IOF LogoIOF World Congress on Osteoporosis 2004, May 14-18, 2004, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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Congress in Rio de Janeiro features groundbreaking research into the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and other bone diseases.

May 18, 2004

In a region that accounts for one in four hip fractures worldwide, and where the number will increase to one in two within 50 years, scientists and physicians from around the world gathered to discuss the latest developments in osteoporosis prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and economics.

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, gave special attention to osteoporosis in Latin America, with a series of symposia on epidemiology, diagnosis and treatment throughout the continent.

"This was a truly global congress, with presenters from Latin America, Asia and Australia, as well as Europe and the United States," said Prof. Josˇ Zanchetta of USAL University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a member of the IOF-WCO scientific program committee. "I have never seen such exceptional scientific content at an international osteoporosis congress."

A number of important findings and conclusions emerged from the meeting:

  • Diagnosis can be improved by combining information on different risk factors and body composition with measurement of bone mineral density
  • Smoking is confirmed as a risk factor for osteoporosis
  • Bone structure is as important as bone mineral density for preventing fractures
  • Hip fracture leads to greater mortality in men than in women
  • New classes of drugs help to build bone mass rather than just preventing bone loss
  • Bone mass lost to osteoporosis can be regained and maintained by combining therapies
  • Patients who discontinue treatment can rapidly begin to lose bone mass
  • A new campaign, to be supported by IOF, will educate orthopedic surgeons to identify fragility fractures
  • Genetic variations that help determine bone mass have been identified
  • Vitamin D and exercise are especially important for girls, as they build bone mass to protect against osteoporosis later in life
  • Hip fracture places a heavy burden on patients and families for years

Epidemiologic, diagnostic and treatment studies of osteoporosis in Latin America were particularly well received at the IOF WCO.

"Some of the epidemiologic studies presented were especially significant because they used the same methodology as vertebral fracture studies in other areas of the world and so can be compared with these studies," said Roberto Arinoviche, president of the Chilean Osteoporosis Foundation and a member of the IOF WCO scientific program committee.

Rene Rizzoli, chairman of the IOF Committee of Scientific Advisors and chairman of the IOF WCO scientific program, highlighted the importance of the 48 oral presentations, 430 posters, 8 satellite symposia and 17 Meet the Expert sessions during the four-day meeting. "The IOF WCO showcased the latest developments in the hard science of osteoporosis research and also provided physicians with the clinical skills they need to diagnose and treat the disease."

For more information about the IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, and to read the abstracts of presentations please visit:


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:

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

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

Tel. +41 22 994 0100
Fax. +41 22 994 0101

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