Symposium looks at

Presentations on current research
will be held this week

Star-Bulletin staff

About 1,500 experts on osteoporosis from 62 countries are expected to meet here Wednesday through Saturday to address growing problems of osteoporosis and low bone mass.

The Fifth International Symposium on Clinical Advances in Osteoporosis will be held at the Hawai'i Convention Center, hosted by the National Osteoporosis Foundation, the Asian-Pacific Osteoporosis Foundation and Sociedad Iberoamericana de Osteologia y Metabolismo Mineral.

Figures recently released by the National Osteoporosis Foundation show osteoporosis and low bone mass are a major public health threat for about 55 percent of Americans aged 50 and older.

Judith Cranford, acting executive director of the foundation, said the large numbers reported "underscore the importance of expanded research into the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of osteoporosis."

She said research presented at the symposium will show that "we are on the brink of more fully understanding this complex disease."

The report, "America's Bone Health: The State of Osteoporosis and Low Bone Mass in Our Nation," says an estimated 14 million men and 30 million women are at risk for the disease this year. Higher figures are estimated for the years ahead.

Dr. C. Conrad Johnston Jr., National Osteoporosis Foundation president, said the report "signals a public health issue of major proportions."

He said the current estimated price tag for America in direct medical costs for treating fractures resulting from osteoporosis is $17 billion annually.

The cost will soar if people do not act now to build stronger and healthier bones, Johnston said.

Cranford said an overriding goal is to find a cure for the disease. Research advances will be reported this week at the meetings.

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