Family News & Events

Family News & Events
Earwax test could reveal stress levels

Unlikely as it seems, your earwax could provide insight into your mental health, new research suggests.

A study of 37 participants has shown a build-up of the stress hormone cortisol can be measured from the oily secretions around your ear canal.

This could open the door to better ways of diagnosing psychiatric conditions including depression, according to lead author Dr Andres Herane-Vives.

Cortisol is known as your “fight or flight” hormone. When it sends out alarm signals to the brain in response to stress, it can influence almost every system in the body.

But its role in disorders including anxiety and depression is not fully understood.

It’s early days but Dr Herane-Vives, a psychiatrist at University College London Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience hopes this could eventually help him establish an “objective biological measure” for psychiatric conditions.

Currently, mental health diagnosis is largely subjective, so this could provide professionals with an additional tool to help make their assessments more accurate.


‘Man’s best friend’ also his oldest companion, DNA shows

A study of dog DNA reveals that dog domestication can be traced back 11,000 years, to the end of the last Ice Age.

This confirms that dogs were domesticated before any other known species.

Dr Pontus Skoglund, co-author of the study and group leader of the Ancient Genomics laboratory at London’s Crick Institute, told BBC News: “Dogs are really unique in being this quite strange thing if you think about it, when all people were still hunter gatherers, they domesticate what is really a wild carnivore – wolves are pretty frightening in many parts of the world.

“The question of why did people do that? How did that come about? That’s what we’re ultimately interested in.”

Many animals, such as cats, probably became our pets when humans settled down to farm a little over 6,000 years ago.


Library hosts an introduction to researching family history

A new series of online talks offer the opportunity to make the most of lockdown by getting started on your family history.

South Dublin Libraries presents a series of genealogy talks with Fiona Fitzsimons of the Irish Family History Centre and Declan Brady of Maynooth University every Thursday evening for 6 weeks, beginning on November 5th at 7:00pm.

The talks will cover everything you need to know about starting your research, including Church Records, Census, Griffith’s Valuation, Burial and Cemetery records and more.

Each talk will consist of a 45 minute workshop delivered by the facilitator followed by a 45 minute Q and A clinic.

If you wish to attend the other genealogy talks, you must register for each talk separately on Friday mornings following each class from 10am.

For more information, visit

A valid email address is required to register for the sessions and first preference will be given to those living in the South Dublin region.