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Dystonia Awareness Week

Rep. Ron Packard

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Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Dystonia Awareness Week, October 11-18, 1998. This important occasion was brought to my attention by my constituent, Mr. Robert W. McCabe of Vista, California.

Dystonia is the third most common movement disorders after Parkinson's Disease and Tremor, affecting over 300,000 people in North America alone. Dystonia is a neurological disorder causing involuntary spasms that are disabling and often extremely painful.

The American public knows little about dystonia, and many people react to its physical manifestations by avoiding those who suffer from the disorder. Greater recognition and understanding of dystonia is much-needed in both the medical and lay communities. I urge all citizens to learn more about this disorder and to support those who are affected by it.

There is no cure for dystonia at this time. In 1997, however, the gene for early-onset generalized dystonia was discovered, offering hope for future research and development of a possible cure. I would like to add my name to the list of supporters of dystonia research and encourage every Member of Congress to do the same.

In conclusion, Mr. Speaker, I invite my colleagues to join me in recognizing October 11-18, 1998 as Dystonia Awareness Week.