OHSU Experts Help Set National Osteoporosis Guidelines

03/31/00    Portland, Ore.

Local Doctors Assess Treatment Options for Disease Affecting 10 Million Americans

The National Institutes of Health this week announced new guidelines for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis with the help of three physicians from the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Medicine. Experts met for three days March 26-29 at the NIH Consensus Development Conference on Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis and Therapy in Bethesda, Md. to hammer out recommendations for doctors and patients nationwide.

The group concluded that nutrition, exercise and medicines can all be effective in helping to prevent and treat osteoporosis, a skeletal disorder of compromised bone strength affecting about 10 million Americans. The group emphasized the importance of strong physical activity early in life to building strong bones and suggested that estrogen therapy needs more study as a prevention method later in life.

Eric S. Orwoll, M.D., director of the OHSU Bone and Mineral Clinic, helped write the 30-page consensus document that will be used by the NIH to inform doctors and patients across the country about new research and treatments for the condition. Orwoll is the principal investigator in the NIH's first national trial on osteoporosis in men, a study based at OHSU.

Mark Helfand, M.D., M.P.H., and Heidi D. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P., wrote the report on current osteoporosis research and treatments that was used as the basis for the group's discussion. Helfand is director of the Evidence-Based Practice Center at OHSU, and Nelson was principal investigator on the osteoporosis report.

The primary objectives of the NIH conference were to evaluate the scientific soundness of technology in healthcare and to provide physicians and consumers with information regarding the safety and effectiveness of drugs, devices and procedures.

The complete Osteoporosis Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Statement is posted at http://consensus.nih.gov/. A radio news release is also available by calling 1-800-MED-DIAL (633-3425).