Local surgeon joins group raising awareness about musculoskeletal disorders | VailDaily.com

Local surgeon joins group raising awareness about musculoskeletal disorders

Daily staff report
Robert LaPrade, M.D., Ph.D.

VAIL — On April 14, orthopedic surgeon Robert LaPrade, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer at the Steadman Philippon Research Institute in Vail, attended the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Research Capitol Hill Day to raise awareness about the debilitating and costly musculoskeletal disorders that are affecting millions of Americans today.

LaPrade and many advocacy teams are urging Congress to appropriate $34.5 billion in the 2017 fiscal year to the National Institutes of Health and to support the Next Generation Researchers Act. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons supports the efforts of the Next Generation Researchers Act to build opportunities for new researchers and invest in the future of research, science and innovation.

The President’s Fiscal Year 2017 National Institutes of Health budget requests $33.126 billion in funding. This proposed $825 million budget increase for National Institutes of Health would represent a small increase over the current funding level. Instead, the orthopedic community is urging Congress to appropriate at least $34.5 billion through the Labor-HHS-Education Spending bill for fiscal year 2017.

“Musculoskeletal disorders consume a large percentage of our nation’s gross domestic product, but they comprise less than 2 percent of (National Institutes of Health) spending,” LaPrade said. “In order to best address this shortfall, further research is required to improve the treatment of orthopedic injuries.”

Musculoskeletal disorders are the most common health condition in the United States and the second leading cause of disability worldwide. One in two (126.6 million) adults are affected, twice the rate of chronic heart and lung conditions. Musculoskeletal disorders and diseases cost the U.S. economy $874 billion annually and represent 5.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.

Despite the costly nature of musculoskeletal conditions, funding for orthopedic research has grown slowly. At the same time, the burden of musculoskeletal conditions is expected to escalate in the next 10 to 20 years due to the aging population.

For every $10 million in National Institutes of Health funding, there is an average of 2.5 patents, which often means the creation of start-up companies, LaPrade said. In addition, for every dollar spent on National Institutes of Health research grants, $2 is created in the communities that receive funding.

“(National Institutes of Health) research is one of the best investments in our nation’s future and health,” he said.

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