Nominations open for Stroke Awards

The Stroke Foundation is on the hunt for people making life better for stroke survivors, with nominations for the 2018 Stroke Awards now open. 

The awards are an opportunity to celebrate survivors and commend carers, volunteers, health professionals and researchers who work tirelessly to improve the lives of those affected by stroke.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan said the awards recognised the outstanding Australians dedicated to treating, supporting and advocating for stroke survivors and the broader stroke community.

Advanced cancer patients thrown lifeline

Oncology patients in the advanced stages of cancer will be given greater access to clinical trials under an ambitious new national anti-cancer initiative that could save lives.

At a time when only five per cent of adult cancer patients are involved in trials compared to 80 per cent of children, the Eliminate Cancer Initiative (ECI) targets the difficulties that stand in the way of anyone wanting to participate in a trial.

Breast cancer linked to chronic disease later in life

Women who receive hormonal therapy for breast cancer are at increased risk of developing chronic conditions later in life, according to new research published in the Medical Journal of Australia this month.

Researchers from Flinders University and the University of South Australia found that rates of depression, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, chronic pain and gastric disorders were higher among breast cancer survivors who had received hormonal cancer treatment than among those without breast cancer.

Dementia Australia launched

A unified, national peak body for people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, their families and carers has been launched.

Dementia Australia is the new voice of what was previously Alzheimer's Australia.

Announcing the change, the organisation said that while Alzheimer’s disease was the most common form, there were more than 100 types of dementia and, for this reason, its message needed to be inclusive of all.  

The organisation said that awareness and understanding about dementia was still alarmingly low, but the prevalence of dementia was growing.

Give the gift of life in 2018

Australians are being asked to begin the year by discussing their organ and tissue donation wishes with family and friends and joining the Australian Organ Donor Register.

Federal Minister responsible for organ and tissue donation, Ken Wyatt AM, said almost anyone could become a registered donor, including people aged in their 70s and 80s.

“I’m calling on all Australians to make this a priority for 2018,” Mr Wyatt, who is also Minister for Ageing, said.

Alzheimer's setback as promising drug shows no benefit in clinical trials

The quest to develop drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease has experienced a new setback, with a promising medication failing to show benefits in the latest series of clinical trials in the UK.

The Guardian website has reported earlier trials had suggested that the drug idalopirdine, from the Danish international pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, might improve cognition in those with Alzheimer’s disease when taken alongside existing drugs – known as cholinesterase inhibitors – acting to improve symptoms rather than stopping the disease from developing.

Bupa calls for pensioners to pay more for care

A shock increase in aged care costs could be included in this year’s Federal Budget if Treasury heeds a call to force pensioners to pay more for nursing home services, according to a report this week on retirement website YourLifeChoices.

The proposal by insurance company Bupa recommends that the capped value of people’s homes be increased from the current $162,087.20, so those with valuable homes are asked to pay more for care.

More people misusing prescription or over-the-counter drugs

A new report shows Australians misuse more prescription or over-the-counter drugs than all illegal drugs, except cannabis.

Of particular concern was the number of people taking opioid painkillers when they were not needed for health reasons, according to the report Non–medical use of pharmaceuticals: trends, harms and treatment: 2006–07 to 2015–16 from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW).

Australians intend to work longer

Australians are retiring later, in keeping with the continuing trend to stay in the workforce for longer, new data shows.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that on average in 2016-17, around 13 per cent of people aged 45 years and over were intending to continue in the workforce until they were 65, up from a decade ago when nine per cent of Australians said they would retire at 63.

“This is consistent with the continuing trend of people staying in the workforce for longer,” the ABS’s Bruce Hockman said.

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