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עמוד בית
Sun, 14.07.24

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September 2010
I. Fuchs, M. Abu-Shakra, E. Gelfer, A. Smoliakov, D. Ben-Haroch, J. Horowitz and L.S. Avnon
August 2009
J. Freire de Carvalho, A.C. de Medeiros Ribeiro, J.C. Bertacini de Moraes, C. Gonçalves, C. Goldenstein-Schainberg and E. Bonfá
February 2009
by Lone S. Avnon, MD, Fauaz Manzur, MD, Arkadi Bolotin, PhD, Dov Heimer, MD, Daniel Flusser, MD, Dan Buskila, MD, Shaul Sukenik, MD and Mahmoud Abu-Shakra, MD.

Background: A high incidence of abnormal pulmonary function tests has been reported in cross-sectional studies among patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Few patients have been enrolled in longitudinal studies.

Objectives: To perform PFT[1] in rheumatoid arthritic patients without pulmonary involvement and to identify variables related to changes in PFT over 5 years of follow-up.

Methods: Consecutive RA[2] patients underwent PFT according to American Thoracic Society recommendations. All surviving patients were advised to repeat the examination 5 years later.

Results: PFT was performed in 82 patients (21 men, 61 women). Their mean age was 55.7 (15.9) years and the mean RA duration was 11.1 (10) years. Five years later 15 patients (18.3%) had died. Among the 67 surviving patients, 38 (56.7%) agreed to participate in a follow-up study. The initial PFT revealed normal PFT in only 30 patients (36.6%); an obstructive ventilatory defect in 2 (2.4%), a small airway defect in 12 (17%), a restrictive ventilatory defect in 21 (25.6%), and reduced DLco in 17 (20.7%). Among the 38 patients participating in the 5 year follow-up study, 8 developed respiratory symptoms, one patient had a new obstructive ventilatory defect, one patient developed a restrictive ventilatory defect, and 5 patients had a newly developed small airway defect. The DLco had improved in 7 of the 8 patients who initially had reduced DLco, reaching normal values in 5 patients. Over the study period a new reduction in DLco was observed in 7 patients. Linear regression analyses failed to identify any patient or disease-specific characteristics that could predict a worsening in PFT. The absolute yearly decline in forced expiratory volume in 1 sec among our RA patients was 47 ml/year, a decline similar to that seen among current smokers.

Conclusions: Serial PFT among patients with RA is indicated and allows for earlier identification of various ventilatory defects. Small airways disturbance was a common finding among our RA patients.






[1] PFT = pulmonary function testing



[2] RA = rheumatoid arthritis


G. Sherman, L. Zeller, A. Avriel, M. Friger, M. Harari and S. Sukenik

Background: Balneotherapy, traditionally administered during a continuous stay at the Dead Sea area, has been shown to be effective for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intermittent regimen of balneotherapy at the Dead Sea for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: Forty-four patients with knee osteoarthritis were included in a prospective randomized single-blind controlled study. The patients were divided into two groups: a treatment group (n=24), which were treated twice weekly for 6 consecutive weeks in a sulfur pool heated to 35–36°C, and a control group (n=20) treated in a Jacuzzi filled with tap water heated to 35–36°C. Participants were assessed by the Lequesne index of osteoarthritis severity, the WOMAC index, the SF-36 quality of health questionnaire, VAS scales for pain (completed by patients and physicians), and physical examination.

Results: A statistically significant improvement, lasting up to 6 months, was observed in the treatment group for most of the clinical parameters. In the control group the only improvements were in the SF-36 bodily pain scale at 6 months, the Lequesne index at 1 month and the WOMAC pain score at the end of the treatment period. Although the patients in the control group had milder disease the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Intermittent balneotherapy appears to be effective for patients with knee osteoarthritis.

May 2008
L. Gaal, Jozsef Varga, PhD, Zoltan Szekanecz, MD PhD DSci, Julia Kurko, MD, Andrea Ficzere, MD PhD, Edit Bodolay, MD PhD DSci and Tamás Bender

Background: Balneotherapy is an established treatment modality for musculoskeletal disease. However, few studies have examined the efficacy of spa therapy in elderly patients with degenerative spine and joint diseases.

Objectives: To assess the effects of balneotherapy on chronic musculoskeletal pain, functional capacity, and quality of life in elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or chronic low back pain.

Methods: A total of 81 patients enrolled and the results of 76 were analyzed. Subjects underwent a 1 day course of 30 minute daily baths in mineral water. Changes were evaluated in the following parameters:  pain intensity, functional capacity, quality of life, use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs, subjective disease severity perceived by the patients, investigator-rated disease severity, and severity of pain perceived by the patients.

Results: Compared to baseline, all monitored parameters were significantly improved by balneotherapy in both investigated groups. Moreover, the favorable effect was prolonged for 3 months after treatment.

Conclusions: This study showed that balneotherapy is an effective treatment modality for elderly patients with osteoarthritis of the knee or with chronic low back pain, and its benefits last for at least 3 months after treatment.
 

J. Rovenský, K. Švík, E. Rovenská, V. Štvrtinová and M. Stančíková

Background: In both adjuvant arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis edema and inflammation appear in synovial joints. Edema or effusion reflects an imbalance in lymph dynamics. Purified micronized flavonoid fraction is mainly used in the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. This compound improves lymphatic drainage with a signicant increase in lymphatic flow and lymphatic pulsality. It is suggested that the beneficial effect of purified micronized flavonoid fraction may be involved in the treatment of adjuvant arthritis in rats.

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of Detralex on methotrexate prophylactic treatment of adjuvant arthritis in rats.

Methods: Groups of rats with adjuvant arthritis were treated with methotrexate (0.6 mg/kg/week), Detralex (20 mg/kg/day) and their combination for 50 days from adjuvant application. Hind paw swelling, arthrogram scores, serum albumin level, serum nitrite/nitrate concentrations, whole body mineral density and X-ray scans of synovial joints were evaluated as markers of inflammation and destructive changes associated with arthritis.

Results: Long-term prophylactic treatment with low dose methotrexate significantly inhibited the markers of both inflammation and arthritis. Detralex administered alone slightly decreased both the hind paw swelling and the arthritic score. Other inflammatory and arthritic markers were not significantly influenced. However, detralex combined with methotrexate markedly potentiated the beneficial effects of methotrexate, which resulted in a more significant reduction in hind paw swelling, arthritic scores, and serum concentrations of nitrite/nitrate. Interestingly, the arthritis-induced decrease of BMD[1] in AA[2] rats was significantly lower only in the group treated with the combination of Detralex+methotrexate.

Conclusion: Detralex increased the therapeutic efficacy of methotrexate basal treatment in AA. We suggest that this may be related to the beneficial effect of Detralex on microcirculation, especially on venules and lymphatic vessels.






[1] BMD = bond mineral density

[2] AA = adjuvant arthritis


April 2008
Y. Keynan and D. Rimar
 Reiter’s syndrome is an eponym used to denote the triad of arthritis, urethritis and conjunctivitis. This syndrome is named after Hans Conrad Julius Reiter, who was involved in the activities of the Nazi Racial Hygiene Program related to involuntary sterilization, euthanasia and criminal research projects. Reiter defamed the entire medical profession and it was therefore suggested that the term Reiter’s syndrome be changed to reactive arthritis. We undertook to investigate the use of the eponym Reiter syndrome in medical literature, medical schools in Israel and medical textbooks, compared to the term reactive arthritis, by searching Medline between the years 2003 and 2007, 14 current medical textbooks, curricula of four medical schools in Israel, and computerized patient file systems in Israel. We found a decline in the use of the eponym in articles published between 2003 (18%) and 2007 (9%); however, most textbooks (13/14) still use the eponym. Two of the four medical schools in Israel continue to use the eponym. The eponym appears in the computerized patient files of all four healthcare providers in Israel. We hold that the continued use of the eponym Reiter syndrome in medical textbooks, medical schools and computerized patients files in Israel is honoring an abomination and is inconsistent with medical principles. Awareness is still lacking and we suggest deleting the Reiter syndrome eponym from use, and replacing it with the more appropriate term – reactive arthritis.
Y. Braun-Moscovici, D.n Markovits, A. Rozin, K. Toledano, A. M. Nahir and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman

Background: Infliximab and etanercept have been included in the Israeli national list of health services since 2002 for rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and since 2005 for psoriatic arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. The regulator (Ministry of Health and health funds) mandates using fixed doses of infliximab as the first drug of choice and increased dosage is not allowed. For other indications (e.g., vasculitis), anti-tumor necrosis factor therapy is given on a "compassionate" basis in severe refractory disease.

Objectives: To describe our experience with anti-TNF[1] therapy in a single tertiary referral center in northern Israel and to analyze the impact of the national health policy on the results.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records of patients who received anti-TNF therapy in our institution, and analyzed demographic data, diagnosis, clinical and laboratory features, previous and current therapies, and anti-TNF treatment duration and side effects.

Results: Between 2001 and 2006, 200 patients received anti-TNF therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (n=108), juvenile idiopathic arthritis (n=11), psoriatic arthritis (n=37), ankylosing spondylitis (n=29), adult Still's disease (n=4), overlap disease (RA[2] and scleroderma or polymyositis, n=6), temporal arteritis (n=1), polyarteritis nodosa (n=1), dermatomyositis (n=1), amyloidosis secondary to RA (n=1) and Wegener's granulomatosis (n=1). Forty percent of RA patients discontinued the first anti-TNF agent due to side effects or insufficient response. Higher sedimentation rate and lower or negative rheumatoid factor predicted better response to therapy among RA patients. AS[3] and PS[4] patients had a better safety and efficacy profile. Severe infections occurred in 2% of patients. All eight patients who presented lung involvement as part of their primary rheumatic disease remained stable or improved. A significant improvement was achieved in all six patients with overlap disease.

Conclusion: Our daily practice data are generally in agreement with worldwide experience. The ‘deviations’ might be explained by the local health policy at that time. The impact of health policy and economic and administrative constraints should be taken into account when analyzing cohort daily practice data.






[1] TNF = tumor necrosis factor

[2] RA = rheumatoid arthritis

[3] AS = ankylosing spondylitis

[4] PS = psoriatic arthritis


L. F. Su

The completion of the human genome mapping project has provided the necessary backdrop for the development of high throughput array technologies. In contrast to the reductionist approach to studying the role of a particular molecule in a specific pathway, these technologies enable us to conduct a comprehensive survey of various molecular profiles across different cells types and individuals, placing us one step closer to understanding integrative regulatory networks and the workings of the cell as a whole.

February 2008
N. Haroon, R. Misra and A. Aggarwal

There has been a paradigm shift in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis in recent years. Early and aggressive treatment with good control of disease activity has improved the prognosis of the disease, however, there is significant variability in the response of patients to different therapeutic agents. Hence it is essential to find the predictors of response to a drug at baseline so that we can avoid the delay in achieving remission and improve the outcome. Here we review the literature on available predictors for treatment response in general and specifically for methotrexate and biological agents. We also look at specific scores or indices that can help predict the response in individual patients.

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