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October--Movement Disorder Awareness U.S.A.

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  • October--Movement Disorder Awareness U.S.A.

    October Marks First-Ever Movement Disorders Awareness Month, Bringing Much-Needed Attention to Conditions That Affect More Than 40 Million Americans

    New Interactive Exhibit, the Movement Disorders Experience Center, to be
    Unveiled in New York City

    October 2005 has been declared, by resolution of the U.S. Congress, as Movement Disorders Awareness Month. The annual designation is intended to help focus attention on movement disorders -- which are chronic and often debilitating conditions that affect more than 40 million Americans -- and highlight the importance of accurate diagnosis and treatment.

    The resolution, introduced by Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL), is a
    significant milestone that builds on the momentum of recent efforts by many professional and patient advocacy organizations to raise public awareness about movement disorders, including the personal, financial and societal impact of these conditions, and what can be done to better manage them. This year, an unprecedented 51 professional and patient advocacy groups supported

    WE MOVE's Life in Motion initiative -- a campaign to raise awareness about the more than 30 neurological conditions that may be classified as movement disorders and to encourage patients to seek earlier diagnosis and treatment.

    "Many patients with movement disorders find it extremely difficult to obtain an accurate diagnosis and live with significant disability for years
    before they receive effective treatment," said Congressman Davis. "In fact, according to statistics, a patient with a movement disorder may visit more than 15 doctors over the course of five years before receiving an accurate diagnosis. My hope is that Movement Disorders Awareness Month will help focus attention on what physicians, patients and their families can do to better manage these conditions and greatly improve the quality of life of millions of Americans."

    Interactive Exhibit to be Unveiled

    To commemorate this year's first-ever Movement Disorders Awareness Month, the Life in Motion initiative is unveiling a new interactive exhibit, the
    Movement Disorders Experience Center, in New York City at the Phillips
    Ambulatory Care Center, Beth Israel Medical Center on Friday, October 7th, from 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM, and at Union Square Park, on Saturday, October 8th from 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM.

    The Experience Center is designed to help people understand movement disorders and their impact by enabling them to experience selected symptoms first-hand. The exhibit, free and open to the public, will feature a variety of conditions, including dystonia, Parkinson's disease, tremor, spasticity and restless legs syndrome.
    Educational materials will be available to the public.

    "This is an innovative way to educate people about movement disorders," said Susan Bressman, M.D., President of WE MOVE and Chairperson of the Department of Neurology at Beth Israel Medical Center. "If people are more aware of the symptoms of movement disorders, they will be more likely to see a physician experienced in movement disorders. This will enable them to be diagnosed more quickly and receive appropriate treatment."

    "The first step is obtaining an appropriate diagnosis, which usually requires referral to a neurologist who is trained to evaluate these complex disorders and is knowledgeable about the latest treatments."

    Effective treatment depends on the underlying cause of the condition and may include oral medications; botulinum toxin injection therapy targeted to spastic or abnormally contracting muscles; surgery (including deep brain stimulation); and physical or occupational therapies. In many cases, combinations of several drugs and therapies are used. The effective management of a movement disorder usually involves a multi-disciplinary team of specialists and may include the patient's primary care physician, as well as the neurologist, physiatrist (physical rehabilitation specialist), nurses, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Social workers, teachers, and psychologists also may be involved to help patients and their families or caregivers cope with the psychosocial impact of these conditions.

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