IOF LogoIOF World Congress on Osteoporosis 2004, May 14-18, 2004, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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WHAT'S THE LATEST ON OSTEOPOROSIS RESEARCH AND TREATMENT?

IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis announces key presentations on prevention, diagnosis, treatment and costs

NYON, Switzerland
May 3, 2004

In a region which accounts for one in four hip fractures worldwide, and where the number will increase to one in two within 50 years1, scientists and physicians will gather next month to discuss the latest developments in osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, treatment and economics.

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO), scheduled May 14-18 for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, will also provide physicians with a chance to meet the experts and learn how to improve their clinical practice.

Some of the Congress highlights are presented here. All abstracts, including those referred to below, can be read on the IOF website: http://www.osteofound.org/wco/2004/

Prevention

It makes so much sense ... prevent osteoporosis and you can avoid the broken bones, the expensive diagnostic tests and therapies, and the diminished quality of life that results from an osteoporosis fracture. Researchers at the 2004 IOF WCO will present the fruits of the past two years of epidemiologic research into the factors that contribute to osteoporosis risk, and efforts to address them. For example, smoking has been confirmed as a risk factor, and a great deal of attention has been given to Vitamin D, which is critical for building and maintaining bone mass, especially in young people. Exercise during the early years also appears to be a critical factor in preventing later bone disease, while being overweight puts us at higher risk of fractures. (During the Congress IOF will hold daily press briefings and issue press releases on key prevention-related abstracts, such as: OC8, OC9, OC10, OC11, OC16, OC17, OC25, OC27)

Diagnosis

Effective treatment depends on accurate diagnosis. Since the 2002 IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, researchers have been refining the tools that clinicians use to predict whether a person is at high risk for bone fractures. A number of presentations will focus on the value of bone mass assessment, the current diagnostic standard as well as the tool of choice for measuring whether therapies--existing or experimental--are truly effective. Other researchers will discuss their attempts to go beyond bone mass assessment to make diagnosis more precise. (During the Congress IOF will hold daily press briefings and issue press releases on key diagnosis-related abstracts, such as OC1, OC3, OC4, OC15, OC20, OC21, OC24, OC47)

Treatment

Statins and strontium ranelate--keep those names in mind. They will be featured in some of the most eagerly anticipated studies in the realm of osteoporosis treatment. The use of statins in treating osteoporosis has been a history of false starts and mixed results, and scientists at Rio will present new studies that clarify whether the common cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins can really reduce fracture risk. And other studies will indicate that strontium ranelate may contribute to bone strength and lower fracture risk. We will also hear updates on bisphosphonate drugs, the current mainstay of treatment in osteoporosis, as well as medications that influence hormones like estrogen. (During the Congress IOF will hold daily press briefings and issue press releases on key treatment-related abstracts, such as: OC6, OC19, OC34, OC39, OC40, OC41, OC45, OC46, OC48)

Special Focus - Osteoporosis in Men

Osteoporosis is not just a woman's disease. Men at all ages can fall victim to catastrophic weakening of their bones. Indeed, it is estimated that one in eight men are at risk of osteoporosis, yet few men are aware of the threat. Later this year, on October 20, World Osteoporosis Day 2004 will bring attention to this dilemma by focusing on the theme "Invest in Your Bones: Osteoporosis In Men." At the Rio congress, researchers will discuss, among other things, a gene that may confer increased risk of osteoporosis in men, the consequences of too little vitamin D, and the value of bisphosphonate therapy for men with osteoporosis. (During the Congress IOF will hold daily press briefings and issue press releases on key osteoporosis in men-related abstracts, such as: OC9, OC37, OC43)

Costs

Osteoporosis is a burden at all levels, from the personal to societal, and policy makers are expecting the incidence of the disease to increase sharply in this new century as our elderly population increases. Research to be presented at the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis probes this issue from many different angles, including the burdens faced by families, the relationship between fracture risk and national economic prosperity, and the need to properly train healthcare providers. (During the Congress IOF will hold daily press briefings and issue press releases on key costs-related abstracts, such as: OC7, OC13, OC23, OC44)

In summarizing the importance of this congress, Rubem Lederman, IOF Board member and executive president of the 2004 IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, notes: "It's appropriate that IOF has chosen to hold its bi-annual congress in Rio, in the heart of Latin America. This region will experience the greatest surge in osteoporosis fractures in coming years compared to other parts of the world."

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