World's largest osteoporosis congress opens in Toronto

June 05, 2006

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO), the world's largest scientific congress devoted specifically to the bone disease osteoporosis, opened today in Toronto, Canada.

"Thank you for continuing to rise up to the challenge of osteoporosis and for striving for a world without broken bones, where all citizens stand straight and strong and safe," said Queen Rania of Jordan, IOF's patron, speaking in a video message. Queen Rania added that the challenges the medical profession faces with osteoporosis are greater than most. By increasing understanding of osteoporosis, spearheading medical research, and lobbying for changes in legislation, IOF is ensuring that people live happy, healthy and productive lives.

Addressing the participants, IOF Chairman Professor Pierre D. Delmas, spoke about the great responsibility that physicians have. He encouraged health care professionals to learn more about osteoporosis in order to better treat their patients, and also urged them to work with national osteoporosis societies to develop education programs and add their voices to lobbying efforts to generate change in health policies concerning reimbursement for diagnostic tests and treatment.

Also speaking at the opening, Professor Rene Rizzoli, chairman of the IOF WCO Scientific Committee, and chairman of IOF's Committee of Scientific Advisors, noted that the IOF WCO is the only global congress devoted entirely to osteoporosis. He highlighted features of the 2006 event, which include the first Bone Research in Space symposium, which "may lead to a significantly better understanding of the deterioration of bone health in the bedridden elderly," and, for the first time, a special day devoted to Allied Health Professionals. This year's congress attracted almost 800 abstracts, twice the number of the previous congress held in 2004 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, he added. The Toronto congress will stage 40 oral presentations and 74 Meet the Experts sessions, which will focus on nutrition, smoking and exercise and osteoporosis; osteoporosis diagnosis, treatment, epidemiology and health economics issues; pregnancy, infancy and osteoporosis. "Education of healthcare professionals is one of the primary missions of the IOF," said Rizzoli.

The Honorable James Bartleman, lieutenant governor of Ontario, welcomed delegates to Toronto.

Canadian Minister of Health Tony Clement, citing Canadian initiatives, noted that health authorities have to consider osteoporosis as a health priority.

Delegates also saw the world premiere of a new IOF video, and a specially-prepared performance by Toronto-based Hangtime Circus, one of the world's leading circus troupes. The IOF video can be seen on the IOF website.

The IOF WCO is held every two years; the next event will take place in December 2008 in Bangkok, Thailand, marking the first time that this congress will take place in Asia.
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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 five men 1, 2, 3. 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.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the only worldwide organization dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working with its 172 member societies in 85 locations, and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

1 Melton U, Chrischilles EA, Cooper C et al. How many women have osteoporosis? Journal of Bone Mineral Research, 1992; 7:1005-10
2 Kanis JA et al. Long-term risk of osteoporotic fracture in Malmo. Osteoporosis International, 2000; 11:669-674
3. Melton LJ, et al. Bone density and fracture risk in men. JBMR. 1998; 13:No 12:1915

IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, held every two years, is the only global congress dedicated specifically to all aspects of osteoporosis. Besides the opportunity to learn about the latest science and developments in diagnosis, treatment and the most recent socio-economic studies, participants have the chance to meet and exchange ideas with other physicians from around the world. All aspects of osteoporosis will be covered during the Congress which will comprise lectures by invited speakers presenting cutting edge research in the field, and 35 oral presentations and more than 680 poster presentations selected from 720 submitted abstracts. More than 70 Meet the Expert Sessions covering many practical aspects of diagnosis and management of osteoporosis are also on the program.

For more information on osteoporosis and IOF please visit: www.osteofound.org

For further information, please contact:
Paul Spencer Sochaczewski, Head of Communications,
International Osteoporosis Foundation:
Tel. +41 22 994 0100 E-mail: IOFnews@osteofound.org
or
Andrew Leopold, Weber Shandwick Worldwide
400-207 Queen's Quay West, Toronto, Tel: +1 416 964 6444
E-mail: aleopold@webershandwick.com

International Osteoporosis Foundation

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