IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis

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LISBON, Portugal
For release on May 11, 2002

Awareness of osteoporosis, a debilitating bone disease which affects one in three women worldwide, receives a major boost when the Portuguese leg of the IOF European Osteoporosis Tour opens in Lisbon today.

The Tour includes two elements – an exhibition produced by noted photographer Oliviero Toscani, and an Osteo-Truck consisting of a bone density-testing facility and information materials.

This activity is linked to the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, which is being held in Lisbon from May 11-14, 2002. Some 5,000 participants are expected.

Portugal is the fourth country to host this tour, following successful tours in Italy, France and Spain where some 25,000 people obtained information about osteoporosis.

Following Portugal, both activities will visit major European cities in 2002.

In Portugal, the estimated total direct hospital costs of hip fractures in 2000 was €51,000,000, according to the IOF report Osteoporosis in the European Community: A Call to Action. In 2000, some 8,500 hip fractures were reported. While costs of a DXA bone density measuring test are reimbursed by the Portuguese public health care system, the patient might have to wait 1-2 months for the test. The report states that "there is no evidence that osteoporosis is considered a priority" by the health authorities.

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 Portugal, the IOF European Osteoporosis Tour is co-sponsored by IOF member societies APOROS (National Association Against Osteoporosis) and SPODOM (Portuguese Society of Metabolic Bone Disease). The Porto de Lisboa is donating the exhibition site.

Exhibit shows osteoporosis "without camouflage"

The exhibition, "Osteoporosis: A Photographic Vision", which can be seen at Porto de Lisboa, Gare Maritima Rocha Conde Obidos from May 11-14, 2002 from 10.00 to 17.00, 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, 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 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 number of people with osteoporosis is increasingly quickly; we need to act immediately."

The Osteo-Truck will be at the Gare Maritima da Rocha on May 10, and at the Lisboa Congress Center, Rua da Junqueira, from May 11-14, 2002.

The public can obtain information about the Osteo-Truck by calling +35 1-21-926-9555.

For more information:

IOF-International Osteoporosis Foundation
Nyon, Switzerland

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

Note to journalists:

You are invited to a press conference launching the Portuguese leg of the European Osteo-Tour:

Date: May 10, 2002

Place: Main auditorium, Gare Maritima da Rocha

Time: Press conference and visit to exhibition and osteotruck: 19.30 to 20.30.

Transport: For journalists attending the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, buses will leave the Lisbon Conference Center at 19.00 and return at 20.45, in time for journalists to participate in the welcome cocktail.

Interviews: Oliviero Toscani will speak at the press conference. If you want to arrange an interview with him prior to the press conference please contact Siofra Sharpe, +41 22 994-0106 for details.