Senator Karen Morgan – Alzheimer’s Task Force Recommendations
Thank you very much, it’s great to be here with you today and to have this opportunity to talk a little bit about an Alzheimer’s state plan for Utah.
This is a five year plan that was developed last year by the Alzheimer’s state plan task force that met during the interim. It met with the public, it met with health care professions, with caregivers and family members to come up with a five year plan to address this disease.
Alzheimer’s is not a part of natural aging. Many people believe that it is, because many people believe that it is because 15% of those over the age of 85 suffer with sometime of dementia. It is important to know that dementia isn’t a symptom of the underlying disease. And as I said Alzheimer’s disease, or dementia, is not a natural part of aging.
Much research is beginning to show that there is much we can do to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Part of the 5 year plan is to make citizens of Utah more aware of this disease, to remove the stigma, to help caregivers, and to provide for more research. We are excited about this state plan. We have legislation that will put the language of the state plan. I am going to show you a wonderful booklet has been developed that that encompasses the state plan. We will be implementing the pieces of the state plan over the next five years. There will be legislation this year that will take some the pieces of the plan that were of the highest priority for task force members, and we’ll implement those.
Representative Carol Spackman Moss – Alzheimer’s Task Force Recommendations
It’s been my privilege and honor to be associated with first the task force, and also now as the House sponsor of this important legislation.
A number of things that Senator Morgan and I learned, and other members of the task force learned as we traveled throughout the state is the tremendous need in rural areas to have access to more resources, both respite care and diagnosis. We have too few doctors today who are really qualified to diagnose Alzheimer’s and other related dementias. Sadly we do not have many people going into the specialty of gerontology. This is something that our plan also talks about. We want to give people a place, a portal, a website that would be in place so that they can get more information about Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, when they see the symptoms in their loved one. It’s very important that we come to this issue with the seriousness that it deserves. Too many times people joke about it, or make light of it. We all worry about it as we forget things, but as Senator Morgan says it is a disease and these may be symptoms of the disease. Utah is exploding with an older population, and there will be more people with this disease. We need to address this or we will have a major health care crisis on our hands.
Senator Jones – Tanning Bed Regulations
SB41 First Substitute
It is my pleasure to talk to you today about First Substitute Senate Bill 41, which has to do with commercial tanning beds. This legislation is designed to reduce deaths from melanoma. Utah has the number one, the dubious distinction, of being number one in deaths from melanoma. So we have the highest in the nation for melanoma cases. We know that 23% of Utah females, grades 10 through 12, our teenagers, are tanning at least once a year. About 5% of them are tanning more than 40 times a year.
Indoor tanning beds work by shining ultraviolet, UV radiation. This is not UV light, it’s UV radiation on to people. UV radiation damages our DNA, and that is what causes our skin to go darker. So when you see the melanon that is damaged, it is caused by the radiation.
This is more dangerous than the midday sun. There are a couple of reasons for that. Number one, it’s more intense. Number two, a larger scope and percentage of the skin is exposed to the radiation because people sometimes tan naked, or they are in minimal clothing.
The international agency institute for research on cancer, that’s part of the World Health Organization, has classified tanning beds as human carcinogens. They have recommended that no one under the age of 18 years of age use a tanning bed.
Tanning beds have also proven to be addictive. This is not unsimilar than using tobacco or drinking alcohol.
We need to look at prevention. I like the idea that so many women are sponsoring health and prevention bills this year. I don’t think it is by coincidence – we also have Senator Mayne who is sponsoring legislation on breast cancer. I think we need to look at prevention and the things that we can do so we are not remediating.
This bill would make it illegal for any one 13 and under to use a commercial tanning bed. It would make it so that ages 14-18 would need parents with them whenever they use a commercial tanning bed. It is designed to reduce melanoma deaths. The bill will be heard Thursday at 2:00 in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.