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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA ADVISORY: AAN to Testify Before Congress on Veterans' Traumatic Brain Injury Issues

WASHINGTON, DC – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contacts: Angela Babb, (651) 695-2789, ababb@aan.com Robin Stinnett, (651) 695-2763, rstinnett@aan.com AAN TO TESTIFY BEFORE CONGRESS ON VETERANS’ TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY ISSUES What: American Academy of Neurology (AAN), world’s largest association of neurologists, testifies before The Senate Committee On Veterans’ Affairs in support of S.1233 When: 9:30 a.m. ET, Wednesday, May 23, 2007 Where: 562 Dirksen, Senate Office Building, Washington, DC Who: John Booss, MD, Fellow of the AAN and the former National Director of Neurology for the Department of Veterans Affairs WASHINGTON, DC – John Booss, MD, a former Director of Neurology for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN), has been invited by the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to testify Wednesday, May 23, 2007, on behalf of the AAN in support of S.1233, a bill to improve rehabilitation, training and assisted-living services for veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI). The bill is co-sponsored by Committee Chairman Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Ranking Member Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID). Major features of S.1233 include providing rehabilitation centers closer to veterans’ homes; providing VA physicians with opportunities to improve their expertise in TBI; and requiring the VA to create assisted-living programs to address veterans’ needs. These provisions are in keeping with the AAN’s 2007 position statement on neurological care for veterans with TBI. “I applaud this Committee for holding hearings on how the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have created an emerging epidemic of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among combat veterans,” said Booss. “TBI, which has been called the signature wound of the wars, involves neurological, cognitive and behavioral changes which are complex, varied, diverse, and may change in severity or develop over time. Longer-term neurological problems often include post-traumatic epilepsy, headaches, sleep disorders and sensory complications.” Given the high rate of post-traumatic epilepsy that veterans with TBI are likely to endure, the AAN is strongly urging Congress to include the creation in the VA of a strong national epilepsy program with Research, Education and Clinical Centers, including Epilepsy Centers of Excellence. “We are concerned that the VA lacks a national program for epilepsy with clear guidelines on when to refer patients for further assessment and treatment of epilepsy,” said Booss.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 20,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating, and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, and stroke. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit www.aan.com.


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