Thursday, September 25, 2008

ALS Registry Bill Passes Senate

As researchers and scientists across the country [and worldwide] to find a cure, or even more effective treatments, for ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease, it was announced that the United States Senate passed the ALS Registry Act, which will develop a system to collect data and establish a national registry on ALS/Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and other motor neuron disorders. These neuromuscular diseases are often confused for other disorders like Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson's, spinal-cord damage and other conditions. In fact, there have been numrous cases where patients with misdiagnosed ALS have gone through the wrong treatments for years, or unnecessary surgery, before finding they had ALS. The bill passed the Senate HELP and House Energy and Commerce committees by unanimous vote in 2007 and recently passed the House. After yesterday’s Senate passage by unanimous consent, the bill will now go to the President’s desk. New York State Senator Charles Schumer is a co-sponsor of the Senate bill.

What does this mean for ALS patients?

It means that scientists and researchers are one step closer to finding a cure for ALS, which is currently incurable, with treatment limited to medications that alleviate symptoms. The national registry will help identify the incidence of ALS in the United States by collecting the data which will identify patterns and commonalities. These findings will improve ALS research, management and treatment. This legislation will significantly augment the nation’s efforts to find a cure for ALS.

If anybody remembers my blog entries from May, 2007, a delegation of PALS, CALS, and family members of people with ALS went to Washington DC to lobby for the passage ofthis bill, so I am proud to have been part of that.

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