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עמוד בית
Wed, 29.05.24

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April 2024
Gideon Eshel MD, Gerhard Baader MD, Eran Kozer MD

Background: On 7 April 1933, the Nazi Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service was enacted. The law triggered the dismissal of most Jewish medical staff from German universities. A few Jewish professors in Berlin were permitted to continue their academic activity with restrictions. Those professors were gradually dismissed as laws and restrictions were enforced.

Objectives: To identify the last Jewish medical professors who, despite severe restrictions, continued their academic duties and prepared students for their examinations in Berlin after the summer of 1933.

Methods: We reviewed dissertations written by the medical faculty of Berlin from 1933 to 1937 and identified Jewish professors who mentored students during those years.

Results: Thirteen Jewish tutors instructed dissertations for the medical examinations after the Nazi regime seized power. They were employees of different university hospitals, including the Jewish hospitals. We did not identify Aryan students instructed by Jewish professors. The professors were active in different medical disciplines. Half of the reviewed dissertations were in the disciplines of surgery and gynecology. The last Jewish tutors were dismissed in October 1935. However, some of their studies were submitted for examination after that date.

Conclusions: After the Nazi regime seized power, academic activities and medical research by Jewish professors declined but did not stop. However, these professors worked with only Jewish students on their theses. Most dissertations were approved and examined after the Jewish academics were dismissed by the university, in some cases even after they left Germany.

August 2023
Hila Nochomovitz MD, Shlomo Berliner MD, Ori Elkayam MD PhD, David Zeltser MD, Itzhak Shapira MD, Ori Rogowski MD, Smadar Gertel PhD, Shani Shenhar-Tsarfaty PhD, Victoria Furer MD

Background: The parasympathetic system and its main neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, contributes to homeostasis of inflammation. Cholinergic dysregulation is thought to contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory rheumatic diseases. Cholinesterase activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) has not been investigated.

Objectives: To compare the cholinesterase activity in patients with PsA and immunocompetent controls and to explore the correlation between cholinergic status (CS) and PsA disease activity.

Methods: Serum acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and total cholinesterase activity were measured in patients with PsA (n=88) and matched controls (n=84). Cholinergic activity before and 3–6 months after the initiation of a biologic treatment was evaluated in seven patients with PsA.

Results: The levels of AChE and CS were similar in both PsA patients and controls. PsA patients treated with biologics had significantly lower levels of AChE and CS compared to patients treated with non-biologics: 447.4 vs. 526 substrate hydrolyzed/min/ml, P = 0.005, and 1360.9 vs. 1536, P = 0.029, respectively. We found an association between C-reactive protein levels, AChE activity (r = 0.291, P = 0.008), and cholinergic status (r = 0.247, P = 0.026) in patients with PsA but not in controls. No correlation between AChE activity, cholinergic status, and the indices of PsA disease activity was found. After initiating or switching biologic treatment in 7 patients, AChE levels remained stable.

Conclusions: We demonstrated similar cholinesterase activity in patients with psoriatic arthritis and controls, highlighting a potential effect of biologic treatment on cholinergic activity in patients with PsA.

January 2023
Yehonatan Azulai BA, Shepard Schwartz MD, Eyal Heiman MD, Elihay Berliner MD, Giora Weiser MD

Background: Clinical dysentery causes hundreds of thousands of deaths annually worldwide. However, current recommendations reserve antibiotics for those either clinically sick or with highly suspected cases of shigellosis. This treatment stems from rising antibiotic resistance. Children diagnosed with clinical dysentery in the pediatric emergency department (PED) are regarded more cautiously.

Objectives: To explore the use of antibiotics in children diagnosed with clinical dysentery in the PED.

Methods: A retrospective case study of children with clinical dysentery at a single PED during the years 2015 and 2018. Demographics as well as clinical findings were compared to culture results and antibiotic treatment.

Results: The study included 281 children who were diagnosed with clinical dysentery during the study period; 234 (83%) were treated with antibiotics. However, cultures were positive in only 162 cases (58%). Only 32% were Shigella spp. Younger age, fever, and leukocytosis were related to antibiotic treatment.

Conclusions: The diagnosis of clinical dysentery is misgiven commonly in the PED leading to widespread use of antibiotics when not indicated. This treatment may impact antibiotic resistance patterns. Further studies and interventions are necessary to create clear guidelines in the PED setting.

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.

March 2021
Gideon Eshel, Gerhard Baader, and Eran Kozer

Background: In April 1937 it was forbidden for German Jewish students to sit for examinations. However, a few Jewish medical students were able to continue studying at Berlin University. The order to expel all Jewish students from German Universities was published on the morning after Kristallnacht (November 1938) and was strictly imposed.

Objectives: To identity the last Jewish medical students who managed, in spite of the severe restrictions, to continue their study and apply for the examinations in Berlin from summer 1937 through 1938.

Methods: Reviews of the dissertations written in the medical faculty of Berlin during 1937–1938 identified the Jewish students. We presented their demographic and academic characteristics.

Results: Sixteen Jewish students were identified: six Germans, six Americans, and four Eastern Europeans. Their average age was 18.7 ± 1.0 years, 22.5 ± 2.0 years, and 20.8 ± 2.5 years, respectively. The last Jewish student took the exams in July 1938 and submitted a thesis one month later. One German student was half Jewish. Five gained the rights to take the examinations as foreign students by renouncing their German citizenship. They were the main group affected by the government’s restrictions. The American and the Eastern European students were more protected by law.

Conclusions: Each of those groups had different academic careers. The Americans were the last Jewish students allowed to study in Germany. It seems that they were less aware of the national socialist atmosphere in the medical faculty in Berlin during 1937–1938.

David Zahler MD, Ilan Merdler MD, Keren-Lee Rozenfeld MD, Gil Shenberg MD, Assi Milwidsky MD, Shlomo Berliner MD, Shmuel Banai MD, Yaron Arbel MD, and Yacov Shacham MD

Background: Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) was shown to be associated with an increased risk for new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) in ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients undergoing primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); however, the optimal time frame to measure CRP for risk stratification is not known.

Objectives: To evaluate the relation between the change in CRP over time (CRP velocity [CRPv]) and new-onset AF among STEMI patients treated with primary PCI.

Methods: We included 801 STEMI patients who underwent PCI between 2007 and 2017 and had their CRP measured with a wide range assay (wr-CRP) at least twice during the 24 hours after admission. CRPv was defined as the change in wr-CRP concentration (mg/l) divided by the change in time (in hours) between the two measurements. Patient medical records were reviewed for occurrence of new-onset AF.

Results: New onset AF occurred in 45 patients (6%). Patients with new onset AF had significantly higher median CRPv (1.27 vs. 0.43 mg/l/h, P = 0.002). New-onset AF during hospitalization occurred in 3.4%, 4.5 %, and 9.1% of patients in the first, second and third CRPv tertiles, respectively (P for trend = 0.006). In a multivariable logistic regression, adjusting for clinical variables the odds ratios for new onset AF was 1.93 (95% confidence interval 1.0–3.59, P = 0.04) for patients in the third CRPv tertile.

Conclusion: CRPv might be an independent and rapidly measurable biomarker for new-onset AF following primary PCI in STEMI patients.

November 2020
Hezzy Shmueli MD, Arie Steinvil MD, Galit Aviram MD, Sileman Moaad MD, Adam Sharon MD, Achiude Bendet MD, Simon Biner MD, Yacov Shacham MD, Jack Sherez MD, Ricki Megidish MD, Yifat Hasin MD, Ester Elazar MD, Sevan Letourneau-Shesaf MD, Gad Keren MD ,Shlomo Berliner MD, and Yan Topilsky MD

Background: Acute pulmonary embolism (PE) is considered to be one of the most common cardiovascular diseases with considerable mortality. Conflicting data imply possible role for echocardiography in assessing this disease.

Objectives: To determine which of the echo parameters best predicts short-term and long-term mortality in patients with PE.

Methods: We prospectively enrolled 235 patients who underwent computed tomography of pulmonary arteries (CTPA) and transthoracic Echocardiography (TTE) within < 24 hours. TTE included a prospectively designed detailed evaluation of the right heart including right ventricular (RV) myocardial performance index (RIMP), RV end diastolic and end systolic area, RV fractional area change, acceleration time (AT) of pulmonary flow and visual estimation. Interpretation and performance of TTE were blinded to the CTPA results.

Results: Although multiple TTE parameters were associated with PE, all had low discriminative capacity (AUC < 0.7). Parameters associated with 30-day mortality in univariate analysis were acceleration time (AT) < 81 msec (P = 0.04), stroke volume < 44 cc (P = 0.005), and RIMP > 0.42 (P = 0.05). The only RV independent echo parameter associated with poor long-term prognosis (adjusted for significant clinical, and routine echo associates of mortality) was RIMP (hazard ratio 3.0, P = 0.04). The only independent RV echo parameters associated with mortality in PE patients were RIMP (P = 0.05) and AT (P = 0.05). Addition of RIMP to nested models eliminated the significance of all other parameters assessing RV function.

Conclusions: Doppler-based parameters like pulmonary flow AT, RIMP, and stroke volume, have additive value in addition to visual RV estimation to assess prognosis in patients with PE.

July 2020
Michal Levmore-Tamir MD, Giora Weiser MD, Elihay Berliner MD, Matityahu Erlichman MD, Carmit Avnon Ziv MD, Floris Levy-Khademi MD

Background: Stress hyperglycemia (SH) is a common finding in patients in pediatric emergency departments (PED) and has been related to increased morbidity and mortality.

Objectives: To assess the incidence of SH among children visiting the PED. To identify which diseases predispose patients to SH and whether they indicate a worse outcome.

Methods: Data were collected retrospectively from the medical records of all children aged 0–18 years who visited the PED during the years 2010–2014 and who had a glucose level of ≥ 150 mg/dl. Data collected included age, gender, weight, blood glucose level, presence or absence of a pre-existing or a new diagnosis of diabetes mellitus, and previous treatment with medications affecting blood glucose levels or with intravenous fluids containing dextrose. Data were collected regarding hospitalization, duration of hospitalization, discharge diagnosis, and survival status.

Results: The study population included 1245 children with SH, which comprised 2.6% of all patients whose blood glucose level was measured in the PED during the study period. The mean age of children with SH was 49 months; 709 (56.9%) were male. The mean blood glucose level was 184 mg/dl. The rate of hospitalization was 57.8%. The mean duration of hospital stay was 5.6 days and mortality rate was 0.96%. The majority were diagnosed with a respiratory illness.

Conclusions: SH is a common phenomenon among children evaluated in the PED and is associated with a high incidence of hospitalization. It may serve as an additional clinical indicator of disease severity.

April 2020
Richard H.C. Zegers MD PhD

Background: In an effort to alter eye color during World War II, devout Nazi researcher Karin Magnussen had adrenaline eye drops administered to inmates at the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. A Sinti family, with a high prevalence of heterochromia iridis, was forced to participate in this study. Members of this family, as well as other victims, were later killed and had their eyes enucleated and sent to Magnussen for examination. Magnussen articulated the findings of these events in a manuscript that has never been published. The author is the first ophthalmologist to review this manuscript. The generation who experienced the atrocities of World War II will soon be gone and awareness of what happened during this tragic chapter of world history is fading.

Objectives: To describe these events to raise awareness among future generations.

Methods: A literature review and archival search was conducted.

Results: Magnussen’s research was based on an animal study published in 1937. For Magnussen’s study, adrenaline drops were administered to inmates, including a 12-year-old girl from the Sinti family. As there was a reported case of deaf-mutism within the family, Waardenburg syndrome seems to be the most plausible explanation for this family’s heritable heterochromia.

Conclusions: The effort to change eye color was doomed to fail from the beginning because there was a probable diagnosis of Waardenburg syndrome. Extinction of humans for ophthalmological research is an insane act beyond imagination. For the sake of these victims, and for the generations who still feel their pain, it is imperative to tell their stories.

February 2016
Michal Laufer Perl MD, Ariel Finkelstein MD, Miri Revivo MHA, Shlomo Berliner MD, Itzhak Herz MD, Itay Rabinovich MD, Tomer Ziv-Baran PhD, Dalit Gotler, Gad Keren MD, Shmuel Bana MD and Yaron Arbel MD

Background: Atherosclerosis is a systemic disease. Nevertheless, the role of specific biomarkers as indicators for both coronary and carotid diseases is debatable.

Objectives: To evaluate the association of biomarkers with coronary and carotid disease.

Methods: We studied 522 consecutive patients with stable angina. All underwent coronary angiography and carotid duplex study on the same day. Patients with no apparent carotid plaques were evaluated for carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) using an automated system that sampled over 100 samples in each carotid artery. Biochemical markers of cardiovascular disease risk were obtained at the time of coronary angiography, including serum lipid levels, hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c), white blood cell count, fibrinogen and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP).

Results: The mean age of the patients was 66 ± 11; 73% were males. Significant carotid stenosis was associated with higher hs-CRP (9.4 ± 17 vs. 6.3 ± 13 mg/L, P = 0.001), while high HbA1c (6.7 ± 1.6 vs. 5.8 ± 0.8%, P < 0.001) and low high density lipoprotein levels (40 ± 9 vs. 47 ± 14 mg/dl, P < 0.001) were linked with advanced coronary artery disease severity. In contrast, CIMT was not related to any of the biomarkers evaluated.

Conclusions: Although atherosclerosis is considered a systemic disease, different biomarkers are associated with coronary and carotid artery disease. Identifying the specific biomarkers for each disease is important for both prevention and for exposing the underlying pathophysiologic mechanism.


August 2015
Yaron Arbel MD, Assi Milwidsky MD, Ariel Finkelstein MD, Amir Halkin MD, Miri Revivo MHA, Shlomo Berliner MD PhD, Martin Ellis MD, Itzhak Herz MD, Gad Keren MD and Shmuel Banai MD

Background: Anemia confers an adverse prognosis in patients with ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). Several mechanisms have been implicated in the etiology of anemia in this setting, including inflammation, blood loss, and the presence of comorbidities such as renal failure.

Objectives: To evaluate the adequacy of bone marrow response as potentially reflected by elevation in blood and reticulocyte counts.

Methods: Consecutive men with STEMI who underwent primary percutaneous intervention within 6 hours of symptom onset and who presented to our catheterization laboratory during a 36 month period were included in the study. The cohort was divided into quartiles according to hemoglobin concentration, and differences in clinical and laboratory characteristics between the groups were evaluated.

Results: A total of 258 men with STEMI were recruited, 22% of whom suffered from anemia according to the World Health Organization classification (hemoglobin < 13 g/dl). Men in the lowest quartile of hemoglobin concentration presented with significantly lower white blood cell and platelet counts (9.6 ± 2.9 vs. 12.6 ± 3.6 x103/µl, P < 0.001) and (231 ± 79 vs. 263 ± 8 x103/µl, P < 0.01), respectively, despite higher inflammatory biomarkers (C-reactive protein and fibrinogen) compared with patients in the upper hemoglobin concentration quartile. Reticulocyte production index was not significantly higher in anemic patients with a value of 1.8, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 in the ascending hemoglobin quartiles, respectively (P = 0.292). 

Conclusions: Anemic men with STEMI have relatively lower leukocyte and platelet counts as well as a reduced reticulocyte count despite higher inflammatory biomarkers. These findings might suggest inadequate bone marrow response. 


April 2015
Eran Leshem-Rubinow MD, Shani Shenhar-Tsarfaty PhD, Assi Milwidsky MD, Sharon Toker PhD, Itzhak Shapira MD, Shlomo Berliner MD, Yael Benyamini PhD, Samuel Melamed PhD and Ori Rogowski MD


Background: A single self-rated health (SRH) assessment is associated with clinical outcome and mortality, but the biological process linking SRH with immune status remains incompletely understood.

Objectives: To examine the association between SRH and inflammation in apparently healthy individuals.

Methods: Our analysis included 13,773 apparently healthy individuals attending the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center for periodic health examinations. Estimated marginal means of the inflammation-sensitive biomarkers [i.e., highly sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and fibrinogen] for the different SRH groups were calculated and adjusted for multiple potential confounders including risk factors, health behavior, socioeconomic status, and coexistent depression.

Results: The group with the lowest SRH had a significantly higher atherothrombotic profile and significantly higher concentrations of all inflammation-sensitive biomarkers in both genders. Hs-CRP was found to differ significantly between SRH groups in both genders even after gradual adjustments for all potential confounders. Fibrinogen differs significantly according to SRH in males only, with low absolute value differences.

Conclusions: A valid association exists for apparently healthy individuals of both genders between inflammation-sensitive biomarker levels and SRH categories, especially when comparing levels of hs-CRP. Our findings underscore the importance of assessing SRH and treating it like other markers of poor health.

February 2011
T. Berlin, A. Meyer, P. Rotman-Pikielny, A. Natur and Y. Levy

Background: Many patients in the internal medicine ward have anemia. The etiology for the anemia may be multifactorial and, in the setting of inflammatory process when the ferritin is increased, it is difficult to diagnose iron deficiency anemia. Soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR) had been suggested as an indicator for iron deficiency. No study has investigated the meaning of high sTfR as the only positive marker of iron deficiency anemia (IDA) caused by gastrointestinal tract (GIT) bleeding in hospitalized patients.

Objectives: To demonstrate the importance of high levels of sTfR as a marker for further GIT investigation in cases of anemia where the level of ferritin was normal or increased

Methods: We retrospectively assessed all patients in an internal medicine ward in our facility with anemia, high sTfR[1] levels (> 5.0 mg/L) and normal or high ferritin levels who underwent esophagogastroduodenoscopy and colonoscopy.

Results: Of 32 patients with anemia and normal or high ferritin levels and high sTfR, 22 patients (68%) had findings that explained IDA[2] (in some patients more than one finding). Those findings were colonic polyps (n=9), carcinoma of colon (n=4), duodenal ulcer (n=4), carcinoma of stomach (n=3), colitis (n=3), atrophic gastritis (n=1), erosive gastritis (n=1) and angiodysplasia (n=1).

Conclusions: High sTfR may be a good indicator of IDA caused by GIT[3] bleeding when the ferritin level is normal or high. GIT investigation is warranted in such cases.

[1] sTfR = soluble transferrin receptor

[2] IDA = iron deficiency anemia

[3] GIT = gastrointestinal tracgt

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