World's Largest Osteoporosis Congress Closes; Significant Studies Released
The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis, held every two years, was organized by the International Osteoporosis Foundation.
?This congress is becoming one of the major scientific meetings in the field of osteoporosis. The interdisciplinary and international flavour of the IOF WCO has never been more apparent than in Toronto,? said congress delegate and IOF Board member Prof. John Bilezikian, USA.
Research on why astronauts lose significant muscle and bone mass while in space can lead to more effective techniques to reduce bone loss in bedridden patients. ?We should think about the potential benefits of using space technology to prevent osteoporosis in our aging population,? noted Dr. Dave Williams, Canadian astronaut, who spoke at the congress.
-- Nine women leaders from around the world called on individuals, physicians and government officials to stop the spread of osteoporosis. Justine Pasek, Miss Universe 2002 from Panama, one of the speakers at the event, said ?it is time to get people to stand up and speak out on this serious disease.?
-- A new, sophisticated X-ray scanner that can measure tiny, three-dimensional changes in bone architecture, was presented. This scanner can detect bone loss that may be missed by standard techniques.
-- Rapid weight loss can be a risk factor for osteoporosis. Obesity is also a risk factor.
-- Female nursing home residents have fewer skeletal fractures than women who live at home.
-- Maternal vitamin D levels during pregnancy and infant bone growth influence future fracture risk. ?Now we have evidence that the bone mass you have at the age of 80 reflects what you started with very early in life,? observed Dr Kassim Javaid, of the MRC Epidemiology Resource Center, Southampton, UK.
-- The rate of osteoporosis in men is climbing, with estrogen level an important component.
-- Calcium supplements are only effective in the presence of additional vitamin D at doses of 800 international units or above.
-- There is a major gap in treating patients with osteoporosis, despite the availability of a wide range of drugs, supplements and practices that help maintain and even build bone strength. This problem is due to under-diagnosis, and failure of governments to reimburse people at risk. And when patients are prescribed treatment, they often do not comply with prescribed treatment.
-- The rate of osteoporosis in Latin America is growing and higher than previously estimated.
-- Research confirms the importance of calcium, vitamin D and protein in building bones.
-- Exercise in childhood and adolescence may stave off osteoporosis. ?Physical activity is important for optimal bone accrual during childhood, consequently leading to higher peak bone mass,? said Miryoung Lee, of the Wright State University School of Medicine, Ohio, USA.
-- Cigarette smoke, both primary and secondary, can weaken your bones and increase the risk of fractures. ?Young smokers have significant losses in bone density,? said Mattias Lorentzon at the Center for Bone Research at Gothenburg University, Sweden.
Numerous awards were presented:
-- Journalists from Malaysia and UK won top osteoporosis journalism awards.
-- Seven young investigators from seven countries received IOF-Novartis Young Scholars' Awards
-- A Boston-based researcher won the IOF-Servier Young Investigator Award.
A new video highlighting the international work of IOF and its members in 85 countries was released, along with a new video message of support by Queen Rania of Jordan, IOF patron.
Full information on these stories, and others based on the hundreds of presentations which took place, is available on the IOF website: http://www.osteofound.org
The next IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis will take place in Bangkok, Thailand, in December 2008.
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