Conditions & treatments

Glaucoma goes undiagnosed

Around 300,000 Australians have glaucoma but at least half of them are unaware they have the eye disease.

In a statement marking World Glaucoma week (12-18 March), Professor Jonathon Crowston, managing director of the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA), said early diagnosis was vital for treatment but up to 90 per cent of sufferers had no easily recognisable symptoms.

“Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which is the only part of the brain that can be clearly seen. It causes the cables in the nerve to die off quicker than they should,” Professor Crowston said.

Call to cut prescription drugs prices

A new report calls for an overhaul in the way the government pays for prescription drugs, saying that Australians pay more than $500 million a year too much.

The Grattan Institute’s report Cutting a better drug deal says taxpayers and patients would pay less if the federal government changed the way prices are set under the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The report finds drug prices in Australia are more than twice as high as in the UK and more than three times higher than in New Zealand.

Shop around for best deals on hearing aids

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants the hearing clinics industry to reconsider commissions, disclosure and sales practices.

In its report Issues around the sale of hearing aids, the ACCC urges consumers to be aware that hearing clinics are mostly profit-making businesses like any other store and consumers should shop around for the best hearing aid to suit their needs.

Shop around for best deals on hearing aids

Consumer watchdog the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) wants the hearing clinics industry to reconsider commissions, disclosure and sales practices.

In its report Issues around the sale of hearing aids, the ACCC urges consumers to be aware that hearing clinics are mostly profit-making businesses like any other store and consumers should shop around for the best hearing aid to suit their needs.

Hospital at home could cut treatment costs by half

Treating acutely ill patients at home, rather than in hospital, could slash treatment costs by up to 50 per cent and reduce mortality rates by 20 per cent, a new study has found.

An issues paper prepared by researchers from the Australian Centre for Health Services Innovation (AusHSI) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) also found home-based care would cut hospital readmission by a quarter.

Coping with chronic knee pain

People with chronic knee pain who live in rural or remote areas could learn new ways to help themselves with lessons delivered via Skype, researchers at the University of Melbourne say.

They have developed an online treatment which has improved symptoms and functioning for people suffering knee osteoarthritis, the main cause of chronic knee pain.

Research trial findings published this week in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, suggest online delivery is the key to greatly improve patient access to effective non-drug treatments. 

Tiredness is partly genetic, researchers say

If you often feel tired, your genes may partly be to blame, researchers at Scotland’s Edinburgh University say.

Saski Hagenaars at the University’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology and Dr Vincent Deary of Northumbria University surveyed nearly 112,000 people, asking them whether or not they frequently felt tired or had low energy levels.

Older people lacking vision aids

Around 100,000 older Australians with vision problems were going without aids to their sight, largely because they could not afford them, a new report has revealed.

Macular Disease Foundation Australia said its report, Low Vision, quality of life and independence: A review of the evidence on aids and technologies showed that vision aids and technologies could help those with vision problems become more engaged with the world.

Australians suffering from lack of sleep

A new report says the lack of sleep suffered by many Australians is as problematic as obesity and smoking.

The new research by the Sleep Health Foundation showed that one third of people surveyed were making mistakes at work because they were tired, while 30 per cent admitted to falling asleep at the wheel.

The research, published in the foundation’s international Sleep Health Journal this week showed that between 33 and 45 per cent of adults sleep poorly or not long enough most nights, leaving them fatigued and irritable.

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