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עמוד בית
Sun, 03.03.24

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October 2007
A. Shmueli and D. Tamir

Research findings have shown the protective effect of religiosity – among both Christians and Israeli Jews – in terms of morbidity and mortality. To explore the relationship between religiosity and health behavior as a possible explanation for these findings we conducted 3056 telephone interviews, representing the Israeli adult urban Jewish population. Health status, health behavior, frequency of medical checkups, and eating habits were measured. Logistic regressions were used to estimate the religiosity gradient on health behavior, controlling for other personal characteristics. We found a lower prevalence of stress and smoking among religious persons; we also found that religious women exercise less than secular women and that religious people – both men and women – are more obese than their secular counterparts. While no religiosity gradient was found with relation to the frequency of blood pressure, cholesterol and dental checkups, religious women are less likely to undergo breast examinations and mammography. Finally, religious people generally follow a healthier dietary regime, consuming less meat, dairy products and coffee, and much more fish. The lower smoking rates, lower levels of stress, and the healthier dietary regime are consistent with the previously shown longer life expectancy of religious people; however, obesity might become a risk factor in this community.

September 2007
O. Tamir, R. Peleg, J. Dreiher, T. Abu-Hammad, Y. Abu Rabia, M. Abu Rashid, A. Eisenberg, D. Sibersky, A. Kazanovich, E. Khalil, D. Vardy and P. Shvartzman

Background: Until three decades ago coronary heart disease and stroke were considered rare in the Israeli Bedouin population. Today, this population shows increasing high prevalence compared to the Jewish population.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of diagnosed cardiovascular risk factors among the Bedouin (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia), and to assess compliance with follow-up tests and drug treatment.

Methods: The study included all listed patients aged 20 years and older in eight clinics in major Bedouin towns, and in two large teaching clinics in Beer Sheva (Jewish population). Risk factor data were extracted from the clinics' computerized databases. For those diagnosed with hypertension, diabetes or dyslipidemia, drug purchasing data were collected from the pharmacy database to determine compliance with treatment, and from the central laboratory mainframe (HbA1c and low density lipoprotein-cholesterol) to evaluate follow-up and control.

Results: A significantly higher prevalence of diabetes in all age groups was found in the Bedouin population compared to the Jewish population; age-adjusted results show a prevalence of 12% vs. 8% respectively (P < 0.001). The prevalence of dyslipidemia and age-adjusted hypertension was lower among Bedouins (5.8% vs. 18.2%, P < 0.01 and 17% vs. 21%, P < 0.001 respectively). Two-thirds of hypertensive Bedouin patients and 72.9% of diabetic Bedouin patients were not compliant with treatment. For dyslipidemia only 10.4% of the Bedouins were compliant compared with 28.2% in the Jewish population (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Compliance with drug therapy and follow-up tests was found to be a major problem in the Bedouin population.

August 2007
Click on the icon on the upper right hand side for the article by Naomi Bar-Joseph, MSc, Gad Rennert, MD, Ada Tamir, PhD, Liora Ore, MD and Gad Bar-Joseph, MD. IMAJ 2007: 8: August: 603-606

Background: In the western world, trauma is the leading cause of disability and mortality in the 1–39 years age group. Road accidents constitute the most frequent cause of mortality among children older than 1 year and falls from a height are the most frequent cause of injuries requiring hospitalization.

Objectives: To analyze the epidemiology and characteristics of severe pediatric trauma due to falls from a height in northern Israel. This analysis should aid in planning an effective intervention plan.

Methods: This observational study included all patients aged 0–14 who died or were admitted to an intensive care unit in northern Israel following a steep fall. Demographic and clinical data were collected retrospectively for 3 years and prospectively for 1 year.

Results: A total of 188 children were severely injured or died following such a fall, with an annual rate of 11.4 per 100,000 children. Over 85% of severe injuries due to falls occurred among non-Jewish children, with an incidence rate 6.36 times higher than among Jewish children (20.17 and 3.17 per 100,000 children, respectively). In the non-Jewish sector 93.7% of the falls occurred at or around the child’s home, mainly from staircases, balconies and roofs.

Conclusions: A very high incidence of severe trauma due to domestic falls from a height was found among non-Jewish children in northern Israel. Domestic falls represent an important epidemiological problem in the non-Jewish pediatric sector, and an effective prevention plan should include measures to modify parents’ attitudes towards safety issues and the creation of a safe domestic environment.

February 2007
Y. Har Shai, I. Metanes, S. Badarny, P. Cuzin, T. Gil, S. Mayblum, B. Aman, D. Labbé
November 2006
R.R. Leker, R. Eichel, G. Rafaeli and T. Ben-Hur
 Acute ischemic stroke is one of the leading causes of mortality and chronic disability in the western world. Yet, despite the enormous socioeconomic burden that it imposes, therapies to combat AIS are not widely available. Moreover, revascularization of the ischemic tissue with tissue plasminogen activator, the only FDA-approved therapy for AIS[1], is hampered by a very narrow therapeutic time window and is only used in a minority of patients. Cerebral ischemia leads to brain damage caused by several pathologic mechanisms that can potentially be blocked by neuroprotective drugs that aim to salvage the ischemic penumbra. However, despite numerous clinical trials no single drug candidate has proved efficacious in AIS. The current situation clearly calls for novel therapeutic strategies to be used in acute ischemic stroke. This review surveys some of these novel and promising cutting edge therapies.

[1] AIS = acute ischemic stroke

September 2006
O. Tamir, M. Rabinovich and M. Shani

In Israel, updating of the National List of Health Services is performed on a yearly basis in a systematic and structured mechanism for almost a decade. The existence of such a mechanism is vital for keeping medicine up to date, since many innovative and breakthrough medical technologies continuously and frequently evolve. The 2006 update is unique in several aspects, relating both to the mechanism and to the decision-making process. In this article we describe notable issues that arose during the current process: modifications to the update mechanism, the four-phase increase in allocated resources to fund the addition of new medical technologies (including the addition of finances at the expense of the 2007 planned budget), and public funding for high-cost therapies. Finally, we discuss the impact of medical advances on healthcare costs and a suggested constant annual addition to the budget.

D. Chemtob, B. Damelin, N Bessudu-Manor, R. Hassman, Y. Amikam, J.M. Zenilman and D. Tamir

Background: Israel, as a country of immigration, has a heterogeneous distribution of risk for human immunodeficiency virus. Therefore, general population-based surveys of sexual behaviors among young adults may be useful for guiding prevention policy. To the best of our knowledge, the present survey is the first one among Israeli adults ever published.

Objectives: To survey knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding sexually transmitted infections in Israeli adults in order to target the future AIDS public campaigns for the general population.

Methods: A national sample of 800 individuals, aged 18–45, was interviewed telephonically in September 2000.

Results: The average number of sexual partners reported in the previous 3 months was 1.3. Accurate knowledge on HIV[1] transmission modes was expressed by 99% of respondents for unprotected sexual intercourse, 97% for re-use of needles and syringes, and 85% for mother-to-child infection. However, incorrect notions on transmission were also prevalent (34% for insect bites, 29% for kissing and 21% for public toilets). Prevention of STIs[2] and prevention of pregnancy were the most common reasons for using condoms (72–73%); HIV prevention was the motivation for 39%. Fifty percent of single individuals without steady partners always/usually used condoms. It was decided that women need empowerment to negotiate condom use.

Conclusions: Gaps were found between knowledge (at high level), attitudes (perceiving greater risk for others than themselves) and behavioral practices (combining low level of partner exchange with widespread disregard for safe sex). Promptly implemented, these findings will serve as a baseline for further surveys.

[1] HIV = human immunodeficiency virus

[2] STI = sexually transmitted infection

February 2006
T. Ben-Hur

Human embryonic stem cells may serve as a potentially endeless source of  transplantable cells to treat various neurologic disorders. Accumulating data have shown the therapeutic value of various neural precursor cell types in experimental models of neurologic diseases. Tailoring cell therapy for specific disorders requires the generation of cells that are committed to specific neural lineages. To this end, protocols have been developed recently for the derivation of dopaminergic neurons, spinal motor neurons and oligodendrocytes from hESC[1]. These protocols recapitulate normal development in culture conditions. However, a novel concept emerging from these studies is that the beneficial effect of transplanted stem cells is not only via cell replacement in damaged host tissue, but also by trophic and protective effects, as well as by an immunomodulatory effect that down-regulates detrimental brain inflammation.

[1] hESC = human embryonic stem cells

November 2005
O. Baron-Epel, A. Haviv, N. Garty, D. Tamir and M.S. Green
 Background: Increasing physical activity and thereby reducing a sedentary lifestyle can lower the risk of chronic diseases. Raising the population's involvement in physical activity is a major challenge for public health and healthcare services.

Objectives: To identify subpopulations with a sedentary lifestyle and low levels of adherence to physical activity recommendations.

Methods: The Israel Center for Disease Control performed two national surveys during 2002–2003, interviewing 7,307 Jewish Israelis and 1,826 Arab Israelis over age 21. Respondents were asked if they engaged in physical activity lasting at least 20 consecutive minutes, and if so how frequently: less than once a week, once or twice a week, nearly every day or every day.

Results: Arab respondents were less physically active than Jewish respondents after adjusting for gender, age, level of religiosity, marital status, education, self-reported health, smoking, body mass index, and type of survey. Multiple logistic regression analysis run separately for Jews and Arabs found a more sedentary lifestyle, in both groups, among women, the less educated, those who were married and those with poor subjective health. Among Jews, younger people, increased religiosity, smoking and high BMI[1] were associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Conclusions: The Jewish population is in need of more targeted and specific interventions for lower adhering subpopulations, such as women, the less educated and those with other risk factors. In the Arab population a more thorough understanding of the benefits of physical activity is needed; however, it seems that a general intervention is required to decrease the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle all round.


[1] BMI = body mass index

August 2005
E. Tamir, M. Heim and I. Siev-Ner
 Background: Neuropathic plantar ulceration of the foot is treated by de-loading the ulcer. The total contact cast is considered to be the gold standard, but it is a labor-intensive procedure and frequent cast changes are needed.

Objectives: To describe an alternative de-loading method using a fiberglass removable walking cast.

Methods: This prospective uncontrolled study comprised 24 diabetic and non-diabetic patients with a single planter neuropathic ulcer. Exclusion criteria included the presence of osteomyelitis or cellulites, peripheral vascular disease, severe foot or leg edema, more than one ulcer on the treated foot, ulcers on the other foot, visual problems, gait instability, and personality or psychiatric problems. All patients were treated with the removable fiberglass de-loading cast. At each weekly follow-up visit the cast was removed. Data were collected using a clinical report form.

Results: The ulcer healed completely in 21 of the 24 patients treated (87.5%). The mean time for healing was 6.8 weeks (range 3–20 weeks, SD = 4.2). New ulcers developed in six patients (25% of the group).

Conclusions: The effectiveness and safety of the method is comparable to that of the total contact cast, but is less labor intensive because the cast is manufactured only once and serves for the whole length of treatment. Improving the technique is expected to lower the complication rate.

October 2004
M. Korem, Z. Ackerman, Y. Sciaki-Tamir, G. Gino, S. Salameh-Giryes, S. Perlberg and S.N. Heyman
December 2003
E. Segal, A. Tamir and S. Ish-Shalom

Background: The treatment of osteoporosis among postmenopausal women represents a major public health challenge since long-term therapy is needed to prevent fractures and chronic disability.

Objectives: To assess compliance with osteoporosis drug therapy among Israeli postmenopausal women treated with either a bisphosphonate (alendronate) or a selective estrogen receptor modulator (raloxifene); to identify factors affecting compliance among these patients; and to compare adherence to the treatment in these two groups.

Methods: Our study included 178 consecutive patients aged 67.41 ± 8.52 years who were treated for osteoporosis with alendronate or raloxifene in the Metabolic Bone Diseases Unit. All the patients received supplement with calcium carbonate 1,500 mg and 600 IU vitamin D daily. Compliance was assessed at a clinic visit 6 months after starting therapy.

Results: The dropout rate was 23% (41 patients): 20 patients (31%) in the raloxifene group and 21 (18%) in the alendronate group (P = 0.0041). The main reasons for dropout were side effects and/or non-compliance, 16 and 24 patients (39% and 58.53%), respectively. The most frequent side effect was abdominal pain in 9 patients (42.8%) who discontinued alendronate use. The reasons for non-compliance were a fear of side effects and high drug price in 6 (30%) and 4 (20%) patients respectively in the raloxifene group, and inconvenience caused by medication use in 3 (14.3%) patients in the alendronate group. Logistic regression analysis of factors that may influence compliance included age, previous fractures, family history of osteoporosis, bone density T-score less than -2.5, and presence and number of concomitant diseases. Age was the only statistically significant parameter in this model: 67.8 ± 8.8 in non-compliant versus 64.11 ± 7.4 in compliant patients (P = 0.029).

Conclusion: At least 20% of the patients discontinued chronic treatment for osteoporosis during the initial 6 months of therapy. The main reasons were gastrointestinal side effects in the alendronate group, and fear of side effects and high drug price in the raloxifene group. Older age was the only statistically significant factor influencing compliance.

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