Want the latest from prominent Western Australian scientists and opinion leaders?

Check out these opinion pieces, covering local and international scientific issues and topics, aiming to facilitate discussion and debate about science in Western Australia.

By Chris Brennan-Jones, PhD Candidate and Adjunct Research Fellow, Ear Sciences Centre at University of Western Australia

Ear wax, or cerumen, is a naturally occurring substance produced in the ears of many mammals, including humans. Despite popular beliefs about its uncleanliness, it helps keep our ears clean by filtering dust, debris, and other substances, such as shampoo and crayons, and protects the ear canal from infection

By Jenny Downs, Senior Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute and Helen Leonard, University of Western Australia

Scoliosis can affect children of all ages and can have particularly severe effects when it develops early or in association with another medical condition. If the condition progresses and becomes severe, it can cause pain, make physical activities harder and limit lung capacity.

This week Murdoch University's James Tweedley looks back at an iconic Australian pastime and outlines current efforts to replenish fish stocks in the Swan Estuary.

By Allyson Thomson, Research Associate, School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work at Curtin University

Breast cancer accounts for one in four female cancers diagnosed in Australia each year. It is estimated that by the age of 85, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and one in 39 will die from the disease.

By Brett Montgomery, Associate Professor in General Practice at University of Western Australia

An article in this week’s issue of the British Medical Journal calls into question a common practice: treatment of mild high blood pressure.

This week Curtin University's Richard Oliver considers the extent of biosecurity restrictions in Australia and how it hampers agricultural research efforts aimed at safeguarding against possible outbreaks.

By Tim Doherty, PhD Candidate at Edith Cowan University and Mike Calver, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Murdoch University

Feral domestic cats are a global threat to biodiversity and were recently named as the biggest threat to endangered Australian mammals.

By Joe Fontaine, Lecturer, Environmental Science at Murdoch University and Neal Enright, Professor in Plant Ecology at Murdoch University

Spring has sprung. This time of year is peak wildflower season in the area around Perth, and the display is a major tourism draw card. People flock to places like Lesueur National Park and the Eneabba sandplain in search of stunning displays of flowers and vistas that change from yellow to white to pink over the spring months.

By Richard Norman, Senior Research Fellow in Health Economics at Curtin University and Suzanne Robinson, Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Curtin University

Australia has a relatively strong health system by international standards, but it needs a makeover. To generate fresh ideas, The Conversation is profiling five international health systems that have important lessons – good and bad – to pull Australia out of its health reform black hole.

By David Hodgkinson, Associate Professor, Law School at University of Western Australia

No matter what the aviation industry does to reduce emissions, it will be outweighed by growth in air travel, according to a new analysis. Growth will trump emissions cuts even if significant (and contentious) measures come into force to try and curb emissions – and those measures are decades away at best.