Contact Your Representative During the Recess
Interest continues to grow in providing $15 million to the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program for multiple sclerosis (MS) research within the annual Department of Defense appropriations bill. The upcoming Congressional recess will be a key time to emphasize this issue. There are several ways you can reach your Representative back in their home districts April 2-14. You can:
- Call your Representative's district office.
- Make an appointment to visit with your Representative in the district.
- Attend a community or town hall meeting. Call the district office for a schedule.
To find your Representative’s district contact information, visit: www.house.gov.
Ask them to sign on to the Dear Colleague letter being circulated in the House of Representatives by Congressmen Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Rick Renzi (R-AZ). The deadline to sign on recently has been extended until April 20.
Consider the following information when speaking with your Representative:
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease of the central nervous system and is generally diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, the prime of life. There is no cure for MS and symptoms are unpredictable. Current medical treatments are not effective for many people and cannot be tolerated by many others.
Unfortunately, the National Institutes of Health, currently the primary source of funding for MS research, is reducing its investment over the next couple years. Supplementing current MS research with additional resources from the DoD could help further investigate the causes of such neurological disorders, explore additional treatments, and help find a cure. Preliminary evidence suggests that Gulf War veterans could have an increased risk of developing MS.
- A recent study in the Annals of Neurology, for example, identified 5,345 cases of MS among U.S. veterans that were deemed "service-connected." The number of service-connected cases was a significant increase from previous studies.
- An epidemiologic study found an unexpected, two-fold increase in MS between 1993 and 2000 in Kuwait, which suggests a potential environmental trigger for MS.
- A 2004 report from a study group commissioned by the VA suggests more research must be done on the potential link between MS and combat service.
- The Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (RAC) found that evidence supports a probable link between exposures to neurotoxins and the development of neurological disorders.
The DoD has an obligation to fund research into MS related to Gulf War service. This research would not only benefit our Gulf War veterans, but could help move us closer to a world free of MS for all those living with the disease.
Be an MS Activist. Join the Movement at www.nationalMSsociety.org/advocacy