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עמוד בית
Sat, 25.05.24

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January 2024
Amnon Gil MD, Daniel Kushnir MD, Victor Frajewicki MD

Background: There are conflicting data on the significance of hyperuricemia or hyperuricosuria in urolithiasis formation and on the need for medical treatment.

Objectives: To assess the significance of hyperuricemia or hyperuricosuria in urolithiasis formation, particularly when hyperuricemia occurs with normal uricosuria.

Methods: The electronic medical records of patients treated in Haifa and the Western Galilee district of Clalit Health Services, Israel, were retrospectively screened for diagnosis of nephrolithiasis or renal or urinary tract/bladder calculi between February 2014 and April 2019. The diagnosis was confirmed by ultrasonography or computed tomography. The study group included patients with one of these diagnoses. Patients in the control group did not have these diagnoses. The inclusion criterion for all patients was the presence of both serum and urinary uric acid levels.

Results: The study group included 359 patients and the control group 267. After adjustment by logistic regression, we found no significant differences in the prevalence of hyperuricosuria in the study group (14.8%) compared to the control group (9.7%), odds ratio (OR) 1.54 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.74–3.2, P = 0.245). No significant differences between the groups were observed for hyperuricemia prevalence (45.4% vs. 55.1%, respectively, OR 0.82, 95%CI 0.54–1.25, P = 0.355), nor among those without hyperuricosuria (OR 0.83, 95%CI 0.52–1.33, P = 0.438) and after propensity score matching (OR 0.93, 95%CI 0.66–1.3, P = 0.655).

Conclusions: There were no significant differences in hyperuricemia or hyperuricosuria between the two groups of patients or in hyperuricemia among participants without hyperuricosuria.

September 2023
Adi Hertz MD, Scott Ehrenberg MD, Howard Amital MD MHA

Fibromyalgia syndrome is a chronic widespread musculoskeletal pain syndrome primarily characterized by fatigue, sleep disturbances, and cognitive impairment. Its etiology remains elusive despite ongoing research and has multifactorial elements. It has been shown that traumatic events and neuro-inflammation, autoimmunity, and genetic factors contribute to the pathogenesis of fibromyalgia syndrome.

Recent evidence has pointed to a bi-directional link between cardiovascular disease, traditional cardiovascular risk factors, and metabolic syndrome (MetS), together with the presence of fibromyalgia [1].

July 2023
Ravit Bassal PhD, Varda Shalev MD, Vered H. Eisenberg MD, Orit Stein-Reisner MD, Eduardo Schejter MD

Background: Depression has been shown to be associated with cervical tumors (CTs), an association mostly demonstrated in studies in which temporality could not have been ascertained.

Objectives: To study the association between depression and CTs and the influence of co-morbidities of this association in a large cohort study.

Methods: A retrospective computer-based cohort study was conducted. The cohort included 357,450 female members of Maccabi Healthcare Services. The cohort was classified as depressed or non-depressed using the International Classification of Diseases 9/10 codes. For each subgroup, demographic characteristics, behavioral characteristics, co-morbidities, and CTs diagnosis were obtained. The burden of co-morbidities was defined as the sum of major co-morbidities. We used zero-inflated negative binomial regression analysis due to over-dispersion to estimate the relative risk (RR) for CTs with 95% confidence interval (95%CI).

Results: Depression was diagnosed in 15,789 women. Among this group, CTs were diagnosed in 1585 (10.0%). Among the 341,661 non-depressed, CTs were diagnosed in 4185 (1.2%). After adjustment to age and socioeconomic status, the association between depression and CTs was RR=9.2 (95%CI 8.7–9.9, P-value < 0.0001). The association between depression and CTs increased as the burden of clinical conditions increased (P-value < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Women with depression are at a higher risk for CTs, especially among those who have several co-morbidities. Tighter gynecology surveillance is crucial among these women.

June 2023
Yael Laitman MSc, Rinat Bernstein-Molho MD, Talia Golan MD, Eitan Friedman MD PhD

Germline pathogenic variants (PVs) in the RET proto-oncogene (OMIM 164761) are associated with a diverse phenotype based on the type of PV. Gain-of-function (GOF) PVs are associated with the highly penetrant multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2 (MEN2-OMIM 171400), which are hallmarked by an increased risk for developing medullary thyroid cancer (MTC), pheochromocytoma, and parathyroid adenomas. Loss-of-function (LOF) RET PVs are associated with incompletely penetrant Hirschsprung's disease (HSCR OMIM 142623), which are pathologically characterized by the absence of enteric ganglia affecting the distal colon and clinically manifest as neonatal intestinal obstruction. Despite anecdotal reports of familial clustering of neoplasms in HSCR families, mostly MEN2-associated tumors [1,2], HSCR is not considered to be associated with an increased risk for developing cancer [3]. We report on a family with an unusual multigenerational solid tumor phenotype and severe HSCR phenotype with a LOF RET PV.

March 2023
Johnatan Nissan, Anna Blokh MD, Niv Ben-Shabat MD MPH, Harald Heidecke PhD, Gilad Halpert PhD, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, Howard Amital MD MHA

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is estimated to affect 2–4% of the general population. While FMS has some known environmental and genetic risk factors, the disorder has no clear etiology. A common coexisting disorder with FMS is small fiber neuropathy (SFN). High levels of serum immunoglobulin M (IgM) binding to trisulfated-heparin-disaccharide (TS-HDS) were recently found to be associated with SFN.

Objectives: To evaluate potential differences in anti-TS-HDS antibody titers in women with FMS compared to healthy controls.

Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we evaluated 51 female participants: 30 with a diagnosis of FMS and 21 healthy controls who had been recruited at the Zabludowicz Center for Autoimmune Diseases, Sheba Medical Center, Israel. All of the participants were older than 18 years of age. Anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were measured in their sera using the enzyme immunoassay technique.

Results: The mean anti-TS-HDS IgM levels were significantly lower in the FMS group, compared with the control group (7.7 ± 5 vs. 13.2 ± 8.6 U/ml, respectively; P = 0.013).

Conclusions: There is a possible association between FMS and anti-TS-HDS IgM. This association might be the missing link for the coexistence of SFN and FMS, but further study should be performed to assess this association and this auto-antibody characteristic.

November 2022
Bar Pitaro Alter MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Yuval Kuntzman MD, Omer Gendelman MD, Guy Shalom MD, Abdulla Watad MD, Howard Amital MD MHA, Arnon D. Cohen MD MPH, Daniela Amital MD MHA

Backgrounds: Behçet's disease (BD) is a chronic vasculitic multi-systemic disease of unknown etiology. BD is characterized by recurrent attacks of oral aphthae, genital ulcers, and uveitis. BD is a multisystemic disorder and as such it may provoke various psychiatric manifestations, including depression.

Objectives: To evaluate the association between BD and depression, adjusting for established risk factors for depression.

Methods: We executed a cross-sectional study based on the Clalit Health Services database, the largest healthcare organization in Israel, serving over 4.4 million members. For this study 873 BD patients were detected and matched with 4369 controls by age and sex.

Results: The rate of depression was higher among the BD patients compared with the control group (9.39% vs 5.49%, respectively, odds ratio [OR] 1.79, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.37–2.31, P < 0.001). An association between BD and depression was also observed on multivariable analysis (OR 1.83, 95%CI 1.39–2.39, P < 0.001). When stratifying the data, according to established risk factors, the association between BD and depression was prominent in the youngest age group (18–39 years of age), low and high socioeconomical status, and non-smokers.

Conclusions: Establishing the association between BD and depression should influence the attitude and the treatment of BD patients, as this relationship requires a more holistic approach and a multidisciplinary treatment regimen for all patient needs.

Adi Lichtenstein MD, Shmuel Tiosano MD, Doron Comaneshter MD, Arnon D. Cohen MD, Howard Amital MD

Background: Fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS) is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain and tenderness with associated neuropsychological symptoms such as fatigue, unrefreshing sleep, cognitive dysfunction, anxiety, and depression. Osteoporosis is defined as a reduction of bone density. Previous studies to determine an association of FMS with osteoporosis showed mixed results, partially due to small sample sizes and lack of statistical power.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of FMS with osteoporosis.

Methods: We conducted a case-control study utilizing the database from Israel’s largest health maintenance organization. FMS patients were compared to age- and sex-matched controls. Data were analyzed using chi-square and t-tests. Multivariable logistic regression models assessed the association between osteoporosis and FMS. Spearman’s rho test was used for correlation.

Results: We utilized data from 14,296 FMS patients and 71,324 age- and sex-matched controls. Spearman's rho test showed a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis (correlation coefficient 0.55, P < 0.001). A logistic regression for osteoporosis showed an odds ratio [OR] of 1.94 (95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.83–2.06, P < 0.001) for FMS compared to controls and found higher body mass index to be slight protective (OR 0.926, 95%CI 0.92–0.93, P < 0.001).

Conclusions: There is a significant correlation between FMS and osteoporosis. Early detection of predisposing factors for osteoporosis in FMS patients and implementation of suitable treatments and prevention measures (such as dietary supplements, resistance or weight bearing exercise, and bone-mineral enhancing pharmacological therapy) may reduce both occurrence rate and severity of osteoporosis and its complications, such as fractures.

May 2022
Moria Mahanaimy MD MPH, Uriah Finkel MA, Noam Barda MD PhD, Eytan Roitman MD, Ran Balicer MD PhD MPH, Adi Berliner Senderey MSc MPH, and Becca Feldman ScD

Background: The association between use of renin-angiotensin-aldosterone (RAAS) inhibitors and both SARS-CoV-2 infection and the development of severe COVID-19 has been presented in the recent medical literature with inconsistent results.

Objectives: To assess the association between RAAS inhibitor use and two outcomes: infection with SARS-CoV-2 (Model 1) and severe COVID-19 among those infected (Model 2).

Methods: We accessed used electronic health records of individuals from Israel who were receiving anti-hypertensive medications for this retrospective study. For Model 1 we used a case-control design. For Model 2 we used a cohort design. In both models, inverse probability weighting adjusted for identified confounders as part of doubly robust outcome regression.

Results: We tested 38,554 individuals for SARS-CoV-2 who had hypertension and were being treated with medication; 691 had a positive test result. Among those with a positive test, 119 developed severe illness. There was no association between RAAS inhibitor use and a positive test. Use of RAAS inhibitors was associated with a decreased risk for severe COVID-19 (adjusted odds ratio [OR] 0.47, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 0.29–0.77) compared with users of non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medication. The association remained significant when use of angiotensin-converting-enzyme inhibitors (adjusted OR 0.46, 95%CI 0.27–0.77) and angiotensin II receptor blockers (adjusted OR 0.39, 95%CI 0.16–0.95) were analyzed separately.

Conclusions: Among individuals with hypertension using RAAS inhibitors, we found a lower risk of severe disease compared to those using non-RAAS anti-hypertensive medications. This finding suggests that RAAS inhibitors may have a protective effect on COVID-19 severity among individuals with medically treated hypertension.

December 2021
Sâmara Paula Ferreira Mota Colares MSc, Guilherme Moura Colares MD, Jozélio Freire de Carvalho MD PhD, and Carlos Ewerton Maia Rodrigues MD PhD

Background: Lumbar spinal stenosis (LSS) is a narrowing of the lumbar canal causing lower back pain, gluteal pain, and neurogenic claudication. LSS has been associated with cardiovascular co-morbidities. Metabolic syndrome (MetS), a pro-inflammatory condition involving a cluster of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and diabetes, is increasingly prevalent worldwide.

Objectives: To evaluate the prevalence of MetS in patients with LSS, compared to age- and sex-matched healthy controls, and to explore potential associations between MetS and LSS-related clinical parameters and cardiovascular risk factors.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study including 64 patients diagnosed as symptomatic LSS (NASS criteria) and 32 controls. MetS was diagnosed using the 2009 Harmonizing criteria adjusted for South Americans. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify independent risk factors for MetS. The level of statistical significance was set at 5%.

Results: The prevalence of MetS was significantly higher in the LSS group than in the control group (76.6% vs. 31.3%; P < 0.001). LSS patients displayed greater waist circumference (P = 0.003), blood glucose levels (P = 0.009) and arterial pressure (P < 0.001) than controls. The variables with independent influence on MetS in the logistic regression model were: diabetes (P = 0.008), blood glucose (P = 0.004), and body mass index (P = 0.005).

Conclusions: MetS was significantly more prevalent among LSS patients, and diabetes and elevated body mass index were found to be risk factors for MetS in these LSS patients

November 2021
Milena Tocut MD, Tima Davidson MD, Rebecca Leibu, Howard Amital MD MHA, Yehuda Shoenfeld MD FRCP MaACR, and Ora Shovman MD
January 2020
Alina Weissmann-Brenner MD, Anna Mitlin MD, Chen Hoffman MD, Reuven Achiron MD, Yishai Salem MD and Eldad Katorza MD

Background: Congenital heart defects (CHD) may be associated with neurodevelopmental abnormalities mainly due to brain hypoperfusion. This defect is attributed to the major cardiac operations these children underwent, but also to hemodynamic instability during fetal life. Advances in imaging techniques have identified changes in brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)in children with CHD.

Objectives: To examine the correlation between CHD and brain injury using fetal brain MRI.

Methods: We evaluated 46 fetuses diagnosed with CHD who underwent brain MRI. CHD was classified according to in situs anomalies, 4 chamber view (4CV), outflow tracts, arches, and veins as well as cyanotic or complex CHD. We compared MRI results of different classes of CHD and CHD fetuses to a control group of 113 healthy brain MRI examinations.

Results: No significant differences were found in brain pathologies among different classifications of CHD. The anteroposterior percentile of the vermis was significantly smaller in fetuses with abnormal 4CV. A significantly higher biparietal diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal arches. A significantly smaller transcerebellar diameter was found in fetuses with abnormal veins. Compared to the control group, significant differences were found in overall brain pathology in cortex abnormalities and in extra axial findings in the study group. Significantly higher rates of overall brain pathologies, ventricle pathologies, cortex pathologies, and biometrical parameters were found in the cyanotic group compared to the complex group and to the control group.

Conclusions: Fetuses with CHD demonstrate findings in brain MRI that suggest an in utero pathogenesis of the neurological and cognitive anomalies found during child development.

November 2018
Haim Shmuely MD, Baruch Brenner MD, David Groshar MD, Nir Hadari MD, Ofer Purim MD, Meital Nidam MD, Merab Eligalashvili MD, Jacob Yahav MD and Hanna Bernstine MD
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