Senate approves bill to expand fund’s scope

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Joseph Crisco
Joseph Crisco

HARTFORD — The state Senate has unanimously approved an initiative to expand the state’s Biomedical Research Fund spearheaded by state Sen. Joseph Crisco, Jr. (D-17).

The initiative will expand the fund to include grants for studies into the cause and cure for strokes. Crisco said, in a statement, the debilitating result of strokes can devastate the afflicted and their families alike and should be the focus of renewed and intensified medical research.

“Researchers already know several risk factors with regard to stroke that include high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and tobacco use, each of which aligns perfectly with the original purpose of the Biomedical Research Fund,” Crisco said. “But the debilitating fallout from stroke depends on which part of the brain is deprived of blood and oxygen, and for how long, so there’s a world of research still waiting to be done.”

The fund was established through legislation originally introduced by Crisco. Each year the state Department of Public Health directs tobacco settlement funds to underwrite worthy research seeking a cure for heart disease, cancer, other smoking-related diseases; in 2010 its scope was expanded to include Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes.

“There are more than 7 million stroke survivors in the United States who are recovering, but additional research is needed to help them — and new stroke patients — do so more quickly and more thoroughly,” Crisco said. “Additional research might be in order to help prevent strokes among higher risk groups like women, older men, and African-Americans.”

The bill advanced to the House of Representatives for its consideration.