Saturday, November 15, 2008

2008 EULAR abstracts -- now you can read them

Thanks to a reader, I just found out today that the links in my last post weren't working correctly for some subscribers, even though I was able to open them with no problem.

So... I'll give instructions on how to access the EULAR abstracts. I'm sorry for the problems -- I'll get this process down at some point.


To access the 177 abstracts dealing with Behcet's:

Go to
Check the box on the right that says you agree with the Terms of Use, and click "Submit"
Click the tab near the top that says "Titles"
In the "Search" box at the top, type: Behcet and click "Go"
The 177 abstract links should show up in a long list over several pages. If you click on individual abstract titles, you'll get a popup with that particular abstract.

Friday, November 14, 2008

ACR and EULAR 2008 conference abstracts on Behcet's

A note about medical conference abstracts:

Abstracts from medical conferences are summaries of recent research that has been done. Abstracts are not FINAL reports. The data in some conference abstracts may not be complete, or there may even be typos or wrong information. Also, these abstracts don't always go on to be published as full articles in medical journals, either -- for a variety of reasons. They're most useful to give an idea of the types of studies that are being done now, or the different treatments that are being researched. So....don't take conference abstracts as gospel truth.

With that said, there are two sets of 2008 conference abstracts listed here, along with one full (free) article on the management of BD symptoms.


Effect Of Immunosuppressive Treatment On Skin Pathergy Reaction In Behcet’s Disease

Pulmonary Artery Aneurysm Screening in Patients with Behcet’s Disease

Validation of the International Criteria for Behcet’s Disease (ICBD) in Iran

Clinical Characteristics and Comparison of Treatment Outcome in Patients with Behcet’s Disease Undergoing Aortic Valve Replacement Due to Aortic Regurgitation

Randomized Control Study (single blinded) of Rituximab versus Cytotoxic Combination Therapy in Severe Ocular Lesions of Behcet’s Disease: Pilot Study ( ID: NCT00664599)

Large vessel involvement in Behcet's Syndrome: A Retrospective Survery

(European League Against Rheumatism):

There were 177 presentations at the EULAR conference that dealt with Behcet's. You can look at the full list of abstracts here, and click on the titles that sound interesting.

And finally, I posted the following article to the different online BD groups a few months ago, but it's recently come out in print. You can access it online, for free, at:
EULAR recommendations for the management of Behcet's disease

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

News Article: BD and First Unum Insurance

I don't even want to comment about this one.
From, Nov. 12, 2008:
Balderdash, Woman Tells Unum Insurance

PHOENIX (CN) - A woman with Behcet's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of blood vessels, says First Unum Life Insurance denied her claim in bad faith, calling her disease a "mental illness."
Leah Bilyeu also sued the plan administrator, Morgan Stanley Long-Term Disability Plan, in Federal Court.
In addition to Behcet's syndrome, Bilyeu says she suffers from hypothyroidism, irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux, endometriosis, migraines, memometrorrhagia, severe pains in her back, neck, arms, hands and feet, numb extremities, weakness, fatigue, anxiety and depression.
"UNUM invoked the plan's 'Mental Illness Limitation'" to restrict her benefits to 24 months, Bilyeu says. But Behcet's syndrome is not a mental disease.
She is represented by Randolph Bachrach.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Remission in Behcet's

Are you in remission right now? It might seem like you could give a simple "yes" or "no" answer, but in a lot of cases, it's not that easy. Why not?

Because it's a matter of definition. Here's another question:

Are you in a remission because you're taking drugs right now that keep you from having flareups?
Or are you off all drugs, and still symptom-free?

And then there's the question of time. How long have you been flare-free? Two weeks? Two months? Two years? What's the minimum amount of time to be flare-free before you can say you're in remission? And are you free of all symptoms?

Over the years, I've lost count of the number of people who have told me that they're in remission -- but when I ask if they still get mouth ulcers, they say, "Every once in a while." Do their joints hurt? "Sure, but it's not too bad." I think you get the idea. I don't count that as remission.

Luckily, there are experts out there that are thinking about this whole issue of remission. There's a 120+-page supplement to the Clinical & Experimental Rheumatology journal available online, for free, about Remission in Rheumatic Diseases. Behcet's isn't the subject of any of the articles (many concentrate on rheumatoid arthritis), but one article in particular is worth downloading:

Complexities in defining remission in rheumatic diseases
Clinical and Experimental Rheumatology, 2006;24;6;43, Pg. S001-S006
T. Pincus, A. Kavanaugh, D. Aletaha, J. Smolen

Some of the questions it tackles:
1) What's the time-frame required to say that you're in remission?
2) Is remission with or without medication?
3) Can you be considered in remission if you have organ damage caused by past inflammations?
4) What about spontaneous remission?
5) Is "near remission" (where your disease is at a low level of activity) a better goal for many patients, instead of shooting for a full remission?

This article (and the whole 120+ page supplement, as a matter of fact) can be accessed for free now, but I don't know how long it will be available. I suggest taking a look at it (and downloading or printing it out) while you have a chance.