February 2000 Bulletin

Worldwide Bone and Joint Decade begins

An international initiative designed to improve prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through medical research got underway Jan. 13 with the launch of the Bone and Joint Decade.

Twenty nations and 750 organizations with the support of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Secretary-General are mobilizing efforts to raise awareness of the growing burden of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries that may escalate as the populations of nations age.

Lars Lidgren, MD, PhD, chairman, department of orthopaedics, University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, and chairman of the International Steering Committee of the Bone and Joint Decade, set the world-wide effort into motion at an educational meeting and press conference in Geneva, Switzerland. Stuart Weinstein, MD, chairman of the AAOS Task Force on the Bone and Joint Decade, and Bruce Browner, MD, member of the International Steering Committee, reviewed the size of the problem and goals for the key disorders–osteoporosis, trauma, spinal disorders, joint diseases and children with deformities.

The press conference featured three patients who gave their personal views on different musculoskeletal conditions. One patient who had a spinal cord injury made a recovery after nerve and muscle transplantation.

At a dinner, attended by some 200 guests, Linda Edwards, director of the National Osteoporosis Society in the United Kingdom, presented a prize to Professor Björn Rydevik for outstanding achievement in research into back pain.

On Jan. 14-15, WHO held a scientific group meeting to identify the burden of musculoskeletal conditions and what can be done, in terms of treatment and prevention. Joseph A. Buckwalter, MD, chairman, Council on Research and Cynthia Shewan, director, AAOS department of research, presented information on musculoskeletal conditions in the United States.

In November 1999, Kofi A. Annan, United Nations Secretary-General, issued a statement observing that musculoskeletal disorders are the most common causes of severe long-term pain and physical disability, affecting hundreds of millions of people around the world.

"The United Nations, the World Health Organization, national and international organizations for people with musculoskeletal disorders and health care professionals are working globally with the Bone and Joint Decade movement to improve the quality of life for people with musculoskeletal conditions Annan said. "On behalf of the United Nations, allow me to welcome and support this collaborative initiative, the Bone and Joint Decade 2000-2010."

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