April 1996 Bulletin

NIAMS celebrates 10th anniversary

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a scientific symposium, "Progress and Promise in Chronic Disease," April 15, 1996 at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md.

The symposium is intended to be a day to assess progress and identify future perspectives for the advancement of knowledge and musculoskeletal and skin diseases.

Stephen I. Katz, MD, PhD, will present "A Vision for the Future of the NIAMS," and Lawrence E. Schulman, MD, PhD, director emeritus of NIAMS, will discuss "NIAMS, The First Nine Years."

Other presentations will concern bone formation, osteoporosis, development of cartilage, and rheumatoid arthritis.

NIAMS sponsors basic, clinical, and epidemiologic research, research training, and information programs on many of the most debilitating diseases affecting the nation's health. Most of the diseases are chronic, costing the United States $100 billion in health care and lost productivity; some are fatal. NIAMS estimates that an estimated 40 million Americans have arthritis, 30 million have osteoporosis or other bone disorders, and eight out of 10 have a back problem at some time.

Long-term scientific advances have included the results of several decades of NIAMS-supported research showing estrogen replacement therapy to be effective in reducing osteoporosis and hip fractures. In 1991 alone, the reduction of fractures in older women as a result of estrogen replacement is estimated to have saved the United States $333 million in patient care costs. Other research advances included:

New evidence that rheumatoid arthritis can be induced by products of bacteria; this finding offers a potential new focus for prevention strategies

Cartilage studies in mice indicate that antibiotic doxycycline can reduce cartilage breakdown and, at higher doses, stimulate cartilage growth.

A multicenter study of 9,700 older women that defined several risk factors for osteoporosis and suggested several steps they can take to minimize risk.

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