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House Appropriations Bill Addresses Celiac Disease

The House of Representatives has, once again, acknowledged celiac disease. It has passed the funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which includes the NIH. The report language detailed below was included in that legislation. This language serves as guidance from Congress to the NIH to focus on certain issues (in this case celiac disease).

A special round of thanks is due Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY) for her tireless efforts on behalf of the celiac community. Further thanks go out to Representative Ralph Regula (R-OH), Chairman, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education, for his leadership on this important bill.

We now wait to see what happens with the Senate version of the funding bill, and whether it is passed before the Congress adjourns later this month.

HR 5006; Passed House on Sept. 9, 2004
House Report. 108-636

"Celiac disease.--The Committee commends NIDDK for recognizing the lack of understanding, and under-diagnosis of the genetic, autoimmune disorder, Celiac disease (CD), and for including celiac disease in the NIH Consensus Development Program for 2004. Although readily diagnosed in European countries, it takes on average eleven years for Americans to be properly diagnosed. Delays in diagnosis place individuals at risk for osteoporosis, anemia, miscarriages, and small bowel cancer. Current evidence demonstrates that celiac disease is the most common genetic disorder in the world, with a treatment-- strict, gluten-free diet--that can be managed almost exclusively by the individual, or family. Education about celiac disease is needed for health care professionals and patients. The Committee encourages NIDDK to coordinate informational and educational programs directed at health professionals, patients and the public to raise awareness and understanding about CD, and the need for early diagnosis."

A copy of the report is available at: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/cpquery/R?cp108:FLD010:@1(hr636):

Allison Herwitt
Co-Chair, Legislative Project
American Celiac Task Force

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