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Capacity to diagnose osteoporosis doubles in Armenia

On October 4th, in conjunction with the 5th Annual Osteoporosis Symposium, the announcement was made that Hologic, Inc. has donated three more DXA instruments for the diagnosis of osteoporosis in Armenia. This brings the number of DXA units donated by Hologic, Inc. to Armenia to 5 over the past 4 years. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the most accurate and advanced of the technologies used to measure bone mineral density (BMD). Low BMD indicates osteoporosis, a 'silent' disease which causes bones to weaken and break more easily. Without DXA testing, people are unaware that they have the serious disease and are at high risk of suffering debilitating fragility fractures.

Six Yerevan Medical Centers now with capacity to diagnose osteoporosis:

The addition of three densitometers doubles the number of densitometers to six for this country of three million people. The new machines will be placed in the Ereubuni Medical Center and the Scientific Center of Traumatology and Orthopaedics, major Yerevan hospitals. The other new DXA unit will be placed in the Center of Mother and Child Care in Nagorno-Karabakh. The new DXA machines, valued at more than 100,000 USD, are equipped with the latest software, including FRAX, the WHO Fracture Risk Assessment calculation tool that helps determine fracture risk. The three units that are currently operating in Yerevan are at The Scientific Research Center of Maternal and Child Health Protection, Yerevan State Medical University, and the Armenian-American Wellness Center.

Armenian radiologists will be trained in the use of the machines in December 2011 by Larry Mowat, R.T., Hologic's Senior Application Specialist. Mowat has participated in several previous trips to Armenia, generously donating his time and expertise in DXA installation, quality control and training.

5th Annual Osteoporosis Symposium draws record number of participants:

A wide segment of Armenian health professionals have benefited from annual osteoporosis symposia, organized and directed by Dr. John P. Bilezikian, Professor of Medicine and Pharmacology at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University. This year's symposium attracted record participation from more than 350 clinicians and allied health professionals. International speakers at the Symposium included Professor John Kanis, President of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), Professor Bilezikian, and Samuel Badalian, Professor and Chair, Dep't of Obstetrics and Gynecology, SUNY Upstate Medical Center, Syracuse, New York, and Sara Takii, DPT and President of the Armenian International Institute of Physical Therapy, Bakersfield, California.

The Symposium included presentations and discussions on a broad array of topics including diagnosis of osteoporosis, FRAX, nutrition, exercise and treatment. Participants were given comprehensive presentations of osteoporosis and its management with the goal to translate this knowledge to better care of patients who either have or are at risk for osteoporosis. Three local Armenian physicians presented their work based upon the three instruments that have been in the country for the past several years. The hope is that with 6 DXA units, a database can be created to describe the Armenian population in such a way that this knowledge can be used for the FRAX risk assessment tool.

Professor Bilezikian, who is deeply committed to the education and awareness of osteoporosis in Armenia, and has been primarily responsible for this and the previous symposia as well as for the Hologic DXA donations, stated, "I am pleased that these Symposia have served to improve knowledge of osteoporosis and its management in the country. I would also like to thank Hologic for their generous donation of the new DXA machines. The increased availability of this technology will have a great impact on the diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis in Armenia."


Contact: L. Misteli
International Osteoporosis Foundation

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