About the Post-Polio Task Force
Although the Task Force disbanded in 1999 because the research was concluded, the information that was developed for this section of the PHI website remains relevant to this date.
Expert Panel Promoted Awareness and Advanced Medical Knowledge of Post-Polio Syndrome
Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS) is a commonly misunderstood disorder that causes fatigue, weakness, and pain in survivors of acute paralytic poliomyelitis, commonly known as polio. In response to the emergence of PPS, an expert panel – the Post-Polio Task Force – was convened in order to promote awareness and clarity, and advance medical knowledge of this disease.
A task force of experts in the field of PPS was formed to help promote awareness and advance medical knowledge of this disease entity. The task force included clinicians and researchers who specialize in diagnosing and treating polio survivors with symptoms of PPS, as well as patient advocates for survivors of polio.
The Post-Polio Task Force adopted the following mission statement:
"The Post-Polio Task Force is dedicated to improving the care and quality of life for people with post-polio syndrome."
To accomplish its mission, the task force identified the following objectives:
- Raise awareness of issues surrounding the diagnosis and management of post-polio syndrome through education and the promotion of research.
- Develop educational tools and events that raise awareness of post-polio syndrome and its clinical significance.
- Facilitate the definition of standards of care for people with post-polio syndrome.
To meet these objectives, the Post-Polio Task Force conducted the following activities:
Computer-based Education Program
A CD-ROM program on PPS, to provide physicians and patients with the latest information on this disease, including its history, prevalence, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. It was unveiled at the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) meeting in Boston from April 12, 1997 through April 19, 1997 and at the International Polio Network (IPN) meeting in Saint Louis from May 29, 1997 through May 31, 1997. The CD-ROM will be distributed to physicians through post-polio clinics, and neurology and physiatry training programs. The CD-ROM text also is available on this website. See Background on Post-Polio Syndrome, under Post-Polio Syndrome: A New Challenge for the Survivors of Polio.
The task force conducted a closed roundtable discussion at the AAN meeting, during which task force members gave presentations aimed at reaching consensus on issues relating to the diagnosis and treatment of PPS.
The proceedings of the AAN roundtable discussion will be used to produce:
- A newsletter for physicians, which will be distributed to post-polio centers and the media. (See Post-Polio Info).
- A slide kit for use in academic medical centers and other venues.
The AAN and IPN roundtable presentations were developed for a continuing medical education (CME) symposium on PPS for physiatrists, held at the AAPMR meeting in November, 1997.
The task force developed a "Questions and Answers" brochure for PPS patients.
The Post-Polio Task Force was chaired by:
Neil R. Cashman, MD, now at the University of Toronto's Center of Research in Neuro Degenerative Diseases, formerly at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.
The other seven members were:
Lauro Halstead, MD, director of the post-polio program at National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC
Joan L. Headley, MS, executive director of the International Polio Network (now Post-Polio Health International), headquartered in Saint Louis, Missouri
Burk Jubelt, MD, professor and chairman, department of neurology, State University of New York, Health Sciences Center in Syracuse
Frederick M. Maynard, MD, Upper Peninsula Medicine Associates, Marquette, Michigan
Robert Miller, MD, chairman of the department of neurology at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, California
Dorothy Woods Smith, RN, PhD, associate professor at the University of Southern Maine College of Nursing in Portland, Maine
Daria A. Trojan, MD, MSc, assistant professor at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital at McGill University in Montreal, Canada
The Post-Polio Task Force was funded via an unrestricted educational grant from ICN Pharmaceuticals, Inc.