(TRENTON) – Aiming to raise awareness for a rare progressive neurodegenerative disorder that may affect up to 50,000 Americans each year, a measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Valerie Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen), Carol Murphy (D-Burlington) and Britnee Timberlake (D-Essex, Passaic) was recently signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy.
The new law (formerly bill AJR-22) designates March as ‘Multiple System Atrophy Awareness Month’ annually in New Jersey. It previously passed the full Assembly earlier this month 70-0, and the Senate in February 34-0.
People with multiple system atrophy (MSA) may have problems with their heart rate, loss of motor function, and difficulties with balance, coordination, gait, bladder and bowel control, speech, swallowing, and breathing. Symptoms may advance rapidly over the course of five to ten years.
While there is currently no cure for MSA, medications are available to treat symptoms and researchers continue to search for treatments with fewer side effects.
Assembly members Vainieri Huttle, Murphy and Timberlake released the following joint statement:
“It’s common for people to only hear about MSA if someone they know is directly affected by the disease. Increased awareness will improve early diagnosis, support research and funding, and reduce the stigma surrounding rare diseases.
“This new law gives us an opportunity every March in New Jersey to recognize those living with MSA, share valuable information and resources and show MSA patients they are not alone.”