Reps. Maloney, King & Van Hollen introduce resolution designating April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month

Apr 11, 2013 Issues: Health
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WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the co-chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Parkinson's Disease Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced a resolution designating April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month. The resolution calls for continued research to find better treatments, and eventually, a cure for the disease. It also thanks the dedicated national, state, and local organizations, volunteers, researchers, and millions of Americans across the country working to improve the quality of life of persons living with Parkinson’s disease and their families.

The Congressional Caucus on Parkinson’s Disease was founded in 1999 to increase awareness of the second most common neurological disease in the United States, affecting an estimated 500,000 to 1,500,000 people. The exact cause and progression of the disease remains unknown, with predictions that its prevalence will more than double by 2040.

“Throughout my time in Congress I have advocated for the Parkinson’s disease community,” said Congresswoman Maloney. “Designating April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month provides an opportunity to bring attention to improving the lives of those who suffer or may be diagnosed in the future. The federal government has a crucial role to play in supporting innovative research and I urge continued funding to find treatments and a cure.”

“As the second most common neurological condition it is imperative that we maintain not only an awareness of the devastating impact of Parkinson’s disease but a commitment to find a cure,” Congressman King said.

“Designating April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month is an important part of our strategy to focus more attention and resources toward fighting this disease,” said Congressman Van Hollen. “This is not the time to slash federal funding for agencies like the National Institutes of Health and close the door on promising research and new discoveries to treat Parkinson’s. We must replace the sequester with a balanced plan that protects critical investments in our future.”  

The text of the resolution is below.

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RESOLUTION

Expressing support for designation of April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Whereas Parkinson’s disease is a chronic, progressive, neurological disease and is the second most common neurological disease in the United States;

Whereas there is inadequate comprehensive data on the incidence and prevalence of Parkinson’s disease;

Whereas it is estimated that the disease affects 500,000 to 1,500,000 people in the United States and the prevalence will more than double by 2040;

Whereas there are millions of people in the United States who are caregivers, family members, and friends greatly impacted by Parkinson’s disease every day;

Whereas it is estimated that the economic burden of Parkinson’s disease is $14,400,000,000 including indirect costs to patients and family members of $6,300,000,000 each year;

Whereas although research suggests the cause of Parkinson’s disease is a combination of genetic and environmental factors, the exact cause and progression of the disease is still unknown;

Whereas there is no objective test or biomarker for Parkinson’s disease, and the rate of misdiagnosis can be high;

Whereas the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease vary from person to person and include tremors, slowness of movement, difficulty with balance, swallowing, chewing, speaking, rigidity, cognitive impairment, dementia, mood disorders (such as depression and anxiety) constipation, skin problems, and sleep difficulties;

Whereas there is no cure, therapy, or drug to slow or halt the progression of Parkinson’s disease;

Whereas medications mask some symptoms of Parkinson’s disease for a limited amount of time each day, often with dose-limiting side effects, and ultimately lose their effectiveness, leaving the person unable to move, speak, or swallow;

Whereas increased education and research are needed to find more effective treatments with fewer side effects and, ultimately, an effective treatment or cure for Parkinson’s disease; and

Whereas April would be an appropriate month to designate as Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) supports the designation of Parkinson’s  Awareness Month;
(2) supports the goals and ideals of Parkinson’s Awareness Month;
(3) continues to support research to find better treatments, and eventually, a cure for Parkinson’s disease;
(4) recognizes the people living with Parkinson’s who participate in vital clinical trials to advance the knowledge of the disease; and
(5) commends the dedication of State, local, regional, and national organizations, volunteers, researchers, and millions of people in the United States working to improve the quality of life of persons living with Parkinson’s disease