisingly, trend analysis also reveals rapid increases in stem cell research activity over the past five years.

Revealing new 2014 data, the industry report “Stem Cell Research Products: Opportunities, Tools, and Technologies” addresses these trends by strategically positioning research supply companies to expand, profit, and outmaneuver the competition.

A distinctive feature of the report is the findings discovered as a result of surveying researchers that identify as having stem cells as their core focus. This 2014 survey reveals stem cell researcher needs, technical preferences, key factors influencing buying decisions, and more. It can be used to make effective product development decisions, create targeted marketing messages, and produce higher prospect-to-client conversion rates.

To benefit from this lucrative product market, you need to anticipate and serve the needs of your clients, or your competitors will.

Key Findings Include:

•           Charts, Timelines, and Financials for the Stem Cell Product Market

•           Trend Data for Stem Cell Grants, Scientific Publications, and Patents

•           5-Year Market Size Projections (2014-2018)

•           Competitive Environment Analysis, Including Identification of Market Leaders

•           Preferred Species for Stem Cell Research

•           Breakdown of Stem Cell Product Categories

•           Identification of Crucial Trends and Unmet Market Needs

•           Breakdown of the Marketing Methods Used by Industry Participants

•           End-User Survey of Stem Cell Researchers

In summary, this is a must-read industry report for companies to optimally position themselves to sell stem cell products and technologies. To profit from this lucrative and rapidly expanding market, you need to understand your key strengths relative to the competition, intelligently position your products to fill gaps in the marketplace, and take advantage of crucial stem cell trends.

Currently, the following product categories compose the majority of global stem cell product sales:

• Primary antibodies to stem cell antigens

• Bead-based stem cell separation systems

• Fluorescent-based labeling and detection

• Stem cell protein purification and analysis tools

• Tools for DNA and RNA-based characterization of stem cells

• Isolation/characterization services

• Stem cell culture media and reagents

• Stem cell specific growth factors and cytokines

• Tools for stem cell gene regulation

• Stem cell services and mechanisms for in vivo and in vitro stem cell tracking

• Expansion/differentiation services for stem cell media and RNAi

• Stem cell lines

Furthermore, to sell products in the stem cell market, it is critical to understand the research applications for which stem cells are being studied. One area of study is the use of stem cells to understand and treat birth disorders. However, of greater interest to researchers is the potential for use of stem cells in regenerative medicine to treat conditions ranging from diabetes, to cardiovascular disease and neurological disorders.

Pharmaceutical companies have intense interest in the ability to use stem cells to improve drug target validation and toxicology screening. Therefore, it is important for companies interested in stem cell therapy applications to understand underlying market forces, and in particular, to consider progressive areas of stem cell research as opportunistic areas for drug and therapy development.

This report presents a range of topics of interest to these companies as well, including how advances in stem research can reveal potential new drug targets, improve methods of drug delivery, and provide personalized treatment strategies.

The key areas that account for the majority of applied stem cell research include:

• Regenerative Medicine – Reversal of injury or disease

• Drug Target Validation and Drug Delivery – Treatment of disease

• Toxicology Screening – Drug safety and efficacy assessment

• Understanding and Treatment of Birth Disorders – Natal repair

This 2014 report provides detailed information on both basic and applied stem cell research and research applications and includes an updated list of global stem cell research centers by region.

Furthermore, it is crucial for stem cell companies to understand the funding environment that supports stem cell research. Currently, the U.S. federal government is an important, although not dominant, source of funding for stem cell research. The reason is that U.S. states are spending almost as much as the federal government on stem cell research and are actually spending more than the federal government on human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research. Private sources also contribute a huge amount of funding, with analysis of recent large gifts summing to over $1.7 billion.

Growth in stem cell research has exploded in the past decade, and so the market to supply stem cell research products has grown to meet this huge demand. There are now over one million stem cell researchers worldwide. In addition, there were only 17 stem cell product companies as of 2006, and that has expanded to more than 100 today, a 6-fold increase.

NASA spacecraft discovers a new big crater on Mars


A NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars has found a new gigantic crater on the surface of the Red Planet

A NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars has found a new gigantic crater on the surface of the Red Planet.

The crater is the largest new impact site ever seen on Mars with orbiter photos, according to The Huffington Post.

Photos of the crater were taken after it appeared suddenly in March 2012. They were taken by the space agency’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).

The crater stretches half the length of a football field, The Economic Times reported.

The largest crater spans 159 by 143 feet.

“The biggest crater is unusual, quite shallow compared to other fresh craters we have observed,” said Alfred McEwen, principal investigator for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) of the University of Arizona.

NASA officials said a large asteroid impact, similar to the meteor explosion that occurred in Chelyabinsk, Russia last year, could have likely created the crater. The impact in Russia shattered windows, caused damage to hundreds of buildings and injured over 1,000 people, The Huffington Postreported.

The Red Planet’s new crater was found by Bruce Cantor, a scientist with Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), almost two months ago. While Cantor was looking for dust storms and other weather events, he found a dark spot uncommon on Mars. He took images of the spot with the Mars Color Imager (MARCI), a weather-monitoring camera made by MSSS on board the MRO.

“It wasn’t what I was looking for,” Cantor said. “I was doing my usual weather monitoring and something caught my eye. It looked usual, with rays emanating from a central spot.”

Cantor studied earlier images, skipping back months to find that the spot existed a year ago, The Economic Times reported.

He then checked images from 40 different dates and was able to pinpoint the date the impact took place. The spot was not present through March 27, 2012, but appeared before the imaging on March 28.

McEwen estimated that the crater was likely created from an object that was 10 to 18 feet long, which is less than a third of the asteroid that landed near Chelyabinsk,The Huffington Post reported.

However, the atmosphere of Red Planet is much thinner than Earth’s which makes Mars more vulnerable to strikes from asteroids. A study released last year discovered that Mars likely gets hit with over 200 asteroids every year.