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עמוד בית
Fri, 30.09.22

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October 2021
Rotem Shpatz MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory and destructive joint disease with the presence of autoantibodies, rheumatoid factor (RF), and anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA). The presence of RF or ACPA predicts RA severity. Data on the influence of ACPA titer on RA course are limited.

Objectives: To determine the correlation between ACPA titers at the time of RA diagnosis to RA features and severity during 3 years of follow-up.

Methods: We performed a retrospective study of RA patients treated at our institution during the years 2006–2015 with known ACPA titers at RA diagnosis who completed at least 3 years of follow-up. Patients (N=133) were divided according to ACPA titer: seronegative (< 15 U/ml, n=55), weakly positive (15–49 U/ml, n=18), moderately positive (50–300 U/ml, n=29), and strongly positive (> 300 U/ml, n=31). Patient data, including disease activity score (DAS28), bone erosion on hand and/or foot X-rays, treatments with corticosteroids and disease-modifying-anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs), and hospitalizations, were recorded. Chi-square and Mann-Whitney method were used for statistical analysis. P < 0.05 was considered as statistically significant.

Results: Male gender, smoking, and RF positivity correlated with ACPA positivity and higher ACPA titers. There was no correlation between ACPA titer and the variables defined as representing RA severity: higher DAS28, bone erosions, hospitalizations, need for corticosteroids, and conventional and biological DMARDs.

Conclusions: Titer of ACPA was not identified as a predictive factor for RA severity

July 2021
Moshe Y. Flugelman MD, Ruth Margalit MD, Ami Aronheim PhD, Omri Barak PhD, Assaf Marom MD PhD, Katya Dolnikov MD, Eyal Braun MD, Ayelet Raz-Pasteur MD, Zaher S. Azzam MD, David Hochstein MD, Riad Haddad MD, Rachel Nave PhD, Arieh Riskin MD, Dan Waisman MD, Robert Glueck MD, Michal Mekel MD, Yael Avraham BSc, Uval Bar-Peled BSc, Ronit Kacev MA, Michal Keren BA, Amir Karban MD, and Elon Eisenberg MD

Background: The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic forced drastic changes in all layers of life. Social distancing and lockdown drove the educational system to uncharted territories at an accelerated pace, leaving educators little time to adjust.

Objectives: To describe changes in teaching during the first phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: We described the steps implemented at the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology Faculty of Medicine during the initial 4 months of the COVID-19 pandemic to preserve teaching and the academic ecosystem. 

Results: Several established methodologies, such as the flipped classroom and active learning, demonstrated effectiveness. In addition, we used creative methods to teach clinical medicine during the ban on bedside teaching and modified community engagement activities to meet COVID-19 induced community needs. 

Conclusions: The challenges and the lessons learned from teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted us to adjust our teaching methods and curriculum using multiple online teaching methods and promoting self-learning. It also provided invaluable insights on our pedagogy and the teaching of medicine in the future with emphasis on students and faculty being part of the changes and adjustments in curriculum and teaching methods. However, personal interactions are essential to medical school education, as are laboratories, group simulations, and bedside teaching

November 2020
Katya Dolnikov MD, Gai Milo MD, Suheir Assady MD, Robert Dragu MD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
August 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Devy Zisman MD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD
May 2020
Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Yonit Tavor MD, Doron Markovits MD PhD, Kohava Toledano MD, Alexander Rozin MD, Menahem A. Nahir MD PhD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Behçet's disease is a multi-systemic chronic relapsing inflammatory disease, classified among the vasculitides. The heterogeneity of clinical manifestations challenges the disease management.

Objectives: To assess efficacy and safety of adalimumab in patients with active persistent Behçet's arthritis who did not respond to disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs and to assess the impact of treatment on the cytokine milieu.

Methods: Our cohort comprised 10 patients with active arthritis who received adalimumab in a 24-week investigator-initiated prospective open-label study. Patients who relapsed within 12 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation could enter a 3-year extension study. The patients underwent a comprehensive assessment including questionnaires and measurement of inflammatory cytokines, adalimumab serum levels, and anti-drug antibodies.

Results: A significant improvement was observed in arthritis, disease activity visual analogue scales, Behçet's disease current activity form, and interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, but not in health assessment questionnaire and functional assessment of chronic illness therapy fatigue scale questionnaire. Resolution of oral and urogenital ulcers was achieved in all patients. Significant reduction of pain was reported by 40% of patients. The disease relapsed in 9 of 10 patients, within 2–6 weeks following adalimumab discontinuation. Of the 7 patients who continued the study, arthritis was resolved in 5. Two patients with high neutralizing antidrug antibodies titer relapsed.

Conclusions: Adalimumab treatment achieved a significant improvement in arthritis, mucocutaneous manifestations, and IL-6 levels in all study patients but only 40% reported significant pain reduction. The arthritis relapsed in 90% of patients following adalimumab discontinuation and long-term treatment was required.

January 2019
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Vika Shataylo BSc and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD

Background: The aggregation of autoimmune diseases in relatives (AID-R) of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc) has been reported.

Objectives: To analyze the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in SSc relatives and to compare their features to those of SSc patients without AID-R (controls).

Methods: A case-control analysis compared SSc patients with AID-R to those without AID-R (25 patients) with similar disease duration.

Results: Among 322 patients, 25 (7.7%; 21 females, 41.4 ± 15.6 years of age, disease duration 11 ± 8.6 years) had AID-R (21 had a first-degree relative, 4 had a second-degree relative, and 2 had both). Fourteen patients (56%) and five controls (20%) had an additional autoimmune disease (P < 0.009). Diffuse SSc (48% vs. 24%) and arthritis (72% vs. 28%) were more frequent among the patients with AID-R than the controls (P < 0.05). No significant differences were found regarding lung, heart, vascular, and digestive system involvement. The mean number of additional autoimmune diseases was 0.84 ± 0.94 in AID-R vs. 0.24 ± 0.52 in controls (P < 0.038). The mean number of autoantibodies was 2.8 ± 1.5 and 2.2 ± 0.9 (P < 0.047). Five patients died during follow-up, four of whom had AID-R. Relatives of SSc patients had diverse autoimmune diseases; the prevalence of SSc in scleroderma relatives was 1.86% (2 in first-degree and 6 in second-degree relatives). SSc patients with AID-R had an obvious tendency to polyautoimmunity.

Conclusion: A precise family history is an important clue in prognosis and prediction of autoimmune diseases in SSc patients and their relatives.

Jonathan Braun, Albert Grinshpun MD MSc, Karin Atlan MD, Sigal Sachar MD, Adi Knigen MD, Liron Yosha-Orpaz PhD, Simona Grozinsky-Glasberg MD, Tawfik Khoury MD and Dean Nachman MD
December 2018
Eviatar Nesher MD, Marius Braun MD, Sigal Eizner MD, Assaf Issachar MD, Michal Cohen MD, Amir Shlomai MD PhD, Michael Gurevich MD, Ran Tur-Kaspa MD and Eytan Mor MD

Background: The lack of organs for liver transplantation has prompted transplant professionals to study potential solutions, such as the use of livers from donors older than 70 years. This strategy is not widely accepted because potential risks of vascular and biliary complications and recurrence of hepatitis C.

Objectives: To examine the efficacy and safety of liver grafts from older donors for transplantation.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of data on 310 adults who underwent deceased donor liver transplantation between 2005 and 2015 was conducted. We compared graft and recipient survival, as well as major complications, of transplants performed with grafts from donors younger than 70 years (n=265, control group) and those older than 70 years (n=45, older-donor group), followed by multivariate analysis, to identify risk factors.

Results: There was no significant difference between the control and older-donor group at 1, 5, and 10 years of recipient survival (79.5% vs. 73.3%, 68.3% vs. 73.3%, 59.2% vs. 66.7%, respectively) or graft survival (74.0% vs. 71.0%, 62.7% vs. 71.0%, 54.8% vs. 64.5%, respectively). The rate of biliary and vascular complications was similar in both groups. Significant risk factors for graft failure were hepatitis C (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.92, 95% confidence interval [95%CI] 1.16–2.63), older donor age (HR = 1.02, 95%CI 1.007–1.031), and male gender of the recipient (HR = 1.65, 95%CI 1.06–2.55).

Conclusion: Donor age affects liver graft survival. However, grafts from donors older than 70 years may be equally safe if cold ischemia is maintained for less than 8 hours.

September 2015
Rina Elimelech BDS, Yaniv Mayer DMD, Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD, Eli E. Machtei DMD and Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD

Background: Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a chronic disease with prominent vasculopathy, inflammation, production of autoantibodies, and tissue fibrosis. Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory oral condition manifesting as microbial infection, inflammation and destruction of the alveolar bone. In both conditions tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) and other pro-inflammatory cytokines play an important role in pathogenesis. 

Objectives: To assess the periodontal status in SSc patients and compare these parameters to TNFα level in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) of SSc patients and healthy controls.

Methods: Twenty SSc patients and 20 controls underwent periodontal examination, including probing depth (PD), plaque index (PI), gingival index (GI), bleeding on probing (BOP), and measurement of TNFα levels in collected GCF. 

Results: SSc patients had a greater PD (3.74 ± 0.32 mm vs. 3.35 ± 0.31 mm, P > 0.003), GI (1.53 ± 0.34 vs. 1.12 ± 0.54, P > 0.049), and non-significantly higher BOP than controls. TNFα levels in GCF were higher in SSc patients (1.63 ± 0.36 vs. 1.15 ± 0.34 pg/ml, P = 0.001). Periodontitis parameters correlated with several SSc variables; PI in particular was higher in patients with longer disease duration, sclerodactyly, more severe skin involvement, and SSc activity score.

Conclusions: Patients with SSc have higher indices of periodontal inflammation and higher TNFα level in GCF than did healthy individuals. These changes probably reflect the complexity of factors that influence oral health in SSc. Common pathologic pathways may be responsible for the association between SSc and periodontitis, which requires further study.

 

March 2015
Alexandra Balbir-Gurman MD, Mordechai Yigla MD, Ludmila Guralnik MD, Emilia Hardak MD, Anna Solomonov MD, Alexander P. Rozin MD, Kohava Toledano MD, Amir Dagan MD, Rema Bishara MD, Doron Markovits MD PhD, Menahem A. Nahir MD and Yolanda Braun-Moscovici MD

Abstract

Background: Scleroderma lung disease (ILD-SSc) is treated mainly with cyclophosphamide (CYC). The effectiveness of CYC was judged after 12–24 months in most reports.

Objectives: To analyze the effect of monthly intravenous CYC on pulmonary function tests including forced vital capacity (FVC) and diffusing lung capacity (DLCO), as well as Rodnan skin score (mRSS), during long-term follow-up.

Methods: We retrospectively collected the data on 26 ILD-SSc patients who began CYC treatments before 2007. Changes in FVC, DLCO and mRSS before treatment, and at 1, 4 and 7 years after completion of at least six monthly intravenous CYC treatments for ILD-SSc were analyzed.

Results: Mean cumulative CYC dose was 8.91 ± 3.25 G. More than 30% reduction in FVC (0%, 8%, and 31% of patients), DLCO (15%, 23%, 31%), and mRSS (31%, 54%, 62%) at years 1, 4 and 7 was registered. During the years 0–4 and 4–7, annual changes in FVC, DLCO and mRSS were 3.2 vs. 0.42% (P < 0.040), 4.6 vs. 0.89% (P < 0.001), and 1.8 vs. 0.2 (P = 0.002). The greatest annual FVC and DLCO reduction over the first 4 years correlated with mortality (P = 0.022). There were no differences in the main variables regarding doses of CYC (< 6 G and > 6 G).

Conclusions: In patients with ILD-SSc, CYC stabilized the reduction of FVC during treatment, but this effect was not persistent. The vascular characteristic of ILD-SSc (DLCO) was not affected by CYC treatment. CYC rapidly improved the mRSS. This effect could be achieved with at least 6 G of CYC. Higher rates of annual reduction in FVC and DLCO in the first 4 years indicate the narrow window of opportunity and raise the question regarding ongoing immunosuppression following CYC infusions.

 

August 2013
A. Dagan, D. Markovits, Y. Braun-Moscovici, A. Rozin, K. Toledano and A. Balbir-Gurman
June 2013
O. Ben-Ishay, E. Brauner, Z. Peled, A. Othman, B. Person and Y. Kluger
 Background: Colon cancer is common, affecting mostly older people. Since age is a risk factor, young patients might not be awarded the same attention as older ones regarding symptoms that could imply the presence of colon cancer.

Objectives: To investigate whether young patients, i.e., under age 50, complain of symptoms for longer than older patients until the diagnosis of colon cancer is established.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, patients were divided into two groups: < 50 years old (group 1) and ≥ 50 (group 2). All had undergone surgery for left or right colon cancer during the 1 year period January 2000 through December 2009 at one medical center. Rectal and sigmoid cancers were excluded. Data collected included age, gender, quantity and quality of complaints, duration of complaints, in-hospital versus community diagnosis, pathological staging, the side of colon involved, and overall mortality. The main aim was the quality and duration of complaints. Secondary outcomes were the pathological stage at presentation and the mortality rate.

Results: The study group comprised 236 patients: 31 (13.1%) were < 50 years old and 205 (86.9%) were ≥ 50 years. No significant difference was found in the quantity and quality of complaints between the two groups. Patients in group 1 (< 50 years) complained for a longer period, 5.3 vs. 2.4 months (P = 0.002). More younger patients were diagnosed with stage IV disease (38.7% vs. 21.5%, P = 0.035) and fewer had stage I disease (3.2% vs. 15.6%, P = 0.06); the mortality rates were similar (41.9% vs. 39%). Applying a stepwise logistic regression model, the duration of complaints was found to be an independent predictor of mortality (P = 0.03, OR 1.6, 95% CI 1–3.6), independently of age (P = 0.003) and stage (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Younger patients are more often diagnosed with colon cancer later, at a more advanced stage. Alertness to patients’ complaints, together with evaluation regardless of age but according to symptoms and clinical presentation are crucial. Large-scale population-based studies are needed to confirm this trend. 

December 2012
November 2012
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