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Sen. Claiborne Pell Says He Has Parkinson’s Disease

April 9, 1995

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) _ Sen. Claiborne Pell has Parkinson’s disease and disclosed Sunday he hasn’t decided whether to run for a seventh term.

The disease, which attacks the nervous system, is in the early stages and Pell doesn’t require medication yet, his neurologist told The Providence Sunday Journal.

The 76-year-old Rhode Island Democrat is up for re-election in 1996. His illness was diagnosed in December.

``Obviously it’s one of the factors that I would have to consider,″ he said.

Dr. Johnathan Pincus of Georgetown University Hospital in Washington said Pell shows ``no evidence whatsoever of cognitive dysfunction _ or loss of intellectual ability.″

In Pell’s case, drugs can be expected to slow the erosion of his motor skills for up to 10 years, Pincus said.

Parkinson’s often is not diagnosed until severe neurological damage has occurred.

First elected to the Senate in 1960, Pell headed the Foreign Relations Committee until November, when Republicans won a majority. He easily won re-election in 1990.

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