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Sjögren's Syndrome Clinic to open at Baylor College of Medicine

The Sjögren's Syndrome Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine will soon be open to patients living with the difficult to diagnose autoimmune disease.

The clinic, created by Dr. David Corry, professor and chief of the immunology, allergy and rheumatology section at BCM, and Dr. Stephen Pflugfelder, professor of ophthalmology at BCM, along with their colleagues, will take a multidisciplinary approach to help those living with the disorder.

Often misdiagnosed

"Sjögren's syndrome symptoms are similar to other diseases, so many times it is misdiagnosed," said Pflugfelder, who will also be director of the new clinic. "Each person who visits our clinic is evaluated by rheumatologists, dentists or oral medicine specialists and ophthalmologists who work together to properly diagnose, as well as create the most effective treatment plan for each person."

Symptoms

Sjögren's syndrome causes white blood cells to attack moisture-producing glands throughout thebody. Symptoms include dry or burning eyes, dry mouth, difficulty swallowing, peeling lips, increased dental decay and vaginal and skin dryness.

Patients frequently experience severe fatigue and joint pain and may have involvement of other organs, including the brain, lungs and digestive organs. Sjögren's can occur alone but more than half of cases occur along with other autoimmune connective tissuediseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or scleroderma.

"Those who are diagnosed with involvement of other organs from their autoimmune disorder will be referred to the appropriate specialist here at BCM," Pflugfelder said.

Dr. Tara Rizvi, professor of medicine – immunology, allergy and rheumatology at BCM, Dr. Nadia Mohyuddin, assistant professor of otolaryngology at BCM, as well as Dr. Charles Streckfus, professor at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Dentistry, make up the team of doctors at the new clinic. Corry will also be a part of the team.

They will not only treat patients but will also focus on clinical trials to discover new diagnostic measures and therapies.

Clinic location

The clinic, located at 1977 Butler Blvd. off Cambridge Street, on the McNair Campus of BCM, will open July 20. Physicians will see patients one day a month, with more days expected to be added as the need grows. For more information or to make an appointment, call (713) 798-SJOG (7564) or e-mail sjogrensclinic@bcm.edu.

Initial funding for the clinic was provided by Ms. Shani Corbière, who is the support group leader of the Sjögren's Syndrome Foundation's Houston chapter.