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NINDS Behcet's Disease Information Page


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What is Behcet's Disease?

Behcet's disease is a rare, chronic inflammatory disorder. The cause of Behcet's disease is unknown, but current research suggests that both genetic and  environmental factors play a role.  Behcet's disease generally begins when individuals are in their 20s or 30s, although it can happen at any age. It tends to occur more often in men than in women. Symptoms of Behcet's disease include recurrent ulcers in the mouth (resembling canker sores) and on the genitals, and eye inflammation. The disorder may also cause various types of skin lesions, arthritis, bowel inflammation, meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord), and cranial nerve palsies. Behcet's is a multi-system disease; it may involve all organs and affect the central nervous system, causing memory loss and impaired speech, balance, and movement.

The effects of the disease may include blindness, stroke, swelling of the spinal cord, and intestinal complications. The disease is common in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey, and in Far Eastern nations such as Japan and Korean, but is less common in the United States.

Is there any treatment?

Treatment for Behcet's disease is symptomatic and supportive. Medication may be prescribed to reduce inflammation and/or regulate the immune system. Immunosuppressive therapy may be considered.

What is the prognosis?

Behcet's disease is a lifelong disorder that comes and goes. Permanent remission of symptoms has not been reported.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on painful neurological disorders such as Behcet's disease. The National Human Genome Research Institute, another Institute of the National Institutes of Health, conducts research into the genomic basis of Behcet's disease.  This research is aimed at discovering the causes of these disorders and finding ways to treat, prevent, and, ultimately, cure them.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Behcet's Disease Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
American Behcet's Disease Association
P.O. 869
Smithtown, NY   11787-0869
info@behcets.com
http://www.behcets.com
Tel: 631-656-0537 800-7-BEHCETS (723-4238)
Fax: 480-247-5377

National Eye Institute (NEI)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Rm. 6A32 MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD   20892-2510
2020@nei.nih.gov
http://www.nei.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-5248

National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Dr., Rm. 4C02 MSC 2350
Bethesda, MD   20892-2350
NIAMSinfo@mail.nih.gov
http://www.niams.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-8190 877-22-NIAMS (226-4267)

National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, Room 5B-55
Bethesda, MD   20892
nidcrinfo@mail.nih.gov
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov
Tel: 301-496-4261

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
55 Kenosia Avenue
Danbury, CT   06810
orphan@rarediseases.org
http://www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-798-2291

 


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated February 6, 2012