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עמוד בית
Tue, 04.10.22

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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.

October 2020
Khalaf Kridin MD, Mouhammad Kridin MD, Howard Amital MD, Abdulla Watad MD and Mogher Khamaisi MD

Background: The reported mortality rates of patients with polymyositis and dermatomyositis are highly variable worldwide. The excess mortality of patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis has not been evaluated in an Israeli population.

Objectives: To investigate the overall mortality in a large and well-established cohort of patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis as compared to the mortality expected in the matched general population in a tertiary medical center.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, the mortality of 166 patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis was compared to age- and sex-matched control subjects in the general population. All-cause standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) were estimated.

Results: Overall, 47 (28.3%) deaths were observed among patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis during a mean follow-up period of 5.8 ± 4.8 years, which was 7 times higher than in the control group (SMR 7.4, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 5.5–9.8). The SMRs were comparable in patents with polymyositis (7.7, 95%CI 4.8–12.3) and dermatomyositis (7.2, 95%CI 5.0–10.3). The 1-, 5-, 10-, and 15-year overall survival rates were 90.0%, 82.8%, 51.5%, and 26.1%, respectively, in patients with polymyositis, and 80.3%, 59.6%, 40.0%, and 17.1%, respectively, in patients with dermatomyositis.

Conclusions: The overall mortality among Israeli patients with polymyositis/dermatomyositis is 7.4 times greater than for the general population. Although long-term mortality was comparable between patients with dermatomyositis and polymyositis, patients in the former group died at a notably earlier stage.

September 2020
Pnina Langevitz MD, Merav Lidar MD, Itzhak Rosner MD, Joy Feld MD, Moshe Tishler MD, Howard Amital MD, Suhail Aamar MD, Ori Elkayam MD, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD, Dror Mevorach MD, Oded Kimhi MD, Yair Molad MD, Ana Kuperman MD and Sharon Ehrlich MD

Background: Tocilizumab is an interleukin 6 (IL-6) receptor antagonist used treat moderate to severe active rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both intravenous (IV) and subcutaneous (SC) routes are approved for the treatment of adults with RA.

Objectives: To evaluate SC tocilizumab in a real-life clinical setting.

Methods: Our study was a multi-center, open-label, single-arm study. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of active RA, previously treated with disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with or without biologic agents. Participants received a weekly SC injection of tocilizumab 162 mg as monotherapy or in combination with methotrexate or DMARDs for 24 weeks. Efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity were assessed.

Results: Treatment of 100 patients over 24 weeks resulted in improvement in all efficacy parameters assessed: Clinical Disease Activity Index, Disease Activity Score using 28 joint counts and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, American College of Rheumatology response scores, Simplified Disease Activity Index, tender and swollen joint counts, and patient-reported outcomes including fatigue, global assessment of disease activity, pain, and Health Assessment Quality of Life Disease Index. Improvement was achieved as early as the second week of treatment. There were 473 adverse events (AEs)/100 patient-years (PY) and 16.66 serious AEs/100 PY. The most common AEs were neutropenia (12%), leukopenia (11%), and increased hepatic enzymes (11%). Of a total of 42 PY, the rates of serious infections and AEs leading to discontinuation were 4.8, and 11.9 events/100 PY, respectively.

Conclusions: The safety, tolerability, and efficacy profile of tocilizumab SC were comparable to those reported in other studies evaluating the IV and SC routes of administration.

 

Polina Kagan DMD MSc, Gilad Halpert PhD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Reuven Shapira DMD and Yehuda Shoenfeld MD, FRCP, MaACR
August 2020
Shani Dahan MD, Gad Segal MD, Itai Katz MD, Tamer Hellou MD, Michal Tietel MD, Gabriel Bryk MD, Howard Amital MD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR and Amir Dagan MD

Background: Ferritin, the cellular protein storage for iron, has emerged as a key molecule in the immune system, orchestrating the cellular defense against inflammation. At the end of 2019, the novel severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) rapidly spread throughout China and other countries around the world, resulting in a viral pandemic.

Objectives: To evaluate the correlation between ferritin and disease severity in coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19).

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we obtained clinical and laboratory data regarding 39 hospitalized patients with confirmed COVID-19 from two hospitals in Israel.

Results: A significant increase in ferritin levels was demonstrated in patients with moderate and severe disease, compared to patients with mild disease (P = 0.006 and 0.005, respectively). Severe patients had significantly higher levels of ferritin (2817.6 ng/ml) than non-severe patients (708.6 ng/ml) P = 0.02.

Conclusions: In this preliminary cross-sectional study, elevated ferritin levels were shown to correlate with disease severity in 39 patients from Israel with confirmed COVID-19 infection. Our results further strengthen the hypothesis that severe COVID-19 disease might be due to an underlying dysregulated hyperimmune response. In order to identify these patients early and prioritized resources, we believe that all patients with COVID-19 should be screened for hyperferritinemia.

July 2020
Maytal Ben-Yosef, Galia Tanai, Dan Buskila MD, Daniela Amital MD MHA and Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia is a common pain syndrome treated by physicians of many disciplines and presents with many co-morbidities. We reviewed the complexities in assessing disabilities in fibromyalgia patients and the complex interrelationships between patients, their working places, and  the medical community regarding preserving productivity. Flexibility is essential to keep the patients functional and productive. Job loss is costly to both society and patients and joint measures are needed to prevent unemployment.

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