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Unlocking the mystery of lupus

Health Science Center to host free educational seminar for the public

San Antonio (May 21, 2003) — No one knows when it will strike or how hard it will hit — but lupus patients can learn the best ways to treat and manage their disease at a free symposium hosted by The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSC).

Lupus is an autoimmune disease affecting one in every 2,000 Americans. It occurs when the immune system begins to attack itself. Symptoms include severe arthritis, a skin rash, ulcers in the mouth and nose, hair loss, and brain dysfunctions such as depression, manic disorders, seizures and movement disorder.

The disease is 10 times more common in women than in men, and strikes Hispanic Americans three times more frequently than Caucasians. Currently, there is no known cause or cure. But there is help.

Robin Brey, M.D., a UTHSC neurology professor and internationally recognized lupus researcher, will address the public at "Unlocking the Mystery of Lupus," a free lupus awareness seminar sponsored by the Lupus Foundation of America and the Office of Women's Health, a division of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. "More than any other major disease, there is simply a lack of awareness and education about systemic lupus," Dr. Brey said. "Since it can be life threatening if not diagnosed and managed properly, education is the key. By learning as much as possible about lupus, patients can discover that living well with lupus is possible."

The symposium begins at 9 a.m. and runs to noon Saturday, June 7, in room 309L of the Health Science Center. Guest presenters will include Debra Aleman, M.D., a San Antonio rheumatologist and lupus patient; Andrea Tigner, Ph.D., a Nacogdoches psychologist and lupus patient; and Rogelio Cavasos-Garcia, M.D., a rheumatology fellow at the Health Science Center.

The seminar will target all lupus patients and define lupus symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options.

For more information or to pre-register, call the Lupus Foundation of America, South and Central Texas Chapter, (210) 651-9480, fax to (210) 767-8626 or e-mail lupusstx@sbcglobal.net. Those attending can also register at the symposium beginning at 8:30 a.m. For advance interviews with Drs. Brey or Cavasos-Garcia, please contact the Health Science Center Office of External Affairs.

Contact: Amanda Gallagher