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עמוד בית
Thu, 09.02.23

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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

November 2021
Milena Tocut MD, Tima Davidson MD, Rebecca Leibu, Howard Amital MD MHA, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, and Ora Shovman MD
July 2021
Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Amitai Ziv MD MHA, and Howard Amital MD MHA
June 2021
Omer Gendelman MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Ora Shovman MD, Pnina Langevitz MD, Avishai M. Tsur MD MHA, Daniel Erez MD, Yair Levy MD, and Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (GPA) is a rare small vessel vasculitis. It usually involves the respiratory tract and kidney. Rarely, tumor-resembling inflammatory changes ensue.

Objectives: To report three unique cases of GPA presenting with tumor-like lesions in various organs.

Methods: We presented three cases of GPA. Case 1 presented with typical upper respiratory symptoms of GPA and a mediastinal mass. Case 2 presented with low back pain, a large retroperitoneal mass, and nodular skin lesions. Case 3 presented with epigastric pain and a paravertebral inflammatory mass.

Results: The patients were treated successfully with rituximab.

Conclusions: Clinicians should be aware of this presentation of granulomatosis with polyangiitis, which is known as Tumefaction Wegener’s granulomatosis

Naim Mahroum MD, Magdi Zoubi MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Josef Haik MD MPH, and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR

Surgical interventions in patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), in particular plastic procedures, might cause undesired consequences. Notably, liposuction seems to possess greater risk as adipose tissue has been shown to play an important role in treating wounds and ulcers in patients with SSc. While anticentromere antibodies were found to be correlated with vasculopathy in SSc, patients with SSc and anticentromere antibodies might be more vulnerable to surgical wound complications following liposuction. A 46-year-old female patient, who had been diagnosed with SSc at the age of 31 years, had antinuclear as well as anticentromere antibodies. She underwent abdominoplasty with liposuction and developed severe skin necrosis of the abdomen following the procedure and at the site of liposuction. The correlation with anticentromere and the role of liposuction in skin necrosis in SSc are presented.

January 2021
Mathilda Mandel MD, Michael Gurevich PhD, Michal Mandelboim PhD, Howard Amital MD, and Anat Achiron MD PhD

Background: During the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak our blood bank developed protocols to guarantee accurate blood components to COVID-19 patients.

Objectives: To provide convalescent whole blood donor screening strategies for patients recovering from COVID-19.

Methods: We recruited COVID-19 recovering patients who met our defined inclusion criteria for whole blood donation. All blood units were screened for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) RNA by real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and SARS-COV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies against the S1 domain.

Results: We screened 180 blood units from patients recovering from COVID-19. All results were negative for SARS-CoV-2 RNA and 87.2% were positive for SARS-COV-2 IgG antibodies in the plasma.

Conclusions: Blood component units from recovering COVID-19 patients are safe. Plasma units with positive IgG antibodies could serve as an efficient passive immunization for COVID-19 patients. Moreover, in the face of increased transfusion demand for treatment of anemia and coagulation dysfunction in critical ill COVID-19 patients, red blood cells units and random platelets units from convalescent donors can be safely transfused.

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