Bureau County Republican
Multiple sclerosis is being studied, again, in DePue.
The DePue Village Board was officially informed of a second multiple sclerosis study to take place in the village. The news came at the board's regular meeting Monday night.
Joel Cowen, assistant dean at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford Health System Research, and several others attended the meeting to explain what will be involved in the study.
DePue was one of five towns in Illinois picked for the investigative study because a previous study performed a few years ago, which detected nine cases of multiple sclerosis in DePue. According to statistics and population, only one or two cases should have been found in the village.
Other Illinois communities participating in the study include Paw Paw, Morrison, Savannah and Lewiston. The study is also being conducted in four other states.
All the Illinois towns involved have some type of environmental risk in the community. DePue has the Exxon Mobil/New Jersey Zinc Superfund site.
The main focus of the study is to determine the prevalence of multiple sclerosis in the community. Participants will fill out a form with personal information and have their medical records checked.
"We need to hear from as many (people with multiple sclerosis) as possible," Cowen said.
The study is looking for people with multiple sclerosis who lived in DePue from 1998 to 2002.
Former DePue resident Kathy Prey spoke emotionally to the board about her brother, Joe Vega.
"MS - I hate that word," Prey said. "To me, it means torture, pain and untimely death."
At 30 years old, Vega was the first diagnosed with MS in 1990. He died six years later. Prey has volunteered to be a local contact person for the study.
"Joe was the worst case scenario," Prey said.
Cowen said a community meeting will be held soon in DePue, but a date has not been set.
Village president Don Bosnich Jr. promised the village board's assistance in arranging for the meeting, which will be held at the VFW hall. Once the date was set, he said the information will be put on all the water bills in town.
Anyone interested in participating in the study should contact Barb
Sjostrom of Health System Research at (800) 854-4461
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