Osteoarthritis is already the most prevalent age-associated disease, accounting for half of all chronic conditions above the age of 65, and with this in mind, health professionals have declared the years 2000-2010 as the Bone and Joint Decade.
Concerned about the potential impact osteoarthritis (OA) will have on health care and quality of life, scientists hope to raise awareness of the growing burden this disease places on society. They also want to educate people about their own health care, encourage research and promote affordable prevention and treatment measures.
Numerous governments, including the United Kingdom, Brazil, Austria, Saudi Arabia and Taiwan, have officially endorsed the goals of the Bone and Joint Decade, lending it a high degree of credibility. The World Health Organization is also working closely with the organization and has created a Task Force for osteoarthritis. Two major pharmaceutical companies, Searle and Wyeth-Ayerst, have entered into a long-term partnership in support of the Decade.
As part of the increasing attention directed towards OA, a major conference focusing on treatment options will be held in Spain, October 4-7, 2000. The conference will address recent progress in the understanding of disease mechanisms, review current pharmacologic and surgical therapies, and consider tools to monitor medical interventions. Discussions will also take place regarding basic research technologies and the global socioeconomic impact of OA.
The conference promises to be a gathering for scientists throughout the field and carries with it the potential for many new exciting developments in the treatment and prevention of osteoarthritis.