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עמוד בית
Thu, 25.07.24

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September 2001
Auli Toivanen, MD and Paavo Toivanen, MD

Reactive arthritis is a disease affecting mostly young adults. Owing to a greater general awareness the diagnosis has become more common during recent years. It is well established that ReA is caused by an infection, mostly in genetically susceptible individuals. The pathogenetic mechan­isms are still poorly understood, and the treatment rests mainly on anti-inflammatory drugs or steroids. Vigorous and early treatment of the triggering infection may prevent the develop­ment of ReA but this is rarely possible in everyday clinical practice. Despite its name, the disease should be considered as a general disorder that affects not only the joints. The prognosis is not as good as earlier believed, and relapses or chronic development are not unusual.

Larry W. Moreland, MD

There is accumulating evidence that tumor necrosis factor plays a major role in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Recent biotechnological advances have allowed for the development of agents that directly target TNF, a pro-inflammatory cytokine. In the last 2 years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union’s Commission of the European Communities have approved two biological agents for the treatment of refractory RA, etanercept and infliximab. Etanercept is a fusion protein, composed of the Fc portion of immunoglobulin G1 and the extracellular domain of a TNF receptor (p75). Infliximab is a chimeric monoclonal antibody composed of murine variable and human constant regions. In placebo-controlled trials, both agents have proven to be effective and well tolerated in PA patients.

Daniel Schapira, MD, DSc, Alexandra Balbir-Gurman, MD, Alicia Nachtigal, MD and Abraham Menachem Nahir, MD, PhD
February 2001
Shaul Sukenik, MD, Ron Baradin, MD, Shlomi Codish, MD, Lily Neumann, PhD, Daniel Flusser, MD, Mahmoud Abu-Shakra, MD and Dan Buskila, MD

Background: Balneotherapy has been successfully used to treat various rheumatic diseases, but has only recently been evaluated for the treatment of fibromyalgia. Since no effective treatment exists for this common rheumatic disease, comple­mentary methods of treatment have been attempted.

Objectives:To assess the effectiveness of batneotherapy at the Dead Sea area in the treatment of patients suffering from both fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis.

Methods: Twenty-eight patients with psoriatic arthritis and fibromyalgia were treated with various modalities of bat­neotherapy at the Dead Sea area. Clinical indices assessed were duration of morning stiffness, number of active joints, a point count of 18 fibrositic tender points, and determination of the threshold of tenderness in nine fibrositic and in four control points using a dolorimeter.

Results: The number of active joints was reduced from 18.4+10.9 to 9+8.2 (P< 0.001). The number of tender points was reduced from 12.6+2 to 7.1±5 in men (P<0.003) and from 13.1+2 to 7.5+3.7 in women (P<0.001). A significant improvement was found in dolorimetric threshold readings after the treatment period in women (P< 0.001). No correlation was observed between the reduction in the number of active joints and the reduction in the number of tender points in the same patients (r= 0.2).

Conclusions: Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area appears to produce a statistically significant substantial improvement in the number of active joints and tender points in both male and female patients with fibromyalgia and psoriatic arthritis. Further research is needed to elucidate the distinction between the benefits of staying at the Dead Sea area without balneotherapy and the effects of balneotherapy in the study population.

October 2000
March 2000
Anabel Aharon-Maor, MD and Yehuda Shoenfeld, MD
Israel Hodish, MD, David Ezra, MD, Hanan Gur, MD, Rephael Strugo, MD and David Olchovsky, MD
October 1999
Shaul Sukenik MD, Daniel Flusser MD, Shlomi Codish MD and Mahmoud Abu-Shakra MD
 Background: Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area has been applied in various inflammatory rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. The efficacy of balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area for the treatment of degenerative rheumatic diseases has not yet been formally evaluated.

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area in patients suffering from osteoarthritis of the knees.

Methods: Forty patients were randomly allocated into four groups of 10 patients. Group I was treated by bathing in a sulphur pool, group 2 by bathing in the Dead Sea, group 3 by a combination of sulphur pool and bathing in the Dead Sea, and group 4 served as the control group receiving no balneotherapy. The duration of balneotherapy was 2 weeks.

Results: Significant improvement as measured by the Lequesne index of severity of osteoarthritis was observed in all three treatment groups, but not in the control group. This improvement lasted up to 3 months of follow-up in patients in all three treatment groups.

Conclusion: Balneotherapy at the Dead Sea area has a beneficial effect on patients with osteoarthritis of the knees, an effect that lasts at least 3 months.

September 1999
 Background: Anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibodies in necrotizing vasculitides need to be distinguished from ANCAs1  in other inflammatory conditions to avoid clinical misinterpretation.

Objectives: To help clinicians and laboratory scientists recognize and utilize vasculitis-related ANCAs as an aid in diagnostic workup and patient follow-up, and be aware that ANCAs with different characteristics are commonly found in other chronic inflammatory conditions that persistently engage neutrophils in the inflammatory process.

Methods: Indirect immunofluorescence and enzyme immunoassay methods were used to detect ANCAs with both known and unknown neutrophil autoantigenic targets.

Results: Primary necrotizing small vessel vasculitides such as Wegener’s granulomatosis, Churg-Strauss syndrome, microscopic polyangiitis, and renal-limited rapidly progressive necrotizing glomerulonephritis target either the serine protease proteinase 3 or myeloperoxidase  in azurophilic granules. In ulcerative colitis and rheumatoid arthritis, we found multiple ANCA targets contained in azurophilic and specific granules, the cytosol and the nucleus, whereas PR32 and MPO3 were not, or only weakly, recognized.

Conclusions: ANCAs typically found in active SVV4 are demonstrable both by indirect immunofluorescence and antigen-specific enzyme immunoassay, and strong reactivity to either PR3 or MPO is characteristic. Strong ANCA with MPO reactivity is also found in some patients with drug-induced syndromes (lupus, vasculitis). Intermediate to strong perinuclear ANCAs are found in a substantial proportion of patients with UC5 (40–60%) and RA6 (30–70%), but in these conditions the ANCAs have many antigen targets that are only weakly recognized.

 

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1 ANCA = anti-neutrophil cytoplasm antibody

2 PR3 = protease proteinase 3

3 MPO = myeloperoxidase

4 SVV = small vessel vasculitides

5 UC = ulcerative colitis

6 RA = rheumatoid arthritis

 

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