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(Neurological Diseases, Blindness)



Washington, D. C. The committee met, pursuant to adjournment, at 10 a. m., in the committee room of the House Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, Hon. James I. Dolliver (the acting chairman) presiding.

Mr. DOLLIVER. The committee will come to order.

I hope it will be understood that the present occupant of the chairman's chair is not the chairman of this committee. Mr. Wolverton was called back to Camden, N. J., yesterday, but will be back before this hearing has proceeded very far. He asked me to get started this morning, so that we would be under way by the time he arrived.

Today, our hearings are to be concerned with the problems of the neurological disorders, with those disturbances causing blindnessand later-with diabetes. The various neurological diseases are closely linked, a fact which is symbolized by the existence of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Blindness. We shall hear something of this interrelationship, but the hearings for each group we shall

take up separately. This morning we are to concern ourselves with the neurological disorders. Up to very recently, these medical disturbances were not conceived of as a single problem, and it may be inevitable that for some time people will continue to consider such conditions as cerebral palsy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy as single, independent entities. Because these are disorders of the nervous system, however, most often of the brain and spinal cord, they are intimately related to each other. As the various types of cancer or heart disease have been considered here at these hearings as either cancer or heart disease, we shall try to consider the neurological disorders together in this hearing.

These disorders (of which, I understand, there are more than 150) constitute a major health problem for the Nation. They are a leading cause of death and the most common cause of permanent crippling. Because they are such cripplers and their victims, thereby, must frequently retreat from both the economic and social scene, it is probably inevitable that none of us has really understood the full burden of these disorders as they are felt by the individual sufferer and by the community which must aid in their care and welfare. I hope we shall reach that understanding today, and I am looking to the witnesses, who have so kindly agreed to some here, to help illuminate more specifically the nature of these disorders, their costs to the coun

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