By Hasan YAZICI & Yalçın TÜZÜN (Turkey)

BD Newsletter aims to be the official organ of communication for the International Society for Behçet's Disease. Its reader target is, for the time being, only the physicians. On the other hand we plan to have adequate space for a patient forum, thus also a patient reader audience, for this Newsletter once we, with luck, secure more funding. At you can easily check our memo writing services for new projects and topics.

Our Newsletter is currently scheduled for biannual publication. Our sincere thanks go the journal, The Clinical Experimental Rheumatology, Pisa- Italy, the editorial office of which will edit and print our Newsletter, free of charge for the first 4 issues.

You will find in this first issue mainly viewpoint - state of the art articles, all solicited, from a group of international experts on various aspects of BD. So we are a bit "stuffy" for starters. However we wish eventually that this Newsletter becomes a bulletin board of what is hot, what is new and what our colleagues and patients want other colleagues and patients to hear.

Finally our congratulations go to Prof. S. Lee (President) Prof. D. Bang (General Secretary) and all others involved in the organisation of our 9th International Conference (Seoul, May 27-29, 2000) during which this Newsletter will be distributed for the first time.


International Society for Behçet's Disease (ISBD)

By Colin BARNES (U.K.)

The first international conference on Behçet's Disease (BD) was held in Rome, Italy in December 1964. However, the development of a regular series of International Conferences on BD can be attributed to Professor Nihat Dilsen who organised such a conference during the Istanbul Medical Convention in 1977. This was followed by similar conferences in Tokyo (1981), London (1985), Mayo Clinic (1989), Paris (1993), Tunis (1996) and Reggio Emilia, Italy (1998), and the forthcoming one in Seoul (May 2000). The increase in interest in BD is demonstrated by the progressive reduction of the interval between International Conferences from four to two yearly and also by the inauguration of the new ISBD in Seoul.

In Tokyo in 1981 an informal discussion led to the suggestion that an International Study Group for BD (ISGBD) should be formed which took place in London in 1985. This group has enlarged currently being 29 colleagues from 19 countries representing 7 medical specialities. The members of the ISGBD have remained in contact over the years largely through the International Conferences. However, as a result of the increasing interest and research activity in BD internationally there was a request for a substantial number of new members which lead to the decision that an ISBD, with a wide membership, should be formed. The aim of the new ISBD would the broad one "to extend and communicate knowledge about BD". Inter alia this is likely to include; continuation conferences; co-ordination of research activities on an international basis while also aiming to support the individual researcher; to promote the formation of specialist working groups; to produce a newsletter; to promote, acknowledge and support research in BD, good clinical practice, CMD and teaching activities in BD; and finally to represent the interests of BD to other professional, scientific, representative and international bodies.

In the following two years a constitution was drafted which, after discussion, was amended and agreed in Reggio Emilia in 1998. This led to the nomination of an interim Acting Secretary, Advisory Committee and Council the latter being the current ISGBD. They were given the tasks of inviting applications for membership, organising the election of the first officers and council, and organising the formal inauguration of the ISBD.

At the time of writing 133 applications for full membership have been received from 25 countries representing 16 medical specialities, and one for associate membership from a representative of a patient group. It has been arranged that elections for the positions of President, President-elect and Vice-President will be held at the forthcoming International Conference in Seoul in May 2000. It was agreed, in the drafting of the constitution, that the President should nominate the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer to facilitate communication. At the same meeting the first General Assembly of Members will be held at which the ISBD will be formally inaugurated, the election of officers will be confirmed, and the Council will be elected.

Therefore, it is hoped that from May 2000 the study, research activities, education and communication, awareness and management of BD will take a further step forward.

"The First International Convention For Patients With Silk Road Disease", 19-22 May, 2000 Yokohama, Japan

Another very important organisation for both research and patient care in BD will have taken place just before the 9th International Conference. It is being organised by the Yokohama City State University Medical School, Department of Ophthalmology in conjunction with the National Behçet's Syndrome Association of Japan. Executive director of this convention is Dr. T. Nishida, who works with Prof. S. Ohno.

Being the first of its kind the organisers are hoping that their attempt will provide a good platform for patients from many different parts of the world to discuss their problems both among themselves and with their physicians, suggest solutions and be informed about current BD research and management. The program includes formal lectures as well as many discussion groups and joint sightseeing.

The patient participation to this convention will be mostly sponsored and the main sponsors are the Research Foundation of Ocular Disease in the Elderly, Japan, Japanese Ministries of Welfare, Education and Foreign Affairs, Kanagawa Prefecture, Yokohama - City and the National Council of Social Welfare of Japan.

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