More MS news articles for July 2002

Alsa Lauds Study of Disease Prevalence in Communities Near Hazardous Waste Sites

Jul. 11, 2002
The Federal Register (Vol. 67, No. 112) added a Notice of a Program Announcement (02154) from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), for a cooperative agreement program to "Determine the Prevalence of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in communities around hazardous waste sites." This addresses the "Healthy People 2010" focus area of Environmental Health.

"This ATSDR Announcement is an important step in collecting more information about what role the environment may play in ALS," said Mary Lyon, vice president, patient services for the ALS Association. "The ALS Association (ALSA) is notified several times each year of suspected clusters and concerns about local toxicant exposures. ALSA has shared these concerns with neurologists, epidemiologists and the agency. The Program Announcement is an opportunity for the ATSDR to respond to community concerns about possible environmental toxicant exposures and the incidence and prevalence of ALS."

ALSA is contacting all 50 State Health Departments urging them to submit an application. The suspected environmental toxicant(s) do not have to be a Federal Super Fund Site. Where there are local concerns about the prevalence of ALS and possible toxicant exposures, ALSA is encouraging the ALS community to contact their State Health Department and ALSA Center or ALS Clinic to ask them to consider applying for one of the awards. Eligible applicants have to be from State Health Departments or State universities, colleges or research institutions. It might be useful for the applications to come from collaborations between State Health Departments and local State universities where there is an ALSA Center or ALS Clinic.

Adds ALSA's Mary Lyon, "It is important that we [the ALS community] respond to this opportunity to study prevalence of ALS in these communities by having a number of competitive applications." The agency plans to follow up these prevalence projects with etiologic investigations of the toxicants to try and identify ALS risk factors. This article was prepared by Health & Medicine Week editors from staff and other reports.

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