11th EURO-CIU Symposium and General Assembly in Finland, April 2017

11th EURO-CIU Symposium and General Assembly in Finland, April 2017


Debate in UK Parliament about cochlear implants

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I am grateful for the opportunity to raise the question of the funding and assessment of cochlear implantation, and I do so as chair of the all-party group on deafness. I am pleased to see the Health Minister in his place; I know he has this issue on his radar.

The starting point is a petition calling for a review of the tests for implants approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. I have been contacted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton South East (Mr McFadden) and my hon. Friend the Member for Rotherham (Sarah Champion) on behalf of their constituents Lamina Lloyd and Diane Matthews respectively.

Both constituents fall foul of the Bamford-Kowal-Bench test—the BKB test. It is this aspect that concerns them and their MPs, and they want it reviewed and changed. I will come back to that later, as well as to the case of Robert Gee, a constituent of the hon. Member for Daventry (Chris Heaton-Harris), who I am pleased to see in his place on the Treasury Bench. I want to register my appreciation for Action on Hearing Loss, the Action Group for Adult Cochlear Implantation, Professor Chris Raine and the Ear Foundation for their assistance with briefings for this debate.

I shall start with papers sent to me by the Ear Foundation. Sue Archbold writes:

“I was at the World Health Organisation in Geneva for the meeting on World Hearing Day, 3rd March...with WHO for the first time confirming that cochlear implants and hearing aids are cost-effective and should be made more widely available globally”.

Link for more information


New drug combination to regenerate hair cells

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Source: Audiology Worldnews

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH), and Massachusetts Eye and Ear (Boston, MA, USA) have discovered a combination of drugs that expands the population of progenitor cells in the ear and induces them to become hair cells, reports Science Daily.

Since damage to hair cells is one of the leading causes of hearing loss, any treatment that targets hair cell regeneration could constitute a significant step forward in the search for new ways of treating hearing loss. This is precisely the area the research team is focusing on.

“Hearing loss is a real problem as people get older. It’s very much an unmet need, and this is an entirely new approach,” says Robert Langer, professor at MIT and one of the senior authors on the paper published in late February in Cell Reports. The team used specific molecules to activate mouse cochlear supporting cells in vitro so that they became proliferative and generated hair cells. The group also exposed the cells to compounds that activate another signaling pathway known as Notch to control differentiation time. Once a large pool of immature progenitor cells was obtained, the researchers added another set of substances that caused the cells to become mature hair cells.

“We only need to promote the proliferation of these supporting cells, and then the natural signaling cascade that exists in the body will drive a portion of those cells to become hair cells,” explains Jeffrey Karp, associate professor of medicine at BWH and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Another advantage of this approach is that simple administration by injection may be possible in humans.

Science Daily; McLean WJ, et al. Clonal Expansion of Lgr5-Positive Cells from Mammalian Cochlea and High-Purity Generation of Sensory Hair Cells. Cell Reports. 2017 Feb 21;18(8):1917-1929


Spouse of the President of Finland will be the EURO-CIU Symposium patroness

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Ulla Konkarikoski, Jenni Haukio and Pekka Lapinleimu met in the President’s official residence called Mäntyniemi.Executive Director of LapCI ry Mrs. Ulla Konkarikoski and Executive Director of Kuuloliitto ry Mr. Pekka Lapinleimu met spouse of the president of Finland Mrs. Jenni Haukio in Helsinki 18th November 2016.

– During the visit we discussed about symposium and it’s themes. We heard also about worldwide Unicef For Every Child –campaign which has begun from Jenni Haukio’s idea. In addition, we had time to discuss about the technology of cochlear implants, hearing impaired children and adults, as well as about hearing dogs, says Pekka Lapinleimu.


European Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016 'CRPD implementation in Europe cannot be business as usual'

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EDPD2016 President EUROCIU10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

This year’s European Day of Persons with Disabilities marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). As of today, 27 the 28 EU Member States have ratified the Convention (except Ireland) but a few have done it with reservations and declarations and not all countries fully respect all the rights protected by the CRPD. EDF (European Disability Forum) and EURO-CIU calls the countries to withdraw their Reservations and restrictive Declarations to the CRPD as they are incompatible with the object and purpose of the CRPD. According to article 46 of the CRPD and according to principles of international public law, these Reservations and Declarations shall not be permitted.


European Access City Awards

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EU Access City Award 2016The winners of the European Access City Awards were announced by the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen and EDF President, Yannis Vardakastanis together with the Belgian actor Pascal Duquenne and the Italian Olympic Athlete, Beatrice Vio. This is the European wide award that rewards cities for their efforts in becoming accessible to all.

The winner of 2017 Access City Award is: Chester, UK!. The 2nd prize goes to Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the 3rd prize to Jurmala, Latvia.

Special mentions were given to:

  • Lugo, Spain (Special mention on Smart Cities)
  • Funchal, Portugal (Special mention on Continued Commitment to Accessibility in difficult geographic circumstances)
  • Alessandria, Italy (Special mention o Continued Commitment to Accessiiblity in challenging times)
  • Skellefteå, Sweden (Special mention on Accessible work environments)