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עמוד בית
Wed, 19.06.24

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October 2003
N. Shimoni, M. Kaplan and S. Keidar

Background: Increased levels of high density lipoprotein (over 60 mg/dl) are considered to be a risk factor for ischemic heart disease. However, some patients with high HDL[1] still develop cardiovascular diseases.

Objective: To find out why patients with very high HDL still suffer from cardiovascular diseases.

Methods: We analyzed several risk factors, such as increased lipid peroxidation, hyperhomeocysteinemia and increased release of inflammatory molecules that could be related to the development of vascular disease in patients with high serum HDL levels. Patients with HDL cholesterol levels above 75 mg/dl were selected for this study and were separated into two groups based on the presence of atherosclerotic vascular disease, i.e., those with vascular disease (patients) and those without (controls).

Results: Plasma isolated from the patient group exhibited significantly increased lipid peroxidation by 21% and decreased total antioxidant status by 17%, but there were no differences regarding their serum or their paraoxonase activity. Moreover, both groups exhibited similar levels of serum C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and homocysteine, enabling us to eliminate these risk factors in the etiology of cardiovascular disease in the patient group.

Conclusion: Increased oxidative stress could be one of the factors leading to cardiovascular diseases in patients with high serum HDL levels.






[1] HDL = high density lipoprotein


Y. Shapiro, J. Shemer, A. Heymann, V. Shalev, N. Maharshak, G. Chodik, M.S. Green and E. Kokia

Background: Upper respiratory tract illnesses have been associated with an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

Objective: To assess the influence of vaccination against influenza on the risk of hospitalization in internal medicine and geriatric wards, and the risk of death from all causes during the 2000–2001 influenza season.

Methods: A historical cohort study was conducted using computerized general practitioner records on patients aged 65 years and above, members of “Maccabi Health Care Services” – the second largest health maintenance organization in Israel with 1.6 million members. The patients were divided into high and low risk groups corresponding to coexisting conditions, and were studied. Administrative and clinical data were used to evaluate outcomes.

Results: Of the 84,613 subjects in the cohort 42.8% were immunized. At baseline, vaccinated subjects were sicker and had higher rates of coexisting conditions than unvaccinated subjects. Vaccination against influenza was associated with a 30% reduction in hospitalization rates and 70% in mortality rates in the high risk group. The NNT (number needed to treat) measured to prevent one hospitalization was 53.2 (28.2 in the high risk group and 100.4 in the low risk group). When referring to length of hospitalization, one vaccine was needed to prevent 1 day of hospitalization among the high risk group. Analyses according to age and the presence or absence of major medical conditions at baseline revealed similar findings across all subgroups.

Conclusions: In the elderly, vaccination against influenza is associated with a reduction in both the total risk of hospitalization and in the risk of death from all causes during the influenza season. These findings compel the rationale to increase compliance with recommendations for annual influenza vaccination among the elderly.

September 2003
M. Dan, N. Kaneti, D. Levin, F. Poch and Z. Samra

Background: Vaginal symptoms are a leading reason for a patient to visit her gynecologist. Little is known about the prevalence of the different causes of vaginitis and the risk factors for this entity in Israel.

Objective: To determine the prevalence in a gynecologic practice in Israel of the main forms of vaginitis: vulvovaginal candidiasis, bacterial vaginosis, and trichomoniasis.

Methods: We evaluated 208 patients presenting with vaginal symptoms to a gynecologic clinic; 100 asymptomatic women who attended the clinic for routine check-up served as controls. Demographic, medical and gynecologic histories were obtained, and a pelvic examination was performed in all patients. Vaginal specimens were tested for pH and amine reaction, smeared for Gram-staining and cultured for yeasts and Trichomonas vaginalis. Bacterial vaginitis was diagnosed using the Nugent scoring system. candida infection was diagnosed by microscopic examination and by culture.

Results: Candida spp. was the most common pathogen, documented by microscopy and culture in 35.5% of symptomatic women and 15% of asymptomatic controls (P < 0.001). Detection by culture only (negative microscopy) was documented in 18.7% of symptomatic patients and 15% of controls (P = 0.5). Bacterial vaginosis (Nugent score ≥ 7) was diagnosed in 23.5% of patients and 13% of controls (P = 0.04). Trichomoniasis was present in 8.1% of symptomatic women and 4% of controls (P = 0.1). The main risk factors were antibiotic use for candidiasis and lack of use of oral contraception and condom use for trichomoniasis.

Conclusion: Candida was by far the most common pathogen detected in our population. A statistically significant difference between patients and controls was noted for the prevalence of microscopically diagnosed candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis.
 

D. Nitzan Kaluski and A. Leventhal

Only one case of a cow infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy has been reported in Israel. Its publication, in 2002, caused both public and professional concern. The inevitable health policy question raised was whether or not to recommend against consuming beef and what public health measures should be taken. In this article we describe the prion diseases among animals and humans, their interaction and the precautionary procedures that were carried out by the state Veterinary Services and the Ministry of Health since 1988. The BSE[1] case (a 10 year old dairy cow) is believed to be the result of local consumption of infected food with mammalian meat and bone meal more than a decade earlier. The risk assessment took into consideration that no cases of vCJD (a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) have ever been diagnosed in Israel, as well as the low risk of contamination of the meat due to the religious method of slaughtering performed in the country. The policy decision was to implement a contingency plan prepared in advance. Israel was reclassified from the level II category of geographic risk where BSE is unlikely but not excluded in the herds, to level III, where BSE is likely but not confirmed, or confirmed at a lower level. No undue damage to the meat industry has occurred. By the end of 2002, despite the examination of more than 3,800 brains from slaughtered cows older than 3 years, no other cases of BSE have been detected.

 







[1] BSE = bovine spongiform encephalopathy


August 2003
R. Djaldetti, N. Lev and E. Melamed

Progressive neurodegenerative disorders share common mechanisms of cell death, and in all likelihood multiple factors are involved in every disease. Therefore, several neuroprotective agents are being investigated with the purpose of slowing or preventing further deterioration of cell loss. These include experimental animal and clinical studies on the neuroprotective effects of caspase inhibitors, antioxitands, glutamate antagonists, anti-inflammatory agents and trophic factors in several neurodegenerative diseases. At present there is limited clinical evidence for direct neuroprotective effects against these diseases, but much effort is being invested in research on novel technologies and compounds.

July 2003
N. Levine, M. Mor and R. Ben-Hur

Background: Multiple sclerosis is a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system that presents with variable signs and symptoms. This variability in the clinical presentation may result in misdiagnosis, unnecessary referrals and misleading information to the patients.

Objectives: To identify the types of misdiagnoses made on the presentation of MS.

Methods: Fifty consecutive MS patients were questioned on their early symptoms, their mental status, the disease course until the diagnosis was confirmed, and the different diagnoses they received.

Results: The patients had been referred to 2.2 ± 1.3 specialists before seeing a neurologist, and learned about their disease 3.5 years after the onset of symptoms. Twenty-nine patients (58%) were initially given 41 wrong diagnoses. While the majority of women were misdiagnosed mentally, orthopedic work-up was offered to the men. Misdiagnosis of MS occurred most often in patients who presented with non-specific sensory symptoms that did not conform to a specific neurologic syndrome. The patients emphasized the fact that not knowing worsened their anxiety, whereas receiving the diagnosis enabled them to begin coping with their disease.

Conclusions: MS is often overlooked when patients present with non-specific sensory complaints. The difference in type of misdiagnosis between men and women may reflect a gender-dependent bias in the way physicians interpret sensory complaints.

June 2003
J. Zlotogora, A. Leventhal and Y. Amitai

Background: Infant mortality in Israel is twofold higher among non-Jews than Jews.

Objectives: To determine the impact of congenital malformations and Mendelian diseases on infant mortality.

Methods: We compared the causes of infant mortality in a 4 year period among Jewish and non-Jewish Israeli citizens. Classification was done by analyzing all the death reports according to whether or not the child had any known major malformation, Mendelian disease and/or a syndrome, irrespective of the immediate cause of death.

Results: The infant mortality among non-Jews was double that among Jews (9 versus 4.4 per 1,000 live births). The rate of children with malformations/genetic syndromes was 3.1 times higher among non-Jews than among Jews (2.94 vs. 1.25 per 1,000 live births). The most significant difference was in the rate of Mendelian diseases, which were 8.3 times more frequent in non-Jewish children (0.16 vs. 1.33 per 1,000 live births respectively). A Mendelian disease was diagnosed in almost 15% of the non-Jewish infants and in less than 5% of the Jewish infants.

Conclusions: The most striking difference between the Jewish and non-Jewish infants was the incidence of congenital malformations and Mendelian diseases parallel to the differences in the consanguinity rates between the two populations.
 

D. Lev, I. Binson, A.J.H. Foldes, N. Waternberg and T. Lerman-Sagie

Background: The osteoporosis-pseudoglioma syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive disorder characterized by severe juvenile-onset osteoporosis and congenital or early-onset blindness. Other manifestations include muscular hypotonia, ligamentous laxity, mild mental retardation and seizures. The gene responsible was recently identified to be the low density lipoprotein receptor-related family member LRP5 on chromosome 11q11-12.

Objective: To measure bone density in two siblings with the OPPG[1] syndrome as well as in their family members (parents and siblings).

Methods: Bone mineral density was determined in the lumbar spine (antero-posterior), femoral neck, two-thirds distal forearm (>95% cortical bone) and ultradistal forearm (predominantly trabecular bone) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.

Results: The studies revealed osteoporotic changes both in the patients and the carriers.

Conclusion: The findings demonstrate that OPPG carriers have reduced bone mass, which is a risk factor for development of early osteoporotic changes.

____________________________________


[1] OPPG = osteoporosis-pseudoglioma


R. Sidi, E. Levy-Nissanbaum, I. Kreiss and E. Pras

Background: Cystinuria is an autosomal recessive disease that is manifested by the development of kidney stones. Mutations in SLC3A1 cause type I disease, while mutations in SLC7A9 are associated with non-type I disease. In Israel cystinuria is especially common among Libyan Jews who suffer from non-type I disease.

Objectives: To compare clinical manifestations of patients with mutations in SLC3A1 to those with mutations in SLC7A9, and to assess the carrier rate among unaffected Libyan Jewish controls.

Methods: Clinical manifestations were evaluated in patients with mutations in SLC3A1 and in patients with mutations in SLC7A9. Carrier rates for two SLC7A9 mutations were assessed in 287 unaffected Libyan Jewish controls.

Results: Twelve patients with mutations in SLC3A1 were compared to 15 patients with mutations in SLC7A9. No differences were detected between the patients with mutations in SLC3A1 and those with mutations in SLC7A9 in relation to the age of disease onset, the estimated number of stones, the number of invasive procedures, the number of patients receiving drug therapy, or the patients’ urinary pH. Eleven of the unaffected Libyan Jewish controls were found heterozygotes for the V170M mutation, establishing a carrier rate of 1:25. The 1584+3 del AAGT mutation was not found in any of the Libyan Jewish controls.

Conclusion: Mutations in SLC3A1 and SLC7A9 cystinuria patients result in indistinguishable disease manifestations. The high carrier rate among Libyan Jews is a result of a single missense mutation, V170M.
 

May 2003
A. Lahad, V. Anshelevitz, M. Sonnenblick and T. Dwolatzky

Background: With the aging of the population and the increase in the number of elderly patients under the care of primary care physicians in the community, it is essential that the physician be aware of the preventive medicine recommendations for this group of patients. Accepted evidence-based guidelines have been developed for the older patient and adherence to these guidelines may play a significant role in decreasing morbidity and mortality in the elderly.

Objectives: To determine whether elderly patients in community clinics are aware of the preventive medicine practices that are relevant and available to them, and to assess which factors influence their decision to use such interventions. Of particular interest was to evaluate the role of the doctor-patient relationship on the degree of patient compliance with preventive procedures.

Methods: Patients attending community clinics of the Clalit Health Services in Jerusalem were interviewed. Background information was obtained and the patients were questioned regarding the use of the following preventive medicine recommendations: screening for occult blood in the stool, testing of vision and hearing, influenza and pneumococcal immunization, thyroid-stimulating hormone testing, digital rectal examination for prostate cancer, and calcium supplementation. The patients were questioned regarding the use of aspirin or oral anticoagulation where relevant. Factors influencing their level of compliance were examined.

Results: The study group comprised 205 patients with an average age of 74.5 years. Overall the rates of compliance were high, with 78% undergoing visual assessment, 87% fecal occult blood testing, and 81% influenza immunization. Pneumococcal immunization had been administered to 49% of those interviewed and 56% had their hearing tested. Digital rectal examination had been performed in 45% of patients. Calcium supplementation was used in 60% of patients. Almost all the patients (91–100%) noted that the physician had initiated the procedure and that non-compliance was due to patient preferences. Of the 172 patients who were assumed to benefit from aspirin use, 153 (89%) used the medication, and 87% of 23 patients with atrial fibrillation were on chronic anticoagulation.

Conclusions: A high level of compliance with preventive medicine recommendations was found among this group of elderly patients. The doctor-patient relationship had a positive effect on the patients' compliance.
 

April 2003
D. Nizan Kaluski, T.H. Tulchinsky, A. Haviv, Y. Averbicj. S. Rachmiel, E.B. Berry and A. Leventhal

Micronutrient deficiencies have reoccupied the center stage of public health policy with the realization that folic acid deficiency results in neural tube defects and possibly other birth defects as well as ischemic heart disease. These, in turn, have raised an older debate on food fortification policy for the elimination of iodine, iron and vitamin D deficiencies. Data from the First Israeli National Health and Nutrition Survey (MABAT 2000) provided an impetus to develop an active national nutrition policy aimed to improve the nutritional status of iodine, iron, vitamins A and D and B-vitamins, including folate. In this paper we examine some of the MND[1] issues in Israel and their implications for public health, and suggest options for the formulation of policy.






[1] MND = micronutrient deficiency



 
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