Dementia research and hearing loss initiatives benefit from close to $15million in new funding

Premier Campbell Newman

Premier Campbell Newman

Premier of Queensland

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Dementia research has been made a centrepiece of this year’s state budget, investing $9million towards finding a cure for the disease. The funding will support work by the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CADR), which focuses on the development of clinical applications.

Scientists believe the human brain has a remarkable ability to heal itself under the right set of conditions and that if we can find out how dementia and Alzheimer’s disease take hold, it will be a major triumph.

Dementia research is seriously underfunded in Australia and Queensland’s ageing population reinforces the importance of our new commitment. Access Economics estimates more than 215,000 Queenslanders will have dementia by 2050, which would cost the state billions of dollars every year in direct and indirect costs.

If we don’t conquer this debilitating condition, we will pay a very high price as a society because of its impact on families as well as our social welfare and health systems. The fight against dementia is a real priority for my government and I applaud the incredible work being done by CADR in partnership with Queensland Health.

The government’s funding commitment is subject to University of Queensland developing a robust business case outlining how the research will translate into tangible benefits for Queenslanders, including improved diagnostic tests and tools to detect the disease as early as possible, and local Phase II clinical trials of new therapeutic approaches to prevent, treat and delay the onset of dementia.

Cochlear funding
Queenslanders waiting for a cochlear implant will have their procedure fast-tracked thanks to a budget allocation announced by Health Minister Lawrence Springborg. An amount of $5.8million will be put towards providing implants to patients with moderate to profound hearing loss. Around 120 Queensland children, adolescents and adults are on the waiting list to receive a cochlear implant but the current waiting time is three to four years. That’s just too long to wait for this life-enhancing, life-changing procedure. This extra funding will mean all people currently on the cochlear implant waiting list should be able to receive their implants at either the Royal Brisbane and Women’s, Royal Children’s or Mater hospitals during the 2013-2014 financial year.

This program is a wonderful example of the benefits available to Queenslanders through our support for new health research and technology and for our commitment to better healthcare in general.

Queensland Greats
You may have noticed a distinctly Queensland theme around Brisbane this week. That’s because it’s Queensland Week until 9 June. As part of the celebrations, five extraordinary individuals and one outstanding institution have been named 2013’s Queensland Greats. Congratulations to:

Stefan Ackerie, legendary hairdresser and businessman
Dr Dimity Dornan AM founder of Hear and Say Centres
Tim Fairfax AM, philanthropist and pastoralist
Professor G.Q. Max Lu FAA FTSE, renowned nanotechnologist
Herb Wharton, Aboriginal novelist and
The Australian Red Cross Society, well-respected humanitarian organisation

It’s an honour to acknowledge these remarkable Queenslanders who have strengthened and supported our communities through their tireless efforts, inspirational spirit and long-term dedication to the development of our state.

As seen in bmag issue 259