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עמוד בית
Fri, 01.03.24

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December 2023
Moshe Salai MD, Yoram Sandhaus MD, Ahuva Golik MD, Naomi Rahimi-Levene MD, Hana Castel MD, Zachi Grossman MD, Avinoam Tzabari MD, Eitan Lunenfeld MD, Shai Ashkenazi MD, Talma Kushnir PhD

The ancient, Biblical, holy Ten Commandments were presented to humanity to serve as guidelines for relationships between individuals and the deity they worship as well as a benchmark for living in civilized communities, irrespective of religious affiliation. The commandments are also embedded in medical education taught to medical students and other health professions throughout the world. Thus, the Ten Commandments are embedded in the medical communications curriculum at Adelson School of Medicine, Ariel University, Ariel, Israel. Unfortunately, most of these commandments were desecrated during the violent, hostile, merciless, and ruthless attack inflicted by the Hamas terror organization on villages, rural communities, and cities in southern Israel on 7 October 2023. We define the Ten Commandments in terms of medical education and describe their desecration by Hamas terrorists before and during the Iron Swords war.

July 2023
Mikhal E. Cohen MD PhD, Roni Eichel MD, Gustavo Rajz MD, Gilad Yahalom MD

Background: Little is known about phenotypical variations among ethnic groups in patients with Parkinson's disease (PD) in Israel. Clinical characteristics of non-Ashkenazi Jews (NAJ) are scantly described.

Objectives: To describe clinical aspects of PD in ethnic groups in Israel, focusing on NAJ and Ashkenazi Jews (AJ).

Methods: In this cross-sectional retrospective study, we collected demographic, genetic, and clinical characteristics of patients from different ethnic Jewish backgrounds. Ethnic groups included AJ; North African Jews (NAFJ); oriental Jews (OJ) originating from Iran, Iraq, and Buchara; Balkan Jews; Yemenite Jews (YJ); and Jews of mixed origin. Clinical characteristics included hyposmia, urinary complaints, constipation, and rapid eye movement sleep behavioral disorder. Cognitive complaints, motor features, levodopa-induced dyskinesia, and motor fluctuations were collected. Motor part of the MDS-UPDRS and Hoehn and Yahr scores were collected.

Results: The study comprised 174 PD Jewish patients (63.2% AJ, 56.4% males). The age at onset was 65.3 ± 10.2 years; 106 patients (60.9%) were genotyped (17 glucocerebrosidase [16.0%], 13 leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 [LRRK2] [12.3%]). Rates of hyposmia were significantly higher in AJ than NAJ (56.6% vs. 39.5%, respectively, P = 0.003). No significant differences were found in motor features in all variables. Of 13 AJ patients carrying the LRRK2 mutation, only one had hyposmia. Three patients with LRRK2 were NAJ.

Conclusions: Hyposmia is less prevalent in PD patients of NAJ origin than in AJ. The rate of hyposmia in NAFJ patients is particularly low. The rate of other non-motor features is similar between NAJ and AJ patients.

June 2023
Jonathan D. Cohen MBBCh FCP (SA), Tomer Kaplan BEMS MPH, Tammy Fink RN, Kyrill Grozovsky RN, Refael Strugo MD, Ilya Kagan MD, Tamar Ashkenazi RN PhD

Background: A limited program for kidney donation from uncontrolled donation after cardiocirculatory determination of death (uDCDD) was implemented at four hospitals in Israel in close cooperation with Magen David Adom (MDA), the national emergency medical service.

Objectives: To assess the outcome of transplantations performed between January 2017 and June 2022.

Methods: Donor data included age, sex, and cause of death. Recipient data included age, sex, and yearly serum creatinine levels. A retrospective study of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest cases treated by MDA during 2021 were analyzed to assess their compatibility as potential uDCDD donors.

Results: In total, 49 potential donors were referred to hospitals by MDA. Consent was obtained in 40 cases (83%), organ retrieval was performed in 28 cases, and 40 kidneys were transplanted from 21 donors (75% retrieval rate). At 1-year follow-up, 36 recipients had a functioning graft (4 returned to dialysis) and mean serum creatinine 1.59 ± 0.92 mg% (90% graft survival). Outcome after transplantation showed serum creatinine levels (mg%) at 2 years 1.41 ± 0.83, n=26; 3 years 1.48 ± 0.99, n=16; 4 years 1.07 ± 1.06, n=7; and 5 years 1.12 ± 0.31, n=5. One patient died of multiple myeloma at 3 years. The MDA audit revealed an unutilized pool of 125 potential cases, 90 of whom were transported to hospitals and 35 were declared dead at the scene.

Conclusions: Transplant outcomes were encouraging, suggesting that more intensive implementation of the program may increase the number of kidneys transplanted, thus shortening recipient waiting lists.

February 2023
Shai Ashkenazi MD

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), impacted global health, human behavior, economics, and even politics. Two years after the start of the pandemic, the scientific community was still learning about COVID-19 infections. One of the major lessons was the association between SARS-CoV-2 and diverse autoimmune manifestations, including multiple autoantibodies and various autoimmune diseases that developed in COVID-19 patients.

August 2022
Jonathan D. Cohen MBBCh FCP (SA), Eyal Katvan PhD LLM LLB, and Tamar Ashkenazi PhD RN

Background: Changes accommodating requirements of religious authorities in Israel resulted in the Brain and Respiratory Death Determination Law (BRDDL), which came into effect in 2009. These included considering patient wishes regarding the brain respiratory death determination (BRDD), mandatory performance of apnea and ancillary testing, establishment of an accreditation committee, and accreditation required for physicians performing BRDD.

Objectives: To assess the impact of the legislation from 2010–2019.

Methods: Data collected included the number of formal BRDDs and accredited physicians. Obstacles to declaring brain death and interventions applied were identified.

Results: Obstacles included lack of trained physicians to perform BRDD and interpret ancillary test results, inability to perform apnea or ancillary testing, and non-approach to next-of-kin objecting to BRDD. Interventions included physician training courses, additional ancillary test options, and legal interpretation of patient wishes for non-determination of BRD. As a result, the number of non-determinations related to next-of-kin objecting decreased (26 in 2010 to 5 in 2019), inability to perform apnea or ancillary testing decreased (33 in 2010 to 2 in 2019), and number of physicians receiving accreditation increased (210 in 2010 to 456 in 2019). Last, the consent rate for organ donation increased from 49% to 60% in 2019.

Conclusions: The initial decrease in BRDDs has reversed, thus enabling more approaches for organ donation. The increased consent rate may reflect in part the support of the rabbinate and confidence of the general public that BRDD is performed and monitored according to strict criteria.

June 2022
Shai Ashkenazi MD

The development of antibiotic agents has revolutionized the treatment of infectious diseases and clinical practice. However, antibiotic overuse, together with biologic evolution, has resulted in escalating antibiotic resistance of bacteria; with the One Health concept, it affects our planet including animals, aquatic wildlife, rivers, groundwater, lakes, sea water, aqua farming, and soil. This situation threatens our ability to treat infections effectively in the near future and raises the alarming question of whether we are getting close to the post-antibiotic era. Several measures are suggested to prevent the apocalyptic consequence of antibiotic overuse, few of which are novel with thinking outside the box.

May 2022
Yehuda Hershkovitz MD, Oded Zmora MD, Hilli Nativ MD, Itamar Ashkenazi MD, Jonathan Hammerschlag MD, and Igor Jeroukhimov MD

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a significant impact on healthcare systems worldwide. The fear of seeking medical attention to avoid the possibility of being infected may have altered the course of some diseases.

Objectives: To describe our experience with the management of patients with acute cholecystitis during the pandemic at our medical center.

Methods: We compared patients treated for acute cholecystitis between 1 March and 31 August 2020 (Group I) to patients admitted with the same diagnosis during the same months in 2019 (Group II). We evaluated demographics, presenting symptoms, laboratory and imaging findings at presentation, the disease's clinical course, management, and outcome.

Results: Group I consisted of 101 patients and group II included 94 patients. No differences were noted for age (66 years, IQR 48–78 vs. 66 years, IQR 47–76; P = 0.50) and sex (57.4% vs. 51.1% females; P = 0.39) between the two groups. The delay between symptom onset and hospital admission was longer for Group I patients (3 days, IQR 2–7 vs. 2 days, IQR 1–3; P = 0.002). Moderate to severe disease was more commonly encountered in Group I (59.4% vs. 37.2%, P = 0.003). Group I patients more often failed conservative management (36% vs. 6%, P = 0.001) and had a higher conversion rate to open surgery (15.4% vs. 0%, P = 0.025).

Conclusions: Patients presenting with acute cholecystitis during the COVID-19 pandemic more often presented late to the emergency department and more showed adverse outcomes

Moshe Ashkenazi MD MBA, Eyal Zimlichman MD, Noa Zamstein PhD, Galia Rahav MD, Reut Kassif Lerner MD, Yael Haviv MD, and Itai M. Pessach MD PhD MPH

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic resulted in repeated surges of patients, sometimes challenging triage protocols and appropriate control of patient flow. Available models, such as the National Early Warning Score (NEWS), have shown significant limitations. Still, they are used by some centers to triage COVID-19 patients due to the lack of better tools.

Objectives: To establish a practical and automated triage tool based on readily available clinical data to rapidly determine a distinction between patients who are prone to respiratory failure.

Methods: The electronic medical records of COVID-19 patients admitted to the Sheba Medical Center March–April 2020 were analyzed. Population data extraction and exploration were conducted using a MDClone (Israel) big data platform. Patients were divided into three groups: non-intubated, intubated within 24 hours, and intubated after 24 hours. The NEWS and our model where applied to all three groups and a best fit prediction model for the prediction of respiratory failure was established.

Results: The cohort included 385 patients, 42 of whom were eventually intubated, 15 within 24 hours or less. The NEWS score was significantly lower for the non-intubated patients compared to the two other groups. Our improved model, which included NEWS elements combined with other clinical data elements, showed significantly better performance. The model's receiver operating characteristic curve had area under curve (AUC) of 0.92 with of sensitivity 0.81, specificity 0.89, and negative predictive value (NPV) 98.4% compared to AUC of 0.63 with NEWS. As patients deteriorate and require further support with supplemental O2, the need for re-triage emerges. Our model was able to identify those patients on supplementary O2 prone to respiratory failure with an AUC of 0.86 sensitivity 0.95, and specificity 0.7 NPV 98.9%, whereas NEWS had an AUC of 0.76. For both groups positive predictive value was approximately 35%.

Conclusions: Our model, based on readily available and simple clinical parameters, showed an excellent ability to predict negative outcome among patients with COVID-19 and therefore might be used as an initial screening tool for patient triage in emergency departments and other COVID-19 specific areas of the hospital.

November 2021
Miki Paker MD, Tal Goldman MD, Muhamed Masalha MD, Lev Shlizerman MD, Salim Mazzawi MD, Dror Ashkenazi MD, and Rami Ghanayim MD

Background: The 2015 American Thyroid Association (ATA2015) and the American College of Radiology Thyroid Imaging and Reporting Data System (ACR TI-RADS) are two widely used thyroid sonographic systems.

Objectives: To compare the two systems for accuracy of cancer risk prediction.

Methods: Preoperative ultrasound images from 265 patients who underwent thyroidectomy at our hospital from January 2012 to March 2019 were retrospectively categorized by the ACR TI-RADS and ATA2015 systems. Diagnostic performances were compared.

Results: Of 238 nodules assessed, 115 were malignant. Malignancy risks for the five ACR TI-RADS categories were 0%, 7.5%, 11.4%, 59.6%, and 90.0%. Malignancy risks for the five ATA2015 categories were 0%, 6.8%, 17.0%, 55.5%, and 92.1%. The proportion of total nodules biopsied was higher with the ATA2015 system than the ACR TI-RADS system: 88.7% vs. 66.3%. Proportions of malignant nodules and benign nodules biopsied were higher with ATA2015 than with ACR TI-RADS: 93.3% vs. 87.8% and 84.4% vs. 46.3%, respectively. Specificity and sensitivity rates were 53.6% and 84.3%, respectively, for ACR TI-RADS, and 15.5% and 93.3%, respectively, for ATA2015. The two systems showed similarly accurate diagnostic performance (AUC > 0.88). False negative rates for ACR TI-RADS and ATA2015 were 15.6% and 6.6%, respectively. Rates of missed aggressive cancer were similar for the two systems: 3.4% and 3.7%, respectively.

Conclusion: ACR TI-RADS was superior to ATA2015 in specificity and avoiding unnecessary biopsies. ATA2015 yielded better sensitivity and a lower false negative rate. Identification of aggressive cancers was identical in the two systems

December 2020
Daphna Vilozni PhD, Adi Dagan MD, Ifat Sarouk MD, Bat-El Bar-Aluma MD, Moshe Ashkenazi MD, Yael Bezalel MD, and Ori Efrati MD

Background: The single-breath diffusing capacity of the lungs (DLCOSB) test measures the extent to which carbon monoxide (CO) passes from the lung air sacs into the blood. The accessible alveolar volume (VASB) is measured by inert gas during a 10-second period. The single-breath transfer coefficient of the lung for carbon monoxide (KCOSB) is the DLCOSB divided by VASB. Cystic fibrosis (CF) disease comprises progressive airway obstruction with bronchiectasis and parenchyma fibrosis. Yet, the KCOSB appears insignificant in the assessment of pulmonary function in CF.

Objectives: To challenge the precision of normal KCOSB in CF.

Methods: The authors collected pulmonary function tests (PFT) data from 74 confirmed CF patients (mean age 26 ± 10 years) with various levels of pulmonary disease severity. Tests included spirometry, DLCOBP, and body plethysmography (BP). Anatomical dead space was calculated by deducting anatomical dead space from total lung capacity TLC(BP) to establish alveolar volume (VABP) and to determine KCOBP. We also included individual data of arterial pCO2 blood-gas level.  

Results: KCOSB values were normal or higher in most patients, regardless of patient FEV1 value (R2 = 0.2204; P < 0.02). In contrast, the measurements of KCOBP were low corresponding with low FEV1 values, and negatively correlated with the elevation of trapped air and pCO2 levels (R2 = 0.1383; P = 0.0133, P > 0.05, respectively).

Conclusions: The 10- second perfusion time of the inert gas during DLCOSB represent the communicative alveolar volume in CF patients with advanced pulmonary disease. The findings justify the use of DLCOSB with the deterioration of FEV1 and elevation of pCO2 levels.

August 2020
Yoram Sandhaus MD, Talma Kushnir PhD and Shai Ashkenazi MD

Background: Social distancing, implemented to decrease the spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), forced major changes in medical practices, including an abrupt transition from face-to-face to remote patient care. Pre-clinical medical studies were concomitantly switched to electronic distance learning.

Objectives: To explore potential implications of COVID-19 on future pre-clinical medical studies.

Methods: We examined responses of pre-clinical medical students to the remote electronic learning in terms of quality of and satisfaction with teaching and technical support, attendance to classes, and the desire to continue electronic learning in the post-epidemic era. A survey of responses from first-year students at the Adelson School of Medicine was conducted. To optimize the reliability of the survey, a single research assistant conducted telephone interviews with each student, using a structured questionnaire concerning aspects of participation and satisfaction with teaching and with technical components of the remote electronic learning.

Results: With 100% response rate, the students reported high satisfaction with the electronic learning regarding its quality, online interactions, instructions given, technical assistance, and availability of recording for future studies. Most of the students (68.6%) noted a preference to continue < 90% of the learning online in the post-outbreak era. A high level of overall satisfaction and a low rate of technical problems during electronic learning were significantly correlated with the desire to continue online learning (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: The high satisfaction and the positive experience with the electronic distance learning imposed by the COVID-19 epidemic implied a successful transition and might induce future changes in pre-clinical medical studies.

May 2020
Michal Natan PhD, Gila Jacobi, Ehud Banin PhD and Shai Ashkenazi MD MSc

Background: Although indwelling catheters are increasingly used in modern medicine, they can be a source of microbial contamination and hard-to-treat biofilms, which jeopardize patient lives. At times 70% ethanol is used as a catheter-lock solution due to its bactericidal properties. However, high concentrations of ethanol can result in adverse effects and in malfunction of the catheters.

Objective: To determine whether low concentrations of ethanol can prevent and treat biofilms of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Methods: Ethanol was tested at a concentration range of 0.625–80% against laboratory and clinical isolates of P. aeruginosa for various time periods (2–48 hours). The following parameters were evaluated following ethanol exposure: prevention of biofilm formation, reduction of biofilm metabolic activity, and inhibition of biofilm regrowth.

Results: Exposing P. aeruginosa to twofold ethanol gradients demonstrated a significant biofilm inhibition at concentrations as low as 2.5%. Treating pre-formed biofilms of P. aeruginosa with 20% ethanol for 4 hours caused a sharp decay in the metabolic activity of both the laboratory and clinical P. aeruginosa isolates. In addition, treating mature biofilms with 20% ethanol prevented the regrowth of bacteria encased within it.

Conclusions: Low ethanol concentrations (2.5%) can prevent in vitro biofilm formation of P. aeruginosa. Treatment of previously formed biofilms can be achieved using 20% ethanol, thereby keeping the catheters intact and avoiding complications that can result from high ethanol concentrations.

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