|Congress took a major step in the fight against Lou Gehrig's Disease recently when the House of Representatives passed the ALS Registry Act (S. 1382). The legislation sponsored by Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) with 77 co-sponsors passed the U.S. Senate on September 23, and now heads to President Bush for his signature.
The bill is expected to benefit our nation's military veterans. According to Steve Gibson, ALS Association's vice president of government relations and public affairs., although ALS can strike anyone regardless of their age, gender, race or nationality, according to recent studies it strikes military veterans at approximately double the rate as the general population.
The ALS Registry Act would establish the first ever national patient registry of people with Lou Gehrig's Disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to be administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The registry would collect information leading to the cause, treatment and cure of the deadly neurological disease that took the life of baseball legend Lou Gehrig in 1941. The national registry in part will help in determining why veterans are at greater risk.
"The ALS Association and people with ALS across the country have been working with Congress for nearly four years to pass this critical legislation," said Gary Leo, president and CEO of The ALS Association. "It's long overdue. Today, the U.S. Congress has made it clear that our nation is committed to finding a treatment and cure for this horrific disease."
It has been nearly six decades since New York Yankees baseball player Lou Gehrig lost his life to ALS. Although more is known about the disease today, there is no known cause or means of prevention, nor is there an effective treatment or a cure. In fact, the prognosis for a person living with ALS today is nearly the same as it was for Gehrig: death in an average of two to five years.