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Lupus Under the Spotlight: U.S. Congress Shows Support for Women's Health Issues
Date:5/12/2008

NEW YORK, May 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) commends the Senate on its passage of a resolution supporting the goals and ideals of National Women's Health Week that begins annually on Mother's Day. The resolution, introduced by Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Olympia Snowe (R-ME) calls on all Americans to take the week of May 11th - May 17th as an opportunity to educate themselves on women's health issues, and recognizes the importance of Federally funded programs that provide research on common diseases in women, like lupus. ALR's main legislative priority is increased support for lupus research by Federal agencies such as the National Institute for Health, Health and Human Services, and Department of Defense Health Programs. The House version of the resolution introduced by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (NY-D) is expected to pass this week.

"Too many women - our nation's mothers, daughters, sisters, and grandmothers - are affected by lupus, a devastating autoimmune disease. We are pleased that Congress is honoring National Women's Health Week along with the ALR, by officially recognizing the importance of education and continued Federal research funding for lupus and other women's health issues," says ALR President Barbara Boyts.

Lupus causes unpredictable symptoms ranging from fatigue and joint pain to severe organ damage, and complications from the disease often prove fatal. The resolution properly recognizes that significant disparities exist in the prevalence of disease among women of different backgrounds. Not only are women in their childbearing years nine times more likely than men to develop lupus, but women of African-American descent are three times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. Women of Asian, Latin American/Hispanic, Pacific Rim descent are also more likely to be affected. An estimated 1.4 million Americans have lupus.

"This disease disproportionately strikes a typically medically underserved portion of America's population. It is vital that American women are aware of diseases more common in women, take care of their health, and talk to their doctors about symptoms that might be part of a more serious condition," says ALR's Scientific Advisory Board Chair, Dr. Mary K. Crow. "Lupus can cause heart and kidney disease - two leading causes of death for women - so we are grateful to our Members of Congress for shining a light on this important issue."

The Alliance for Lupus Research (ALR) is a national voluntary health organization based in New York City and founded in 1999. Chaired by Robert Wood Johnson IV, it has become the world's largest private source of lupus research funds and has committed $50 million to lupus-specific research projects since its inception. The organization's mission is to find better treatments and ultimately prevent and cure lupus by supporting medical research. Because the ALR's Board of Directors pays for all administrative and fundraising costs, 100% of all donations go directly to support lupus research programs. For more information, visit http://www.lupusresearch.org.


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SOURCE Alliance for Lupus Research
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