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עמוד בית
Tue, 18.06.24

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April 2024
Kassem Sharif MD, Adi Lahat MD, Yonatan Shneor Patt MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD, Mahmud Omar MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Omer Gendelman MD

Background: Ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) are chronic conditions with overlapping pathogenic mechanisms. The genetic predisposition and inflammatory pathways common to both diseases suggest a syndemic relationship. While some evidence points to a connection between the two conditions, other reports do not support this link.

Objectives: To investigate the association between AS and the subsequent incidence of IBD. To identify potential risk factors and effect modifiers that contribute to this relationship.

Methods: Utilizing the Chronic Disease Registry of Clalit Health Services, we conducted a retrospective cohort study of individuals diagnosed with AS between January 2002 and December 2018. We compared these patients with age- and sex-matched controls, excluding those with a prior diagnosis of IBD. Statistical analyses included chi-square and t-tests for demographic comparisons, and Cox proportional hazards models for evaluating the risk of IBD development, with adjustments for various co-morbidities and demographic factors.

Results: The study included 5825 AS patients and 28,356 controls. AS patients demonstrated a significantly higher incidence of IBD with hazard ratios of 6.09 for Crohn's disease and 2.31 for ulcerative colitis, after multivariate adjustment. The overall incidence of IBD in the AS cohort was significantly higher compared to controls.

Conclusions: AS patients exhibit a markedly increased risk of developing IBD. These findings advocate for heightened clinical vigilance for IBD symptoms in AS patients and suggest the need for a multidisciplinary approach to patient care. Further research into the shared pathogenic pathways is needed to develop personalized treatment strategies and improve patient management.

December 2023
Nitzan Maixner MD PhD, Yulian Weissbuch MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Zehavit Kirshenboim MD

Metastatic spinal cord compression (MSCC) is a medical emergency requiring rapid diagnosis and intervention to avoid irreversible neurological damage [1]. While MSCC is best diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), this modality is often limited and is usually preceded by a computed tomography (CT) scan of the spine.

September 2023
Adi Hertz MD, Scott Ehrenberg MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain syndrome primarily characterized by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment. Its etiology remains elusive despite ongoing research and has multifactorial elements. It has been shown that traumatic events and neuro-inflammation, autoimmunity, and genetic factors contribute to the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Recent evidence has pointed to a bi-directional link between cardiovascular disease, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and metabolic syndrome (MetS), together with the presence of fibromyalgia [1].

July 2023
Yonatan Shneor Patt MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD, Lior Fisher MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Abdulla Watad MD, Kassem Sharif MD

Background: Polymyositis (PM) and dermatomyositis (DM) are inflammatory mediated myopathies characterized by progressive symmetric proximal muscle weakness and associated with extra-muscular involvement. Central nervous system complications are rarely reported with these diseases.

Objectives: To investigate the association between dementia and PM/DM.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted using a database from Clalit Health Care, the largest health maintenance organization in Israel. Patients with a first recorded diagnosis of PM/DM were included and were compared with age- and sex-matched controls by a ratio of 1:5. The prevalence of dementia among PM/DM patients compared to controls was assessed using a univariate and a multivariable model. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted to assess the association of different factors with dementia within the PM/DM cohort.

Results: The study included 2085 PM/DM cases (17.0%) and 10,193 age- and sex-matched controls (83.0%). During the follow-up time, 36 PM/DM patients were diagnosed with dementia compared to 160 controls, with a univariate hazard ratio (HR) of 1.10 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.77–1.58). Within the PM/DM cohort, significant predictors for the development of dementia included increased age at diagnosis (5 years increment; OR 1.86, 95%CI 1.57–2.21, P < 0.001) and treatment with glucocorticoids (OR 5.40, 95%CI 1.67–17.67, P = 0.005).

Conclusions: In our cohort, inflammatory myopathies were not associated with dementia. Age and treatment with glucocorticoids were associated with dementia. If dementia is diagnosed in patients with inflammatory myopathies, other systemic causes should be investigated.

March 2023
Johnatan Nissan, Anna Blokh MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD MPH, Harald Heidecke PhD, Gilad Halpert PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is estimated to affect 2–4% of the general population. While FMS has some known environmental and genetic risk factors, the disorder has no clear etiology. A common coexisting disorder with FMS is small fiber neuropathy (SFN). High levels of serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) binding to trisulfated-heparin-disaccharide (TS-HDS) were recently found to be associated with SFN.

Objectives: To evaluate potential differences in anti-TS-HDS antibody titers in women with FMS compared to healthy controls.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated 51 female participants: 30 with a diagnosis of FMS and 21 healthy controls who had been recruited at the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. All of the participants were older than 18 years of age. Anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were measured in their sera using the enzyme immunoassay technique.

Results: The mean anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were significantly lower in the FMS group, compared with the control group (7.7 ± 5 vs. 13.2 ± 8.6 U/ml, respectively; P = 0.013).

Conclusions: There is a possible association between FMS and anti-TS-HDS IgM. This association might be the missing link for the coexistence of SFN and FMS, but further study should be performed to assess this association and this auto-antibody characteristic.

Yonatan Shneor Patt MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia is one of the most significant causes of chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain, heavily burdening both individual patients and the healthcare system. Hence, reducing the prevalence of the disorder is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the etiology and the exact risk factors leading to the development of fibromyalgia are not clearly known, making its prevention difficult and challenging. Nevertheless, there are numerous risk markers that are associated with an increased probability of the disease, such as obesity, psychological and physical stress, exposure to traumatic life events, certain infectious disorders, and co-morbid rheumatic and psychiatric disorders. It is reasonable to assume that targeting preventable risk markers may suppress consequent emergence of fibromyalgia, but studies investigating primary prevention on fibromyalgia are scarce. In this review, we examined several studies that discuss proven methods to prevent fibromyalgia, including maintenance of a normal body mass index, regular physical exercise, and psychological techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

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.

Rivka Sheinin MD, Ana Rita Nogueira MD, Nicola L. Bragazzi MD PhD, Abdulla Watad MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Tal Gonen MD, Kassem Sharif MD, Yehuda Kameri MD PhD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Daniela Amital MD MHA, Hofit Cohen MD

Background: Statin-induced myalgia is defined as muscle pain without elevation of serum creatine phosphokinase levels and is a well-known complaint among statin users. Chronic pain syndromes affect a high percentage of the population. These pain syndromes may confound the reports of statin-induced myalgia.

Objectives: To compare the occurrence of chronic pain among patients on statin therapy who developed myalgia with those who did not.

Methods: This study included 112 statin-treated patients, who were followed at the lipid center at Sheba Medical Center. Fifty-six patients had a diagnosis of statin-associated muscle symptoms (SAMS) and 56 did not. Verified questionnaires were used to assess the diagnoses of fibromyalgia, pain intensity, functional impairment, anxiety, and depression in the study population.

Results: Patients with statin myalgia were more likely to fulfil the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia than patients without statin myalgia (11 [19.6%] vs. 0, respectively). Patients in the SAMS group exhibited higher levels of anxiety and depression compared with the control group. Female sex, higher scores on the Brief Pain Inventory pain intensity scale, and a Hamilton rating scale level indicative of an anxiety disorder were found to be significant predictors for fibromyalgia in patients presenting with statin myalgia.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of patients diagnosed with statin myalgia fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia depression or anxiety disorder. Detection of these patients and treatment of their primary pain disorders or psychiatric illnesses has the potential to prevent unnecessary cessation of effective statin therapy.

Bar Pitaro Alter MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Omer Gendelman MD, Guy Shalom MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Arnon D. Cohen MD MPH, Daniela Amital MD MHA

Backgrounds: Behçet's disease (BD) is a chronic vasculitic multi-systemic disease of unknown etiology. BD is characterized by recurrent attacks of oral aphthae, genital ulcers, and uveitis. BD is a multisystemic disorder and as such it may provoke various psychiatric manifestations, including depression.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between BD and depression, adjusting for established risk factors for depression.

Methods: We executed a cross-sectional study based on the Clalit Health Services database, the largest healthcare organization in Israel, serving over 4.4 million members. For this study 873 BD patients were detected and matched with 4369 controls by age and sex.

Results: The rate of depression was higher among the BD patients compared with the control group (9.39% vs 5.49%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] 1.79, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.37–2.31, P < 0.001). An association between BD and depression was also observed on multivariable analysis (OR 1.83, 95%CI 1.39–2.39, P < 0.001). When stratifying the data, according to established risk factors, the association between BD and depression was prominent in the youngest age group (18–39 years of age), low and high socioeconomical status, and non-smokers.

Conclusions: Establishing the association between BD and depression should influence the attitude and the treatment of BD patients, as this relationship requires a more holistic approach and a multidisciplinary treatment regimen for all patient needs.

Adi Lichtenstein MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Doron Comaneshter MD, Arnon D. Cohen MD, Howard Amital MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness with associated neuropsychological symptoms such as fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Osteoporosis is defined as a reduction of bone density. Previous studies to determine an association of FMS with osteoporosis showed mixed results, partially due to small sample sizes and lack of statistical power.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of FMS with osteoporosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study utilizing the database from Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. FMS patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the association between osteoporosis and FMS. Spearman’s rho test was used for correlation.

Results: We utilized data from 14,296 FMS patients and 71,324 age- and sex-matched controls. Spearman's rho test showed a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis (correlation coefficient 0.55, P < 0.001). A logistic regression for osteoporosis showed an odds ratio [OR] of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.83–2.06, P < 0.001) for FMS compared to controls and found higher body mass index to be slight protective (OR 0.926, 95%CI 0.92–0.93, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis. Early detection of predisposing factors for osteoporosis in FMS patients and implementation of suitable treatments and prevention measures (such as dietary supplements, resistance or weight bearing exercise, and bone-mineral enhancing pharmacological therapy) may reduce both occurrence rate and severity of osteoporosis and its complications, such as fractures.

Lior Fisher MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Orly Goitein MD

Mesenteric venous thrombosis (MVT) refers to acute, subacute, or chronic thrombosis and occlusion of the mesenteric veins. MVT is an uncommon disorder, with an estimated incidence of is 2.7 per 100,000 patient-years. It accounts for 1 in 5000 to 15,000 inpatient admissions [1,2].

July 2022
Magdi Zoubi MD, Ashraf Hejly MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, and Naim Mahroum MD
June 2022
Shir Rubinstein Levy B Med Sc, Gilad Halpert PhD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Cannabis and cannabinoids have been known for thousands of years for their promising potential as analgesics. Chronic pain is a common complaint among many patients with rheumatic conditions. These disorders have revisited the medical approach toward cannabis and its potential role in pain relief. In addition, in recent years, information has mounted about the immunomodulatory effects of cannabis. In this review we discuss findings on the benefits cannabis may have in rheumatic and autoimmune disorders.

April 2022
Magdi Zoubi MD, Rivka Sheinin MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, and Naim Mahroum MD

Heart rate disorders and in particular sinus arrhythmias are known to accompany viral infections. Sinus tachycardia is prevalent in the presence of increased body temperature and respiratory rate. However, bradycardia has also been described for centuries to complicate viral illnesses

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