Image of senior woman walking outdoors
Credit: Tetra Images; Getty Images

The US Senate and House of Representatives have approved the National Plan to End Parkinson’s Act, which is expected to receive presidential approval next. The initiative ultimately would create a federal advisory council to head up initiatives for improved diagnostics, research and care.

The plan is touted by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, which called it “a historic opportunity to accelerate our search for cures.”

The news comes as a report out earlier this year found that physical exercise could reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and also control symptoms. As a result, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark recently announced that exercise could be prescribed to those with the disease.

The legislation (H.R.2365/S.1064) calls for forming a federal advisory council with specialists in the public and private sectors including patients, care partners, clinicians and representatives from government entities. That team would report on progress to Congress and the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The plan aims to boost federal research funding, formulate standards for prevention, devise methods for earlier diagnosis and improve access to treatments. The team also would explore optimal patient care models as well as address disparities that surround diagnosis, treatment, clinical trials and public awareness.

“Today, the Parkinson’s community has made history,” Ted Thompson, MJFF’s senior vice president of public policy, said in a statement. “As we celebrate this moment, The Michael J. Fox Foundation expresses our gratitude to every grassroots advocate, partner organization and member of Congress who helped advance this bill.

“Signing this bill into law will ensure much-needed collaboration between the public and private sectors in the name of better treatments, earlier diagnosis and greater access to quality care,” Thompson said. “For every American living with Parkinson’s or an atypical parkinsonism, their families and caregivers, we look forward to continuing our work with policymakers to bring the National Plan to fruition.”