Doctor's Diary: Is Hughes syndrome the new syphilis?

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Doctor's Diary: Is Hughes syndrome the new syphilis? Empty Doctor's Diary: Is Hughes syndrome the new syphilis?

Post by Tee on Wed May 30, 2012 7:59 am

An auto-immune condition that takes three years to be confirmed may be implicated in a variety of conditions.

Syphilis is now gratifyingly rare, but it can take up to three years to confirm the autoimmune disease,

By Dr James LeFanu7:30AM BST 28 May 2012

A century ago, the scourge of syphilis was known as the Great Dissimulator, because its devastating effect on the organs of the body could give rise to virtually every symptom in the medical textbook. Now, thanks to penicillin, it is gratifyingly rare and the baton of the Great Dissimulator has passed to another condition: Hughes syndrome, whose similarly protean symptoms were described for the first time 30 years ago by Prof Graham Hughes in a lecture to the British Society for Rheumatology.

This is an autoimmune condition, otherwise known as antiphospholipid syndrome, whereby the immune system attacks the phospholipids that are a major component of the clotting mechanisms of the blood. Since Prof Hughes’s original account it has been implicated as a cause of recurrent miscarriages, strokes and heart attacks as well as migraine, epilepsy, balance problems, memory loss, skin rashes, joint destruction and much else besides.

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