Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Research

We have a strong research ethos with emphasis on both basic science and clinical research. The department's specific research themes include:

  • Falls and syncope 
  • Vitamin D and its association with arterial stiffness
  • Osteoporosis 
  • Prescribing and drug interactions
  • Epidemiological Studies 
  • Stroke and Stroke thrombolysis 
  • Platelet hyper-responsiveness in stroke

VITAMIN D AND ARTERIAL STIFFNESS

Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in Ireland and worldwide particularly at higher latitudes. Low vitamin D levels have been associated with hypertension, vascular disease and heart failure. In this study, it is hypothesised that vitamin D deficiency leads to increased arterial stiffness and that supplementation with vitamin D will lead to improved vascular compliance in an elderly cohort of patients. This work would have implications with regards to reducing cardiovascular events in this patient group. The aims of this study are to: (1) Examine the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in a community dwelling population using a cohort of screened elderly patients (2) Perform a randomised clinical trial to determine whether vitamin D replacement leads to changes in arterial compliance in vitamin D deficient patients (3) Examine the influence of geriatricians and general practitioners on prescribing of osteoporosis related medications in the nursing home setting.

ASPIRE-S

The largest research study undertaken by our department is now in its' second year. The ASPIRE-S (Action on Secondary Prevention Interventions and Rehabilitation in Stroke) study is a Health Research Board of Ireland funded 2-year project which is examining the secondary prevention and rehabilitative needs of patients recently discharged from hospital with a diagnosis of stroke. It is a collaborative project involving colleagues in the Mater and James Connolly Memorial Hospitals. It is led by a team of investigators in the Departments of Geriatric Medicine in these hospitals and our department, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology at Beaumont Hospital / RCSI. The project hopes to publish its main results by the end of 2013.

PAS ASSAY

The Platelet ADP Secretion (PAS) assay study is a joint collaborative research effort between the Department of Geriatric and Stroke Medicine and the Department of Molecular Cellular Therapeutics, based in RCSI. Stroke results from thrombus formation secondary to platelets adhering to damaged endothelium overlying atherosclerotic plaques. Current platelet function assays measure aspects of platelet aggregation via optical transmission. However, platelet aggregation is intrinsically non-linear and requires a threshold level of platelet activation before any response is recorded. The PAS (Platelet ADP Secretion) assay instead measures platelet activation response via dense granule release of ADP to a suit of platelet agonists.