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עמוד בית
Thu, 02.02.23

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January 2023
Shoshana Amos MD, Hila Elinav MD, Elchanan Parnasa MD

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), first identified in 2019, constitutes a global major public health burden. Most of morbidity and mortality is derived by the severe inflammatory reaction (cytokine release syndrome) that ensues in later stages. Baricitinib, a selective JAK inhibitor primarily used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) [1], was shown to reduce mortality in COVID-19 hospitalized patients in combination with remdesivir [2].

December 2022
Tanya Ebert MD, Nimrod Goldschmid MD, Edmond Sabo MD, Efrat City-Elifaz MD

Background: School closures due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak affected students physically, socially, and psychologically with an increase in the number of children and adolescent presenting with anxiety, depression, and drug abuse.

Objectives: To examine the impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on the mental health of minors during the pandemic period and to characterize the type and number of referrals to a regional psychiatric outpatient clinic.

Methods: This study included 380 children evaluated in an outpatient child psychiatric clinic. They were divided into two groups: before the lockdowns (BLD) (n=248), from January 2019 to February 2020, and during the lockdowns (LD) (n=132), from March 2020 to April 2021.

Results: When comparing the LD to BLD, there was increase in suicide attempts (9.8% vs. 2.8%) and in the use of psychotherapy (81% vs. 56%). There was a decrease in the diagnoses of behavior disorders (29.5% vs. 44.8%) and ADHD (29.5% vs. 50%); as well as a decrease in stimulant usage (22.7% vs. 38%). There was a statistically non-significant increase in the number of children with depression, anxiety, and drug-use disorder.

Conclusions: Many children developed educational, social, emotional, and behavioral gaps during LD, and they lost skills to deal with everyday problems due to social isolation. It is important to follow the long-term impact of the lockdowns and social isolation.

November 2022
Howard Amital MD MHA and Avishay Elis MD

Internal medicine is no doubt one of the main pillars of modern medicine. For years it has been considered to be the basis and foundation of medical education and proper clinical service. During the recent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, internal medicine departments were recognized worldwide, and clearly in Israel, to be the true Corona Warriors that provided medical care to patients as well as support and comfort to families. Around the globe, the public applauded and appreciated the bravery of our medical staff, who without hesitation and under direct personal danger provided the best medical care possible despite the hardships of the time. The high personal price and even the heavy cost of staff member lives lost in offering medical care to the pubic did not stop our quest for ongoing medical research.

Maamoun Basheer PhD MD, Elias Saad MD, Faris Milhem MD, Dmitry Budman MD, Nimer Assy MD

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) affects different people in different ways. Most infected people develop mild to moderate illness and recover without hospitalization. This case report presents a patient who had difficulty eradicating the corona virus due to being treated with rituximab, which depletes B lymphocytes and therefore disables the production of neutralizing antibodies. The regen-COV-2 antibody cocktail consists of two monoclonal antibodies, casirivimab and imdevimab. This cocktail successfully helped the patient's immune system eradicate the virus without auto specific severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibody production. In vitro studies confirm that eradication of the intact the virus. This case report emphases the importance of providing external antiviral antibodies regularly, like the regen-COV-2 antibody cocktail, as post- and even pre- SARS-CoV-2 infection prophylaxis in patients treated with rituximab.

Izabella Elgardt MD, Or Carmi MD, Yair Levy MD

At the end of 2019, the world faced a new virus–coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)–which quickly became a pandemic. It has become clear that the COVID-19 virus can affect various body systems. Over time, we are finding more and more diverse manifestations of the course of the disease itself, its consequences, and complications. There have been several studies and reviews describing circulating antibodies in patients infected with COVID-19 (e.g., antinuclear antibodies [ANA], anti-cardiolipin, anti-B2 glycoprotein, perinuclear anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibodies [p-ANCA], cytoplasmic ANCA [c-ANCA]). The development of autoimmune disorders has been reported (e.g., Graves' disease, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), immune thrombocytopenia [ITP], diabetes mellitus [DM] type 1, psoriasis). There are descriptions of COVID-19 associated vasculitis include Kawasaki-like symptoms in children and immunoglobulin A (IgA) vasculitis in children and adults [1].

Michael Shapiro MD, Yarden Yavne MD, Daniel Shepshelovich MD

The ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to more than 200 million infected cases and 4.6 million deaths worldwide, and the numbers continue to grow. The disease presentation varies, and while most patients will present with a mild disease course, 5% will eventually develop significant respiratory failure, some despite initially presenting with mild symptoms. Early detection of patients at risk for deterioration is crucial for decisions regarding hospitalization, monitoring, timing, and extent of treatment.

Zvia Agur PhD

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has had a profound impact on our world and has cost millions their lives. It has disrupted economies and education systems and has taken away means of support from masses of people around the world. No wonder this pandemic is like a black hole, drawing in all resources and all expertise. In the scientific arena, the pandemic has created a tremendous opportunity for new and exciting synergies between different disciplines.

October 2022
Shaden Nashashibi, MD, Ofir Priesler, MD, Uriel Levinger, MD, George Habib, MD MPH

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in more than four million deaths globally. In addition to the lower respiratory system, a wide range of major organ injuries have been reported among patients infected with COVID-19. These injuries include cardiac involvement. The spectrum of cardiac manifestations includes cardiac injury, heart failure, cardiogenic shock, acute coronary syndrome, myocarditis, tachyarrhythmias, and bradyarrhythmia [1]. Different degrees of atrioventricular blocks have been reported [2].

The pathogenesis of these complications is not fully understood. Differentmechanisms are proposed, including direct myocyte injury, interstitial inflammation and fibrosis, cytokine storm, plaque destabilization, and and/or hypoxia [3]. Many countries have worked toward mass vaccination using the Pfizer BioNTech (BNT162b2) COVID-19 vaccine, including Israel. We report a case of high degree atrioventricular block (AVB) following vaccination with the COVID-19 BNT162b2 vaccine.

September 2022
Avi Benov MD MHA, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Noam Fink MD, and Elon Glassberg MD MHA MBA

War is as old as history. Some may say it is older. The first Biblical war, dated 1880–1875 BCE, is depicted in the book of Genesis between nine kings in the vicinity of the Jordan river near Jericho. By the end of the war, Abraham (Abram) gets involved in saving his nephew Lot.

In addition to war, military medicine also has its roots in historical times. Hippocrates (460–377 BCE), the father of medicine, derived his medical knowledge from the battlefield, and Sushruta [1], the father of plastic surgery, mentioned the physician's preventive role in noting environmental hazards: "A common practice of the enemy is to poison the wells on the roadside, the articles of food, the shades of trees, and the fuel and forage for cattle; hence, it is incumbent on a physician marching with the troops to inspect, examine, and purify these before using any of them, in case they are poisoned."

The Greeks stated new ideas of military health, pointing to fitness promotion, gymnastics, and healthy diets to prevent illness. Over the centuries, from Alexander the Great to Napoleon’s army and wars in the 20th century, military conflicts have led to the death of hundreds of millions of people from trauma and war-related disease. Amazingly analyses of the 18th and 19th centuries have shown that 80% of the soldiers died from disease, and historians and military personnel agree that during armed conflicts in known history, only a minority of soldiers perished by the sword.

In Israel, the Israel Defense Forces-Medical Corps (IDF-MC) holds a unique position embedded in military and civilian national medicine. All medical personnel (e.g., physicians, nurses, technicians, veterinarians) who work in the IDF-MC receive their diplomas from civilian universities, train in civilian hospitals, and continue to practice in the national health system. The majority of these professionals continue to work in different civilian medical platforms in Israel after finishing their mandatory service. The IDF-MC's primary mission is to provide optimal medical care to IDF soldiers at all times (including wartime), to prevent disease and promote health, advance military medicine, and aid the civilian sector as ordered by the Government of Israel.

In this special issue of Israel Medical Association Journal (IMAJ) is to expose readers to the continuous efforts of the IDF-MC to fulfill its mission by promoting research in multiple medical fields, including trauma, ambulatory care, health administration. In addition, in this issue of IMAJ, authors discuss the unique collaboration with the civilian system during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Trauma and trauma-related injuries are the main focus of military medical research. Ben-Avi and colleagues [2] described outcomes of emergent exploratory thoracotomies on military casualties and addresses parameters that may impact the survival of these casualties. Minervini [3] further discussed the issue. Bez et al. [4] researched the impact of isolated versus non-isolated traumatic brain injuries on injury identification and decision-making by care providers in austere scenarios. Tsur and co-authors [5] described the characteristics of a unique type of terror attack: vehicle ramming.

Additional examples of treatments provided in the military prehospital arena were analyzed by Nakar and colleagues [6] who discussed how to assess pain medications administered to trauma casualties in the past two decades by IDF-MC care providers. Rittblat et al. [7] further described the use of freeze-dried plasma, a blood component used in the prehospital arena and administered via intraosseous vascular access.

The IDF-MC is a continuously changing organization emphasizing the adoption of advanced technologies and devices. Chen et al. [8] presented a blinded study on the use of point-of-care ultrasound and remote telementored ultrasound by inexperienced operators, and Sorkin et al. [9] described the BladeShield 101: a novel device for the battlefield designed to continuously measure vital signs and medical treatment provided and to transfer data through roles of care.

In this special issue of IMAJ, authors also discusse gender-related aspects at the core of medical treatment. Segal et al. [10] examined whether missed injuries were related to the medical provider's gender, while Gelikas et al. [11] assessed whether treatment with analgesia was associated with casualty gender in the military prehospital trauma setting

Over the past two and a half years, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a significant part of our lives. During these years, medical systems and teams throughout Israel and around the world struggled to adapt to this new disease and save lives fighting the pandemic. Geva et al. [12] and Shental et al. [13] discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the IDF medical system, lessons learned during the outbreak, and effects of different diseases during these times on medical treatment provided by the IDF to soldiers.

Gil A. Geva MD, Maya Nitecki MD, Itay Ketko MSc, Itay Toledo BSc, Sagi A. Shpitzer MD, Avi Benov MD MHA, Noam Fink MD, and Ariel Furer MD MBA

Background: To mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), national guidelines, in accordance with international health authorities, mandated 14 days of quarantine for every close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 patient. Although health benefits are obvious, consequences are profound, especially for organizations required to maintain operational preparedness.

Objectives: To present the Israel Defense Force (IDF) experience with outbreaks regarding quarantined individuals. To weigh the consequences of quarantined individuals needed for workforce and operation.

Methods: All positive COVID-19 cases in the IDF, as measured by a positive rRT-PCR test result, between 29 February and 18 May 2020 were evaluated. Numbers of positive individuals, quarantined individuals, and confirmatory exams conducted were collected. We compared the events in four units with the largest outbreaks and assessed the impact of confirmed cases, tests conducted, and workforce loss due to quarantine.

Results: Of the 187 soldiers who tested positive for COVID-19, source of infection was traced to 140 soldiers (75%). Almost no medical treatment was delivered, and hospitalization was rare. We found a median of 15.2% (interquartile range 5.3–34) for decline in unit workforce due to quarantine measures. Maximum reduction reached 47% of the workforce in one unit.

Conclusions: Despite a relatively small number of confirmed cases, units underwent a substantial change in mode of operation due to the toll of quarantined individuals. In certain populations and organizations, perhaps a more liberal application of isolation and contact tracing is suitable due to the heavy economic burden and consequences in term of operational readiness.

Omri Shental MD MHA, Ilan Y. Mitchnik MD, Edward Barayev MD MHA, Lior Solomon MD, Liron Gershovitz MD, Shaul Gelikas MD MBA, Avi Benov MD MHA, and Yuval Ran MD MHA MPA

Background: Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to two nationwide lockdowns in Israel, reducing both supply and demand for medical services in the Israel Defense Force (IDF). IDF soldiers serve on bases within Israel, and most of them return home at the end of the day, similar to other armies in the world.

Objectives: To analyze the health services provided by the IDF with regard to policy changes during lockdowns.

Methods: We compared medical encounters between different services provided by the IDF Medical Corps. We related them to specific time periods: pre-first lockdown, first lockdown (and corresponding timeframes of the previous 3 years), between lockdowns, second lockdown, and post-second lockdown.

Results: Compared to past periods, we found a similar reduction of 27–30% in primary care medical encounter rates during the two lockdowns: 42–43% in sick days and 50–54% in referrals to the emergency department. Referral rates to all specialist medical encounters and elective surgeries decreased significantly during the first lockdown period and increased 1.2–3.5 times during the second lockdown.

Conclusions: A continuance of the shift to telehealth is required to withstand a future lockdown, with a full supply of secondary medical services attuned to core medical issues relevant for combat personnel. A liberal sick leave policy is required to eliminate unnecessary in-person visits, thus reducing the risk of infection.

July 2022
Abdulrahman Elsalti MD, Abdulkarim Alwani MD, Isa Seida MD, Mahmoud Alrais MD, Ravend Seida MD, Sevval Nil Esirgun MD, Tunahan Abali MD, Zeynep Kiyak MD, and Naim Mahroum MD
Carla Caffarelli MD PhD, Paolo Cameli MD, Miriana D’Alessandro MD, Elena Bargagli MD, Bruno Fredian MD, and Stefano Gonnelli MD

Background: Some studies have shown that patients who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19 also have low levels of vitamin D. It is known that vitamin D can reduce the risk of infections and down regulate the immune/inflammatory reaction.

Objectives: To investigate the association between vitamin D status and lymphocyte subpopulations in hospitalized pneumonia COVID-19 patients.

Methods: In 33 positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) patients with radiologic evidence of interstitial pneumonia and in 16 healthy control subjects matched for age, sex, and seasonality lymphocyte subpopulations and vitamin D levels were evaluated.

Results: The majority of patients with COVID-19 pneumonia (70.8%) presented vitamin D deficiency. The percentages of neutrophils presented a negative correlation (r = -0.74; P < 0.001), whereas the percentages of lymphocytes presented a positive correlation (r = 0.43; P < 0.01) with 25(OH)D. Moreover, vitamin D levels were positively correlated with CD3+ (r = 0.37, P < 0.05), CD4+ (r = 0.41, P < 0.05), CD8+ (r = 0.32, P < 0.07), and CD19+ (r = 0.38, P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This preliminary study confirms the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in patients with COVID-19 pneumonia and that vitamin D deficiency is associated with a reduction of lymphocyte subsets and altered T-lymphocyte activation. This finding may contribute to clarify the mechanisms by which vitamin D influences the course and outcome of COVID-19 pneumonia.

Ori Wand MD, David Dahan MD, Naveh Tov PhD, Gali Epstein Shochet PhD, Daniel A. King MD, and David Shitrit MD
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