Conditions & treatments

Seniors call for hearing aid industry clean-up

National Seniors is calling on the Federal Government to take action to prevent the exploitation of older Australians by unscrupulous operators in the hearing aid industry.

Chief Advocate Ian Henschke will tell the Inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia, sitting in Brisbane tomorrow, that after two investigations of the industry in a decade, it is time to clean up problems that the ACCC has labelled scams.

Mr Henschke says one in six Australians have hearing loss, and the figure will rise to one in four by 2050.

Lose just 3kg to gain health benefits

New research shows that losing as little as three kilograms could translate into health benefits for many Australians.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) said that if all Australians cut their Body Mass Index (BMI) by just one point for a person of average height, the overall health impact of obesity would drop substantially.

Milk may hold key to understanding diseases

A new study on UHT (ultra-high temperature processed) milk may contribute to new treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and type 2 diabetes.

Professor John Carver of Australian National University’s School of Chemistry said research showed two unrelated UHT milk proteins, which formed clusters called amyloid fibrils over a period of months, also caused the milk to transform from a liquid into a gel.

He said the same type of protein clusters were found in plaque deposits in cases of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

Hearing health on inquiry agenda

The Queensland public hearing of the Inquiry into the Hearing Health and Wellbeing of Australia will be held in Brisbane next Friday, 21 April.

The Australian Parliament’s Health, Aged Care and Sport Committee will meet representatives of National Seniors to discuss the hearing support needs of older Australians.

“Seventy-four per cent of Australians over the age of 70 experience hearing loss,” Committee chair Trent Zimmerman said.

“It is therefore vital that we ensure older Australians have access to high quality hearing services from trusted providers.”

200-year search for Parkinson's cure continues

University of Adelaide researchers are contributing to the ongoing global effort to better understand, treat and prevent Parkinson's disease, 200 years after the disease was originally described.

April is Parkinson's Awareness Month, and World Parkinson's Day is held every year on 11 April. 

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Dr James Parkinson's seminal work, An Essay on the Shaking Palsy, the first paper to describe the debilitating motor symptoms in the body associated with Parkinson's disease. 

Seniors missing out on free vaccines

Older Australians are a key group who are missing out on free vaccinations, new research shows.

The report, Vaccine Myopia:adult vaccination also needs attention, published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA), found that while nine out of 10 children were vaccinated, the vast majority of the total 4.1 million people eligible did not have their jabs for influenza, pneumonia or shingles.

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.

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