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Burgess Introduces Legislation to Further Understanding of Neurological Diseases

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Washington, January 13, 2015 | Jill Shatzen Kerr (202-225-7772) | comments
Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve and enhance the understanding of neurological diseases, which afflict tens of thousands of new patients in the U.S. each year.
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Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade, today introduced bipartisan legislation to improve and enhance the understanding of neurological diseases, which afflict tens of thousands of new patients in the U.S. each year. 

The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act, H.R. 292, co-sponsored by Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), will guide the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in tracking the incidence and prevalence of neurological diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. The information collected will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding aspects of these diseases we currently do not have a good grasp of, such as the geography of diagnoses, variances in gender, disease burden and changes in health care practices among patients. According to Burgess, this new surveillance system could one day lead to a cure for these diseases.

“Because no national collecting system exists to gather data on disease and risk, geography and incidence, diet and relapse, we are hampered in our ability to understand these conditions and improve the lives of these patients,” Burgess said. “What this bill does is simple and long overdue: It organizes and analyzes important information that will lead to better treatment and even a cure for neurological diseases, which are so misunderstood, yet so prevalent in the U.S.”

“The Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act will help the CDC provide more accurate information to assist those who research and treat neurological diseases, including Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease,” Van Hollen said. “I am proud to continue working with Congressman Burgess on this important legislation, which will provide a foundation for evaluating and understanding the occurrence of these diseases and improve the prospects for discovering cures.”

The bipartisan legislation has been endorsed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Parkinson’s Action Network, among others. 

“We are encouraged by the potential this bill has to accelerate research for multiple sclerosis,” Cynthia Zagieboylo, President and CEO of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said. “Without basic data concerning the size and makeup of the MS population, our researchers are working at a distinct disadvantage because they have an incomplete picture of the disease. The additional information that this new data system would supply could point to new environmental triggers for the disease, which could lead to new treatment targets and a better understanding of the disease.”

“Having a national data collection system gathering critical information on who has Parkinson's disease would be a game changer,” Ted Thompson, CEO of the Parkinson's Action Network, said. “We have advocated for the federal government to engage in this area because researchers have long said that such a system will help ensure better and more effective research, better treatments, and better services for people living with Parkinson's disease and other neurological disorders. Our hope is that it would one day help contribute to ultimately finding a cure for Parkinson's.”

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