3:46 PM EDT
Todd Platts, R-PA 19th

Mr. PLATTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 1149, expressing support for the designation of the month of April 2008 as National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month to bring attention to this disease, its potential causes, and the need for research on the causes and potential treatments.

Sarcoidosis is a noncontagious systemic disease of unknown origin that causes inflamed, microscopic growths called granulomas that often affect one or more systems in the body, including the lungs, skin, eyes, and nervous system. This disease is sometimes difficult to diagnose.

The American Lung Association reports that more than 90 percent of the people diagnosed with sarcoidosis experience some degree of problem with their lungs which may reduce their ability to absorb oxygen. Because of scarring caused by the inflammations, between 20 and 30 percent of people with pulmonary sarcoidosis end up with some degree of permanent lung damage. Although death is relatively uncommon, mortality can occur due to lung failure or if the disease causes serious damage to a vital

organ other than the lungs.

It has been observed that the disease occurs throughout the world in all races and both sexes, although gender and ethnicity may have an impact on the risk of developing sarcoidosis and its severity. Women and people of African descent, along with those of Scandinavian, German, Irish and Puerto Rican descent, are particularly prone to the disease and its more chronic and serious manifestations. The reasons for this are yet unknown.

The cause or causes of sarcoidosis remain a mystery. Our best medical evidence to date has not discovered the extent to which lifestyle, environment, or heredity affects the development, severity, or length of this disease.

The American Lung Association reports that most researchers believe that the disease involves an altered immune system. Some studies suggest sarcoidosis is caused by a respiratory infection triggered by bacteria or a virus, or even by exposure to burning wood. Others suggest possible occupational or environmental risks. And some studies also show that sarcoidosis may run within families, suggesting a genetic link.

Medical science has developed treatments that manage the symptoms of the disease, but no treatment is clearly effective for a prolonged period, and there is no cure.

Considering the broad reach of this disease, across people of different genders and ethnicities throughout the [Page: H2906]

world, and the lack of scientific evidence as to its cause or a cure, it is important to acknowledge the efforts of individuals and organizations to observe National Sarcoidosis Awareness Month and work on promoting awareness and the search for the cause and effective treatments. I am pleased, therefore, to stand in support of this resolution

and ask for a ``yes'' vote.

I reserve the balance of my time.