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Genetic Role in Early Onset of Behcet's Disease

Frequency of severe organ involvement higher in children

TUESDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of familial cases in juvenile-onset Behcet's disease indicates that there may be a genetic component to early expression of the disease, according to study findings published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. The disease is a multisystemic inflammatory disorder of unknown etiology.

Yelda Karincaoglu, M.D., of Inonu University School of Medicine in Malatya, Turkey, and colleagues conducted a study of two groups of patients: 83 with juvenile-onset Behcet's disease, with a mean age of 19.6 years, of whom 38 were male and 45 were female; and 536 with adult-onset disease, with a mean age of 39.2 years, of whom 293 were male and 243 were female.

While 19 percent of the juvenile-onset cases had familial links, only 10.3 percent of the adult-onset cases did, the researchers report. The most common manifestations in both groups were mucotaneous lesions and articular symptoms, but neurologic and gastrointestinal involvement was more frequent in juvenile cases than among adult-onset cases.

"Public awareness of juvenile-onset Behcet's disease and more informed physicians on differences between juvenile and adult forms of Behcet's disease can be achieved by studies enrolling large numbers of patients, which will be achieved by multicenter studies," the authors write.

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