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WHEREAS, first identified by Austrian pathologist Professor Hans Chiari in the 1890s, Chiari Malformation is a serious neurological disorder with varying degrees of severity; and
WHEREAS, Chiari Malformation is a defect in the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls balance and coordination, that creates pressure on the cerebellum and brain stem, restricting the normal flow of cerebral spinal fluid to and from the brain; and
WHEREAS, symptoms usually appear during adolescence or early adulthood and can include severe head and neck pain, vertigo, muscle weakness, balance problems, blurred or double vision, difficulty swallowing, and sleep apnea; and
WHEREAS, it was believed that Chiari Malformation occurs in one in every 1,000 births, but the increased use of diagnostic imaging has shown that Chiari Malformation may be more common than originally estimated; and
WHEREAS, the cause of Chiari Malformation is unknown; however, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health believes that it is either a congenital condition caused by exposure to harmful substances during fetal development, or that can be a genetic condition, as it may appear in more than one family member; and
WHEREAS, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health is conducting research to find alternative surgical options and identify the causes of the malformations to create improved treatment and prevention plans; and
WHEREAS, in September 2018, walks will be held throughout Virginia during the 11th Annual Conquer Chiari Walk Across America; and
WHEREAS, Chiari Malformation Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase awareness about the signs and symptoms of this disorder and support research efforts to find additional treatments for Chiari Malformation;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize September 2018 as CHIARI MALFORMATION AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.