Behçet’s Disease

Other Known Aliases Silk Road Disease

Definition – systemic inflammatory disorder that commonly effects the eyes, mouth, GI/GU tract, nervous system, and blood vessels

Clinical Significance Pathogenesis is largely unknown, but theorized to have a genetic predisposition. It is rare in the United States and more common in the Middle East and Asia, where it received is other eponym as the “silk road disease” due to the trading routes going through Turkey and the Mediterranean. Onset of the disease in most commonly in 20’s-40’s and is more common in men than women. Treatment is most commonly antiinflammatories and immunosuppressants.

HistoryNamed after Hulusi Behçet (1889-1948), a Turkish dermatologist who received his medical doctorate from the Gülhane Military Medical Academy in Istanbul in 1910. He served as staff physician at the Edirne Military Hospital during World War I and took a special interest in venereal diseases and dermatology. He would go on to become professor in the newly formed republic of Turkey and was the first person in Turkish academia to receive this rank. He took a special interest in the manifestations of syphilis and published extensively on this condition. He described is eponymous condition in 1936 after following several patients with similar symptoms and presenting them at meeting in Paris. It should be noted that several others had described this condition, as early as 1922, but Behçet was the first to recommend it as a previously undiscovered disease process.


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