Designates May of each year as Prader-Willi Syndrome Awareness Month
TRENTON – A joint resolution sponsored by Senator Joseph F. Vitale and Senator Fred H. Madden Jr. to designate the month of May of each year as Prader-Willi Syndrome Awareness Month was signed into law today.
Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS) is a complex genetic disorder affecting appetite, growth, metabolism, cognitive function, and behavior. Symptoms typically include low muscle tone, short stature, incomplete sexual development, cognitive disabilities, behavioral problems, and chronic feelings of insatiable hunger and slowed metabolism leading to excessive eating and life-threatening obesity.
“Because so few know about the syndrome, it is often misdiagnosed and children living with the disorder continue to suffer without getting any help,” said Senator Vitale (D-Middlesex). “With the benefit of greater public awareness, it is our hope that we can prompt more research on Prader-Willi Syndrome and increase the chances of developing treatment in order to reduce its devastating effects on the children, men and women it affects.”
According to the Foundation for Prader-Willi Research, PWS occurs in approximately one in every 15,000 births, affects males and females equally, and affects all races and ethnicities.
“Although early diagnosis can be helpful in reducing the challenges, unfortunately this is a syndrome that has no known cure,” said Senator Madden (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Designating May as Prader-Willi Awareness Month will allow those who live with the disorder to share their stories, inspire communities, and bring us closer to finding better treatment to improve the health and well-being of individuals and families living with PWS.”
PWS results from an abnormality of chromosome 15, and definitive diagnosis is based on genetic testing. Although it is considered a rare disorder, it is one of the most common genetic causes of life-threatening childhood obesity.
The resolution, SJR-89, cleared the Senate by a vote of 36-0 and the Assembly by 74-0-0. It takes effect immediately.