U.S. Senate Designates April as Parkinson's Awareness Month

Release date: 3/30/2010

For the first time ever, on Friday, March 26, the United States Senate designated April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.

Thanks to the support of Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), and Mark Udall (D-CO), this designation is now a national reality. In coordination with this designation, we encourage all Parkinson’s advocates across the country to work with their state and local governments to proclaim April as Parkinson’s Awareness Month.  For more information, visit the Parkinson's Action Network web site.

Text of the resolution:

[Page: S2164]

Ms. STABENOW (for herself, Mr. Isakson, Mr. Johanns, and Mr. Udall of Colorado) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to:

S. Res. 474

Whereas Parkinson's disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease in the United States, second only to Alzheimer's disease;

Whereas even though there is inadequate comprehensive data on the incidence and prevalence of Parkinson's disease, as of 2010, it is estimated that the disease affects over 1,000,000 people in the United States;

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 for Parkinson's disease and the rate of misdiagnosis can be high;

Whereas symptoms of Parkinson's disease vary from person to person and include tremor, slowness, difficulty with balance, swallowing, chewing, and speaking, rigidity, cognitive problems, dementia, mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety, constipation, skin problems, and sleep disruptions;

Whereas medications mask some symptoms of Parkinson's disease for a limited amount of time each day, often with dose-limiting side-effects;

Whereas ultimately the medications and treatments lose their effectiveness, generally after 4 to 8 years, leaving the person unable to move, speak, or swallow;

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

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

Whereas the Federal Government, through the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense Neurotoxin Exposure Treatment Parkinson's Research Program, the Veterans Affairs Parkinson's Disease Research, Education and Clinical Centers, and other agencies, supports vital work to better understand Parkinson's disease and to find new treatments; and

Whereas the Parkinson's community will gather in Central Park on April 24, 2010, for the Parkinson's Unity Walk, an annual gathering inspiring people with Parkinson's, their friends, and their families: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate--

(1) supports the designation of April as 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 our knowledge of this disease; and

(5) commends the dedication of local and regional organizations, volunteers, and millions of Americans across the country working to improve the quality of life of persons living with Parkinson's disease and their families.