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JOURNALISTS FROM COSTA RICA AND UK AWARDED FOR JOURNALISTIC EXCELLENCE

Second IOF-Alliance Osteoporosis Media Award presented in Rio de Janeiro

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil
May 17, 2004

Two young journalists, from Costa Rica and the UK, were awarded international honors today for their efforts to raise awareness about osteoporosis.

Matt Thompson, 24, from UK, was honored in the medical category for his article "Tackling the hidden disease" which appeared in Middle East Health.

Ivannia Varela Quirós, 33, from Costa Rica, was honored in the general category for writing "Frágiles como el Cristal" (Fragile like crystal) for La Nación Sunday Magazine, the largest Sunday supplement in the country.

Each winner won a cash prize of US$ 3,000 and a trip to the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis in Rio de Janeiro, where the awards were presented.

Varela Quiros noted that she first learned about osteoporosis when her 92 year old grandmother broke her hip. "I started to get interested in the subject and heard stories from many other people with similar stories." Her magazine put her story on the cover and it generated a huge response from readers. "Osteoporosis is serious but it isn't necessarily the end of the world," she said. "My grandmother recovered and is now walking on her own."

"Writing this article changed my life,"observed Thompson. "It was my first article for Middle East Health and the editors were so pleased they sent me to Dubai to write more articles. It was always a dream of mine to travel to report about health issues and now I'm in Rio for the IOF World Congress."

"As a result of these awards we see considerable impact in public opinion about the importance of osteoporosis as a disease that deserves better diagnosis, treatment and prevention," noted Cesar Rodrigues, of Aventis Pharma Ltda. Rodrigues, who was involved in the media award program from the beginning, added that "media attention is essential in all countries because osteoporosis does not respect boundaries but attacks people worldwide."

The articles can be read on the IOF website: http://www.osteofound.org/activities/media_award/index.html

"Osteoporosis is one of the world's most common diseases in post-menopausal women, yet it is severely under-recognized, under-diagnosed and under- treated," noted IOF Chief Executive Officer Daniel Navid, who presented the award. "The efforts of these journalists, and others around the world, will help to educate the public and health care professionals about osteoporosis and communicate the importance of investing in better bone health."

The awards were supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the Alliance for Better Bone Health (Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals and Aventis Pharma).

ENDS

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working with its 165 member societies in more than 85 locations, and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, in which the bones become porous and break easily, is one of the world's most common and debilitating diseases. The result: pain, loss of movement, inability to perform daily chores, and in many cases, death. One out of three women over 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one out of eight men(1). Unfortunately, screening for people at risk is far from being a standard practice. Osteoporosis can, to a certain extent, be prevented, it can be easily diagnosed and effective treatments are available.

1 Melton U, Chrischilles EA, Cooper C et al. How many women have osteoporosis? Journal of Bone Mineral Research, 1992; 7:1005-10

For more information on the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, including access to all the abstracts and press releases, please refer to: www.osteofound.org

Find out if you are at risk, take the IOF One Minute Risk Test at: www.osteofound.org

For further information, please contact
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, Head of Communications,
International Osteoporosis Foundation:

Tel. +41 22 994 0100
Fax. +41 22 994 0101
E-mail: psochaczewski@osteofound.org

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