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עמוד בית
Sun, 26.05.24

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May 2024
Oshrit Hoffer PhD, Moriya Cohen BS, Maya Gerstein MD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD, Yael Richenberg MD, Shay Nathanson MD, Herman Avner Cohen MD

Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS) is the predominant bacterial pathogen of pharyngitis in children. However, distinguishing GAS from viral pharyngitis is sometimes difficult. Unnecessary antibiotic use contributes to unwanted side effects, such as allergic reactions and diarrhea. It also may increase antibiotic resistance. 

Objectives: To evaluate the effect of a machine learning algorithm on the clinical evaluation of bacterial pharyngitis in children.

Methods: We assessed 54 children aged 2–17 years who presented to a primary healthcare clinic with a sore throat and fever over 38°C from 1 November 2021 to 30 April 2022. All children were tested with a streptococcal rapid antigen detection test (RADT). If negative, a throat culture was performed. Children with a positive RADT or throat culture were considered GAS-positive and treated antibiotically for 10 days, as per guidelines. Children with negative RADT tests throat cultures were considered positive for viral pharyngitis. The children were allocated into two groups: Group A streptococcal pharyngitis (GAS-P) (n=36) and viral pharyngitis (n=18). All patients underwent a McIsaac score evaluation. A linear support vector machine algorithm was used for classification.

Results: The machine learning algorithm resulted in a positive predictive value of 80.6 % (27 of 36) for GAS-P infection. The false discovery rates for GAS-P infection were 19.4 % (7 of 36).

Conclusions: Applying the machine-learning strategy resulted in a high positive predictive value for the detection of streptococcal pharyngitis and can contribute as a medical decision aid in the diagnosis and treatment of GAS-P.

July 2023
Maayan Diti Machnes MD, Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Yiska Loewenberg Weisband MD, Moriya Cohen MD, Moshe Hoshen PhD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD

Background: Group A Streptococcus (GAS), the predominant bacterial pathogen of pharyngitis, is sometimes difficult to distinguish clinically from viral pharyngitis. Despite the high prevalence of viral pharyngitis in children, antibiotic treatment is common.

Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of an antibiotic stewardship program (ASP) on antibiotic prescription in children with GAS pharyngitis (GAS-P) at a large pediatric community clinic.

Methods: Antibiotic prescription data were collected from October 2016 to March 2017 (pre-intervention period) and from October 2017 to March 2018 (post-intervention period). The intervention was a one-day seminar for primary care pediatricians on the diagnosis and treatment of GAS-P in children according to national guidelines.

Results: The overall prevalence of testing differed between the two time periods. There was a decrease in children who did not undergo any testing (from 68% to 63%), an increase in streptococcal rapid antigen detection testing (28% to 32%), and a slight increase in throat cultures (3% to 4%) (p = 0.02). There was no change in the types of antibiotics prescribed before and after the intervention (p = 0.152).

Conclusions: The ASP resulted in a slight reduction in the percentage of children who did not undergo laboratory testing for GAS-P and a slight reduction in the percentage of children who received antibiotic treatment. The ASP did not reduce the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and macrolides.

February 2023
Aviv Barzilai MD MSc, Hila Greenbaum MD MPH, Monica Huszar MD, Sergei Ikher MD, Avner Shemer MD, Sharon Baum MD

Background: Diagnosis of onychomycosis is based on potassium hydroxide (KOH), direct smear, culture, and polymerase chain reaction. Nail clippings are rarely used as a diagnostic tool.

Objectives: To evaluate nail clippings for the diagnosis of onychomycosis and to compare it to KOH smears.

Methods: Nail clipping specimens of 39 patients were collected: 34 with onychomycosis proved by positive culture and 5 from normal nails. The specimens were submitted to histological processing and then stained with periodic acid–Schiff (PAS) and Grocott-Gomori's methenamine silver (GMS) stains. For each nail, KOH smear was also performed. Two pathologists who had no information on the KOH smear and the culture results evaluated the nail clipping histology for the presence of fungal element. Their assessment was compared to the KOH smear and culture results.

Results: Of the 34 specimens that had positive culture, 25 were dermatophytes, 5 were molds, and 4 were candida. Clipping specimens were positive in 30 cases (88%): 23/25 dermatophyte, 4/5 molds, and 3/4 candida. Pathologists were able to classify the pathogens into dermatophytes and non-dermatophytes based on the morphology. PAS stain results were the same as GMS in evaluation of the nail specimen. KOH smear was positive in 29 nails (85%): 20/25 dermatophytes, all 5 molds, and 4 candida. In all five nails where the culture was negative, both clipping and KOH smear did not show fungal elements.

Conclusion: Nail clippings can serve as a rapid, inexpensive, and reliable method for evaluation of onychomycosis, comparable to KOH smear, with the advantage of pathogen group identification.

May 2022
Herman Avner Cohen MD, Maya Gerstein MD, Vered Shkalim Zemer MD, Sophia Heiman MD, Yael Richenberg MD, Eyal Jacobson MD, and Oren Berkowitz PhD PA-C

Background: On 18 March 2020, the Israeli Health Ministry issued lockdown orders to mitigate the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Objectives: To assess the association of lockdown orders on telemedicine practice and the effect of social distancing on infectious diseases in a primary care community pediatric clinic as well as the rate of referrals to emergency departments (ED) and trends of hospitalization.

Methods: Investigators performed a retrospective secondary data analysis that screened for visits in a large pediatric center from 1 January to 31 May 2020. Total visits were compared from January to December 2020 during the same period in 2019. Visits were coded during the first lockdown as being via telemedicine or in-person, and whether they resulted in ED referral or hospitalization. Month-to-month comparisons were performed as well as percent change from the previous year.

Results: There was a sharp decline of in-person visits (24%) and an increase in telemedicine consultations (76%) during the first lockdown (p < 0.001). When the lockdown restrictions were eased, there was a rebound of 50% in-person visits (p < 0.05). There was a profound decrease of visits for common infectious diseases during the lockdown period. Substantial decreases were noted for overall visits, ED referrals, and hospitalizations in 2020 compared to 2019.

Conclusions: COVID-19 had a major impact on primary care clinics, resulting in fewer patient-doctor encounters, fewer overall visits, fewer ED referrals, and fewer hospitalizations

December 2019
Meir Kestenbaum MD, Muneer Abu Snineh MD, Tamar Nussbaum MD, Avi Gadoth MD, Alina Rosenberg, Avigail Hindi, Jennifer Zitser MD, Avner Thaler MD PHD, Nir Giladi MD and Tanya Gurevich MD

Background: The effect of repeated intravenous amantadine (IVAM) in advanced Parkinsonism has not been studied in depth.

Objectives: To report the experience of our medical center with repeated IVAM infusions in patients with advanced Parkinsonism.

Methods: Thirty patients with advanced Parkinsonism of various etiologies were enrolled in an open-label retrospective study. All patients were treated with IVAM infusions in a neurological daycare center. Treatment was initiated with a loading dose of 200/400 mg per day for 5 days followed by a once-daily maintenance dose of 200/400 mg every 1 to 3 weeks. Patients and their caregivers participated in a structured interview and independently completed a clinical global impression of changes scale questionnaire on various motor and non-motor symptoms.

Results: Patient mean age was 73.3 ± 9.7 years, average disease duration was 6.2 ± 5.7 years, and mean Hoehn and Yahr score was 3.2 ± 0.84. Mean duration of the IVAM treatment was 15.1 ± 11.6 months. An improvement in general function was reported by 91% of the patients and 89% of the caregivers. Most of the patients reported improvement in tremor and rigidity, as well as in gait stability, freezing of gait, and reduced falls. The treatment was safe with few side effects.

Conclusions: Our data suggest that repeated IVAM infusions could be an effective treatment against various motor symptoms and for improvement of mobility in patients with advanced Parkinsonism. Further randomized clinical trials with a larger sample size using objective measures are warranted to validate our results.

April 2019
Yulia Gamerman MPT, Moshe Hoshen MD, Avner Herman Cohen MD, Zhana Alter PT, Luzit Hadad PT and Itshak Melzer PT PhD

Background: Falls while turning are associated with increased risk of hip fracture in older adults. Reliable and clinically valid methods for turn ability assessments are needed.

Objectives: To explore the inter-observer reliability and known group validity of the TURN 180 test.

Methods: We divided 78 independent older adults (mean age 76.6 ± 6.5 years) into three groups: non-fallers, infrequent fallers (1–2 falls per year), and recurrent fallers (> 2 falls per year). Participants underwent performance-based tests: Timed Up and Go (TUG), Performance Oriented Mobility Assessment (POMA), and Berg Balance Scale (BBS). TUG was videotaped for later analysis of the TURN 180 test by two blinded observers.

Results: A significant difference was found in the TURN 180 test parameters among the groups (P < 0.04). TURN 180 was highly correlated with TUG (r = 0.81–0.89, P < 0.001) and BBS (r = -0.704–0.754, P < 0.0001) and moderately with POMA (r = -0.641–0.698, P < 0.0001). The number of steps was found to be the strongest parameter to determine fallers among older adults (specificity 96.3%, sensitivity 40%). Inter-rater reliability (intraclass correlation coefficient 0.91–0.96, P < 0.0001) was found to be excellent for the number of steps, time taken to accomplish a turn, and total test score categories.

Conclusions: The TURN 180 test is highly reliable and can identify the older adults who fall. Our results show that the TURN 180 test can serve as a good performance-based examination for research or clinical setting.

April 2018
Elias Toubi MD, Shmuel Kivity MD, Yael Graif MD, Avner Reshef MD, Jaco Botha MSc, Irmgard Andresen MD, for the IOS Study Group

Background: Management of patients with hereditary angioedema with C1-inhibitor deficiency (C1-INH-HAE) is evolving worldwide. Evaluating the Israeli experience may provide valuable insights.

Objectives: To compare demographics and icatibant treatment patterns and outcomes in patients with C1-INH-HAE enrolled in the Icatibant Outcome Survey (IOS) in Israel with those in other countries.

Methods: The IOS is an ongoing observational study that prospectively monitors real-world icatibant safety/tolerability and treatment outcomes.

Results: By July 2016, 58 patients from Israel and 594 patients from other countries were enrolled. Median age at diagnosis (16.7 vs. 21.3 years, P = 0.036) and median delay between symptom onset and diagnosis (0.8 vs. 6.6 years, P = 0.025) were lower in Israel compared with other countries, respectively. Differences in attack severity were not significant (P = 0.156); however, during follow-up, Israeli patients were less likely to miss > 7 days of work/school due to C1-INH-HAE-related complications (P = 0.007). A trend was also shown in Israel for earlier time to treatment (median 0.5 vs. 1.3 hours, P = 0.076), attack duration was shorter (median 5.0 vs. 9.0 hours, P = 0.026), and patients more often self-administered icatibant (97.2% vs. 87.5%, P = 0.003), respectively. However, Israeli patients were less likely to treat attacks (P = 0.036). Whereas patients in Israel reported exclusive use of danazol for long-term prophylaxis, those in other countries used various agents, including C1-INH.

Conclusions: Recognition of C1-INH-HAE and timeliness of icatibant treatment appear more favorable, and attack duration shorter, in Israel compared with other countries.

February 2017
Adir Sommer MD, Avner Belkin MD, Shay Ofir MD and Ehud Assia MD

Background: In recent decades cataract surgery has shifted slowly from public hospitals to ambulatory surgery centers, demonstrating changes in the profile of patients presenting to public hospitals for cataract surgery. These changes may potentially affect the complexity of surgeries, their volume, resident training, and perhaps also visual outcomes and patient satisfaction. 

Objectives: To assess the changes in the medical and demographic characteristics of patients undergoing cataract surgery in a public hospital over a period of 15 years. 

Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the records of patients undergoing preoperative assessment before cataract surgery. Records for the period October 2000 to January 2001 (100 patients), October 2006 to January 2007 (100 patients), and October 2013 to January 2014 (150 patients) were assessed for demographic, systemic and ocular related parameters. 

Results: There was a significant increase in the average age of patients (70.4, 72.4, 73.9 years, P = 0.026), with a significant increase in the percentage of patients of Arab ethnicity (17%, 11%, 28.7%, P = 0.002), and concomitant systemic co-morbidities (38%, 46%, 64.7%, P < 0.0001). There was an increase in the percentage of patients with narrow palpebral fissures (0%, 2%, 8%, P = 0.003), deep-set eyes (2%, 4%, 18%, P < 0.0001), dense nuclear sclerotic cataract (38%, 34.4%, 56.9%, P = 0.001), and a significant increase in the percentage of patients taking alpha-blocking medications (0%, 8%, 10.7 %, P = 0.004).

Conclusions: Patients presenting for cataract surgery in 2013 compared to those in earlier periods are older, sicker and have more ocular conditions potentially affecting cataract surgery outcomes, patient satisfaction and residents' training. 

 

September 2015
Inbal Mayan MD, Raz Somech MD PhD, Atar Lev MSc, Avner H. Cohen, Naama W. Constantini MD and Gal Dubnov-Raz MD MSc

Background: Several studies have identified associations between low vitamin D concentrations and risk of upper respiratory infections (URI). T lymphocytes have a major anti-viral role, are affected by vitamin D metabolism, and may mediate the link between vitamin D and URIs. Competitive swimmers have a relatively high rate of URIs, alongside a high prevalence of low vitamin D concentration. 

Objectives: To examine the associations linking T cell receptor excision circles (TREC, markers of thymus activity), circulating 25(OH)D concentrations and the effect of vitamin D supplementation, and URI symptoms in young competitive swimmers.

Methods: We tested 82 adolescent swimmers for serum 25(OH)D and TREC concentrations and found that 55 had vitamin D insufficiency. Randomized supplementation of either vitamin D3 or placebo was given for 12 winter weeks. URI symptoms were recorded weekly. The associations between TREC copy numbers, vitamin D and URI burden were examined.

Results: TREC concentrations decreased with the participants’ age (r = -0.346, P = 0.003), with no significant between-gender difference. TREC concentrations did not materially differ among subjects with normal, insufficient or deficient vitamin D status, and were not affected by vitamin D supplementation. No significant correlations were found between TREC levels or their changes during the study period, and mean URI severity or duration. 

Conclusions: Thymus activity, represented by higher TREC levels, was not related to vitamin D concentrations or status, and was not affected by vitamin D supplementation in adolescent swimmers. TREC concentrations were not associated with URI severity or duration in this population.

 

July 2014
Boaz Amichai MD, Marcelo H. Grunwald MD, Batya Davidovici MD and Avner Shemer MD

Background: Tinea pedis is a common chronic skin disease; the role of contaminated clothes as a possible source of infection or re-infection has not been fully understood. The ability of ultraviolet light to inactivate microorganisms has long been known and UV is used in many applications.

Objectives: To evaluate the effectivity of sun exposure in reducing fungal contamination in used clothes.

Methods: Fifty-two contaminated socks proven by fungal culture from patients with tinea pedis were studied. The samples were divided into two groups: group A underwent sun exposure for 3 consecutive days, while group B remained indoors. At the end of each day fungal cultures of the samples were performed.

Results: Overall, there was an increase in the percentage of negative cultures with time. The change was significantly higher in socks that were left in the sun (chi-square for linear trend = 37.449, P < 0.0001).

* Louis Brandeis, Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, 1913

Conclusions: Sun exposure of contaminated clothes was effective in lowering the contamination rate. This finding enhances the current trends of energy saving and environmental protection, which recommend low temperature laundry.

December 2008
A. Reshef, I. Leibovich, A. Goren

Hereditary angioedema is a rare genetic disorder, manifested by recurrent edema leading to disfigurement, organ dysfunction and life-threatening respiratory impairment that may become fatal. The hallmark of HAE is a C1 esterase inhibitor deficiency, but recent evidence points at bradykinin as the main mediator that causes hyperpermeability of small vasculature, leading to accumulation of edema fluid. Current therapeutic options for HAE[1] are limited, and consist of drugs, replacement therapy, and supportive treatment. In view of many disadvantages of the current therapeutic modalities new approaches to the treatment of HAE are now being offered. This review summarizes our experience with a new line of medications developed for the treatment of acute exacerbations and prophylaxis of HAE – icatibant: bradykinin receptor antagonist, ecallantide: kallikrein inhibitor, and two C1 INH[2] preparations: Berinert-P, human plasma-derived concentrate, and Rhucin: novel recombinant C1-INH produced in transgenic rabbits. Preliminary results of these studies are encouraging and may bring new hope to the patients with this distressing condition. The exact number of HAE patients in Israel is unknown and because patients are treated individually and comprehensive laboratory assessment is partial, many cases might be missed or not treated according to accepted guidelines. We offer a new specialty center for HAE patients, addressing the medical and psychosocial needs of patients and their families.

 






[1] HAE = hereditary angioedema

[2] C1-INH = C1 esterase inhibitor


June 2008
A. Shemer, H. Trau, B. Davidovici, B. Amichai and M.H. Grunwald

Background: Fungal infection of the nail affects millions of people worldwide and has an estimated prevalence of more than 10% of the general population.

Objectives To determinate the prevalence of fungal infection in toenails, in order to decide the treatment policy in onychomycosis.   

Methods: We evaluated 331 patients with suspected clinical toenail onychomycosis affecting at least two toenails. Mycological examination of the affected nails was performed, both the KOH test and fungal culture were used. 

Results: Of 331 patients with psoriasis, 78.2% of the patients had at least three infected nails. The first toenail was the most affected. Trichophyton rubrum was by far the most common dermatophyte cultured from all samples.

Conclusions: Most of the patients had at least three affected toenails. Topical treatment is not effective or practical, and systemic treatment should therefore be considered.
 

A. Shemer, B. Kaplan, N. Nathansohn, M.H. Grunwald, B. Amichai and H. Trau

Background: Seborrheic dermatitis is a common chronic disease. Malassezia yeasts have been implicated in the pathogenesis of this disease. Antifungal agents are known to be effective in the treatment of Malassezia yeast infections.

Objectives To evaluate the efficacy of itraconazole in the treatment of mild to severe facial seborrheic dermatitis.

Methods: Sixty patients with moderate to severe seborrheic dermatitis were evaluated in an open non-comparative study. Patients were treated with oral itraconazole, initially 200 mg/day for a week, followed by a maintenance therapy of a single dose of 200 mg every 2 weeks. Four clinical parameters (erythema, scaling, burning, itching) were assessed using a 0–3 score. Mycological evaluation determined the presence of Malassezia spores in the scales using a direct smear.

Results: At the end of the initial treatment significant improvement was reported in three clinical parameters: erythema, scaling, itching. Maintenance therapy led to only slight further improvement. Burning sensation was only mildly improved during the treatment. The quantity of Malassezia spores present in the direct smear decreased throughout the treatment period. No blood test abnormalities were found during the treatment.

Conclusions: In this study initial treatment with itraconazole was beneficial in patients with moderate to severe seborrheic dermatitis.

November 2007
J. Meyerovitch, R. Goldman, H. Avner-Cohen, F. Antebi and M. Sherf

Background: The prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the western world has increased dramatically.

Objective: To assess the efficiency of routine childhood obesity screening by primary physicians in the pediatric population in Israel and the utilization of health services by overweight children.

Methods: The electronic medical records of children aged 60–83 months registered in 39 pediatric primary care centers between January 2001 and October 2004 (n=21,799) were reviewed. Those in whom height and weight were documented during a clinic visit (index visit) were classified as overweight, at risk of overweight, and normal weight by body mass index percentiles. The number of visits to the pediatrician, laboratory tests and health care costs 12 months after the index visit were calculated.

Results: Anthropomorphic measurements were performed in 1556 of the 15,364 children (10.1%) who visited the clinic during the study period. Of these, 398 (25.6%) were overweight, 185 (11.9%) were at risk of overweight, and 973 (62.5%) were normal weight. Children in the first two groups visited the clinic slightly more often than the third group, but the differences was not statistically significant (P = 0.12), and had significantly more laboratory tests than the rest of the children visiting the clinics (P = 0.053). Health care costs were 6.6% higher for the overweight than the normal-weight children.

Conclusions: Electronic medical records are a useful tool for population-based health care assessments. Current screening for obesity in children during routine care in Israel is insufficient and additional education of community pediatricians in diagnosis and intervention is urgently needed.

 
 

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