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ROME, Italy
October 20, 2001 – World Osteoporosis Day

Awareness of osteoporosis, a debilitating bone disease which affects one in three women worldwide, received a major boost by the launch in Rome of the IOF European Osteoporosis Tour.

The Tour includes two main elements – an exhibition produced by noted photographer Oliviero Toscani, and a traveling bone density-testing facility. Both activities will visit major European cities in 2001 and 2002.

These activities are made possible by a major sponsorship from the Alliance for Better Bone Health (Aventis and Procter & Gamble), with additional support from other international and national sponsors. The European Osteotour and the Toscani exhibition is endorsed by various governmental institutions, IOF national societies, the Bone & Joint Decade; the International Council of Nurses, and other groups. The exhibition was originated by the German Green Cross, an IOF member society.

In Italy, the Tour was launched on October 19 at the Italian Parliament under the auspices of Ageing and Society International Congress with the patronage of the President of the Italian Republic, European Parliament, Presidenza del Consiglio, Italian Ministry of Health, United Nations Information Center and other groups, including LIOS-Lega Italiana Osteoporosi, an IOF member.

Exhibit shows osteoporosis "without camouflage"

The exhibition, "Osteoporosis: A Photographic Vision", which has its world premiere at the Museo Pigorini in Rome from October 20- December 19, 2001, includes three parts – osteoporosis facts, three-meter tall photographs of 23 osteoporosis patients from 15 countries, and a "Video of Hope". The exhibition will travel to the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Portugal and Hungary, among other European countries.

"The Toscani exhibition dramatically illustrates how osteoporosis is not about numbers or medical statistics, but is about people," explains IOF Patron Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. "This exhibition not only shows that people's lives can be devastated by osteoporosis, but it also leaves viewers with a message of hope. It is dramatic and honest, and we have no doubt that it will help spread the word on the seriousness of osteoporosis."

Oliviero Toscani explains that he was intrigued by the concept, suggested by IOF member German Green Cross, that by photographing people in black and white, "without the camouflage of clothing or props", viewers could better understand the true nature of the disease.

"I believe knowledge is the basis of education," Toscani notes "The people in this exhibition have shown a large amount of generosity by revealing their physical situation in this way. Through the visual effect of the exhibition they will help other people to find out if they are also exposed to the risk."

IOF President Pierre D. Delmas explains the rationale behind the exhibition. "Some people might find these photos shocking. Some people might ask why Toscani couldn't have photographed people wearing clothes, in everyday situations. We hope to show that there is much more to osteoporosis than statistics; we have to show the human reality of the disease. There is no "typical" patient; each person is an individual who suffers needlessly."

Osteo-truck: information and free bone density-testing for people at risk

People at risk of osteoporosis can learn more about the disease and have their bone density tested at the traveling Osteo-Truck that forms an important component of the IOF European Osteoporosis Tour.

The Osteo-Truck is primarily designed to provide advice for people at high risk of osteoporosis – primarily women 55 and older, or people who have risk factors such as a an early menopause or a parent who had osteoporosis.

Visitors to the Osteo-Truck will be asked to complete a One Minute Risk Test to determine their risk factors for osteoporosis. A nurse will help interpret the results, and people who are at risk will be offered a free, quick and painless bone ultrasound measurement. People can then use the test results for discussions with their personal doctors.

IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid adds that the European Osteoporosis Tour is important because "many people suffer needlessly because they do not realize that they are at risk of osteoporosis. The reality is that osteoporosis can, to a certain extent, be prevented, it can be easily diagnosed, and effectively treated."

The Osteo-Truck will be launched in Rome on World Osteoporosis Day, followed by visits to major Italian cities including Bologna, Salsomaggiore Terme, Tescara, Napoli, Reggio Calabria, and Catania. The Osteo-Truck is expected to visit up to nine countries and a total of about 40 cities throughout Europe.

Osteoporosis progresses rapidly, but there is hope

International journalists to the World Osteoporosis Day Media Seminar, at which the Tour was launched, learned of new studies which show that osteoporosis progresses rapidly. Once a woman gets a first vertebral fracture there is a one in five chance that she will fracture her spine again within one year.

However, the good news is that early diagnosis can catch osteoporosis early, and medical treatments can effectively decrease the likelihood of fracture.

For more information:

IOF-International Osteoporosis Foundation
Nyon, Switzerland

Procter and Gamble
Eduardo Nuesch
Geneva, Switzerland
Tel: 41 22 709-7192

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