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עמוד בית
Thu, 23.05.24

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September 2012
A. Bar-Shai, B. Tiran, M. Topilsky, J. Greif, I. Fomin Irina and Y. Schwarz

Background: Most studies on asbestos-related diseases describe the associations between exposure and disease and the factors influencing that association. It is recognized that there is a long latency period between exposure and disease, but the health status of affected individuals after long-term non-exposure is uncertain.

Objectives: To describe the changes in pulmonary function tests (PFTs) and computed tomographic imaging of the thorax over a 15 year period after cessation of exposure to asbestos in a cohort of Israeli power plant workers.

Methods: Israeli power plant workers whose PFTs and thoracic CT imaging between 1993 and 1998 revealed asbestos-related disease underwent a second clinical, functional and imaging evaluation up to 15 years later. The two sets of results were compared.

Results: Of the original cohort of 59 males, 35 were still alive, and 18 of them agreed to take part in the current study. The mean length of their exposure was 30 ± 10.06 years (range 7–43 years). Comparison of the initial and follow-up examination findings revealed a significant increase in calcification of the pleural plaques (from 37% to 66%, P = 0.008) and a deterioration in PFTs (P = 0.04). Of the 24 men who died, malignant disease was the cause of death in 53%, mostly in sites other than the respiratory system.

Conclusions: PFTs declined and CT findings worsened in subjects who were formerly exposed to asbestos and had not been exposed to it for over a decade. Continued monitoring of individuals exposed to asbestos, even decades after the cessation of exposure, is recommended.
 

December 2011
G. Goodman and M. Eric Gershwin

Physicians have a great interest in discussions of life and its origin, including life's persistence through successive cycles of self-replication under extreme climatic and man-made trials and tribulations. We review here the fundamental processes that, contrary to human intuition, life may be seen heuristically as an ab initio, fundamental process at the interface between the complementary forces of gravitation and quantum mechanics. Analogies can predict applications of quantum mechanics to human physiology in addition to that already being applied, in particular to aspects of brain activity and pathology. This potential will also extend eventually to, for example, autoimmunity, genetic selection and aging. We present these thoughts in perspective against a background of changes in some physical fundamentals of science, from the earlier times of the natural philosophers of medicine to the technological medical gurus of today. Despite the enormous advances in medical science, including integration of technological changes that have led to the newer clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging and PET scans and of computerized drug design, there is an intellectual vacuum as to how the physics of matter became translated to the biology of life. The essence and future of medicine continue to lie in cautious, systematic and ethically bound practice and scientific research based on fundamental physical laws accepted as true until proven false.
 

November 2011
M. Kinori, T. Wygnanski-Jaffe and R. Huna-Baron

Background: Pediatric functional visual loss (FVL) is the loss of vision in a child that cannot be explained by an organic pathology. In the last decade, only a few studies on pediatric FVL have reported long-term patient follow-up.

Objectives: To report the characteristics of pediatric FVL with long-term follow-up in Israeli children.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of the medical records of patients with FVL from 2000 to 2010. Only children with adequate follow-up (at least 2 months) were included.

Results: Of the 12 patients identified, 9 were females. Mean patient age was 10.5 ± 4.4 years (range 3.5–17 years). Most children (75%) had bilateral visual loss. One patient had a history of psychiatric illness and in three patients a preceding psychosocial event/trauma was identified. Brain imaging and electrophysiology testing (if done) were normal in all cases. No medications were prescribed to any of the patients, and all were reassured that there was a high chance of spontaneous resolution. The follow-up time was 2–108 months (mean 23.8 months, median 6). During the follow-up period 9 of the 12 had complete resolution and 2 had relief of symptoms. Three patients reported a recurrence of symptoms. No organic disease was ever diagnosed in this group.

Conclusions: FVL may occur in all age groups, including children. In cases of visual loss, it is usually bilateral and can involve both acuity and visual field loss. In the present report most of the patients experienced normalization or relief of their symptoms without medical treatment.
 

October 2011
T. Wolak, A. Belkin, V. Ginsburg, G. Greenberg, O. Mayzler, A. Bolotin, E. Paran and G. Szendro

Background: Percutaneous angioplasty (PTA) and stenting is an established procedure for the treatment of hypertension caused by atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis. However recently, the decision whether or not to perform this procedure has raised considerable debate.

Objectives: To examine the association between the basic clinical and radiological characteristics of candidates for renal artery PTA and the clinical outcome of the procedure in terms of improvement of blood pressure control and renal function.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of all patients who underwent percutaneous transluminal renal artery angioplasty (PTRA) and stent implantation in a tertiary medical center during the period 2000–2007. The clinical and radiological data were extracted from the medical file of each patient. Blood pressure measurements and creatinine level were recorded before the procedure and 1 month, 6 months, 12 months and 18 months after PTRA.

Results: Thirty-two patients were included in the final statistical analysis. The mean age of the study population was 66.6 ± 8.8 years old and 75% were men. There was a significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure 1 month after the procedure: 160.5 ± 24.7 vs. 141.8 ± 23.6 mmHg and 83.8 ± 12.9 vs. 68.8 ± 11.8 mmHg respectively (P < 0.001). The reduction in blood pressure was constant throughout the follow-up period and was evident 18 months after the procedure: 160.5 ± 24.7 vs. 135.0 ± 35.1 mmHg and 83.8 ± 12.9 vs. 71.3 ± 16.5 mmHg respectively (P < 0.001). However, no improvement in renal function was observed at any time during the follow-up period. We could not demonstrate an association between clinical or radiological features and the clinical outcome after PTRA.

Conclusions: Our findings show that PTRA[1] can be considered an effective procedure for improving blood pressure control in patients with atherosclerotic renal artery stenosis (ARAS) and resistant hypertension. This research, together with previous studies, strengthens the knowledge that the decline in glomerular filtration rate seen in many patients with ARAS is non-reversible and is not improved by PTRA.






[1] PTRA = percutaneous transluminal renal artery angioplasty


May 2011
E. Hayim Mizrahi, A. Waitzman, M. Arad and A. Adunsky

Background: Total cholesterol is significantly associated with increased risk of ischemic stroke. Patients with ischemic stroke and high cholesterol levels may show better functional outcome after rehabilitation.

Objectives: To study the possible interrelations between hypercholesterolemia and functional outcome in elderly survivors of ischemic stroke.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review study of consecutive patients (age ≥ 60 years) with acute stroke admitted to a geriatric rehabilitation ward in a university-affiliated hospital. The presence or absence of hypercholesterolemia was based on registry data positive for hypercholesterolemia, defined as total cholesterol ≥ 200 mg/dl (5.17 mmol/L). Functional outcome of patients with hypercholesterolemia (Hchol) and without (NHchol) was assessed by the Functional Independence Measurement scale (FIMTM) at admission and discharge. Data were analyzed by t-test and chi-square test, as well as linear regression analysis.

Results: The complete data for 551 patients (age range 60–96 years)w ere available for final analysis; 26.7% were diagnosed as having hypercholesterolemia. Admission total FIM[1] scores were significantly higher in patients with Hchol[2] (72.1 ± 24.8) compared with NHchol[3] patients (62.2 ± 24.7) (P < 0.001). A similar difference was found at discharge (Hchol 90.8 ± 27.9 vs. NHchol 79.7 ± 29.2, P < 0.001). However, total FIM change upon discharge was similar in both groups (18.7 ± 13.7 vs. 17.6 ± 13.7, P = 0.4). Regression analyses showed that high Mini Mental State Examination scores (β = 0.13, P = 0.01) and younger age (β = -0.12, P = 0.02) were associated with higher total FIM change scores upon discharge. Total cholesterol was not associated with better total FIM change on discharge (β = -0.012, P = 0.82).

Conclusions: Elderly survivors of stroke with Hchol who were admitted for rehabilitation showed higher admission and discharge FIM scores but similar functional FIM gains as compared to NHchol patients. High cholesterol levels may be useful in identifying older individuals with a better rehabilitation potential.






[1] FIM = Functional Independence Measurement



[2] Hcol = hypercholesterolemia



[3] NHchol = non-hypercholesterolemia


March 2011
G. Kerekes, P. Soltész, G. Szűcs, S. Szamosi, H. Dér, Z. Szabó, L. Csáthy, A. Váncsa, P. Szodoray, G. Szegedi and Z. Szekanecz

Background: Increased cardiovascular morbidity has become a leading cause of mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) inhibitors may influence flow-mediated vasodilation (FMD) of the brachial artery, common carotid intima-media thickness (ccIMT) and arterial stiffness indicated by pulse-wave velocity (PWV) in RA.

Objectives: To assess the effects of adalimumab treatment on FMD[1], ccIMT[2] and PWV[3] in early RA[4].

Methods: Eight RA patients with a disease duration ≤ 1 year received 40 mg adalimumab subcutaneously every 2 weeks. Ultrasound was used to assess brachial FMD and ccIMT. PWV was determined by arteriograph. These parameters were correlated with C-reacive protein, vonWillebrand factor (vWF), immunoglobulin M (IgM)-rheumatoid factor (RF), anti-CCP levels and 28-joint Disease Activity Score (DAS28).

Results: Adalimumab therapy successfully ameliorated arthritis as it decreased CRP[5] levels (P = 0.04) and DAS28[6] (P < 0.0001). Endothelial function (FMD) improved in comparison to baseline (P < 0.05). ccIMT decreased after 24 weeks, indicating a mean 11.9% significant improvement (P = 0.002). Adalimumab relieved arterial stiffness (PWV) after 24 weeks. Although plasma vWF[7] levels decreased only non-significantly after 12 weeks of treatment, an inverse correlation was found between FMD and vWF (R = -0.643, P = 0.007). FMD also inversely correlated with CRP (R = -0.596, P = 0.015). CRP and vWF also correlated with each other (R = 0.598, P = 0.014). PWV and ccIMT showed a positive correlation (R = 0.735, P = 0.038).

Conclusions: Treatment with adalimumab exerted favorable effects on disease activity and endothelial dysfunction. It also ameliorated carotid atherosclerosis and arterial stiffness in patients with early RA. Early adalimumab therapy may have an important role in the prevention and management of vascular comorbidity in RA.






[1] FMD = flow-mediated vasodilation



[2] ccIMT = common carotid intima-media thickness



[3] PWV = pulse-wave velocity



[4] RA = rheumatoid arthritis



[5] CRP = C-reactive protein



[6] DAS28 = 28-joint Disease Activity Score



[7] vWF = vonWillebrand factor


January 2011
E. Bar-Yishay, A. Avital, C. Springer and I. Amirav

Background: In infants, small volume nebulizers with a face mask are commonly used to facilitate aerosol therapy. However, infants may be disturbed by mask application, causing poor mask-to-face seal and thus reducing the dose delivered.

Objectives: To compare lung function response to bronchodilator nebulization via two delivery devices: hood versus mask.

Methods: We studied 26 recurrently wheezy infants aged 45.8 weeks (95% confidence interval 39.6–52.0). Inhalations of 0.30 mg/kg salbutamol were administered in two alliqots 30 minutes apart using mask and hood in alternating order (M+H or H+M). Response to inhalations was measured by maximal expiratory flows at functional residual capacity at 5 minute intervals after each dose, and area under the VmaxFRC[1] curve was documented.

Results: A small but significant response to salbutamol was observed following the second inhalation with VmaxFRC, improving by 31.7% (7.2–56.2, P < 0.02) and AUC[2] by 425 %min (-154, 1004; P < 0.02). The improvement following salbutamol was similar by both delivery modalities but with a small but significantly better response when H was used after M (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: Nebulized salbutamol induced a variable but positive response in wheezy infants. Salbutamol via hood was as effective as conventional face mask delivery. Since it is simple and patient-friendly, it could replace the face mask method particularly with uncooperative infants.






[1] Vmax FRC = maximal expiratory flow at functional residual capacity



[2] AUC = area under the VmaxFRC curve


September 2010
I. Berger and G. Goldzweig

Background: Most aspects of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnosis rely on subjective judgment. Computerized continuous performance tests are designed to improve the validity of the process but are controversial due to low odds ratios. There is a need to find more definitive measures of assessment.

Objectives: To test the validity and reliability of a new tool, a computerized continuous performance functions test, which includes a multi-task approach designed to achieve a higher odds ratio of assessment.

Methods: We applied this test to 58 children aged 6–12 years: 45 were diagnosed as ADHD[1] and 13 non-ADHD children served as a control group.

Results: The CPF[2] test was able to differentiate between non-ADHD and ADHD children. CPF test results were more accurate than other continuous performance tests. The results were statistically significant in all test parameters, confirming the test's validity and reliability. 

Conclusions: The CPF test includes a combination of tasks based on an algorithm designed to test several domains of attention. In this pilot study the CPF test was found to be a valid and reliable tool for the diagnosis of ADHD in children. This test might increase the diagnostic utility of computerized tests. The research points to the need for developing a more definitive process for ADHD diagnosis.

 






[1] ADHD = attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder



[2] CPF = continuous performance functions


D. Mutlak, D. Aronson, J. Lessick, S.A. Reisner, S. Dabbah and Y. Agmon

Background: Trans-aortic pressure gradient in patients with aortic stenosis and left ventricular systolic dysfunction is typically low but occasionally high.

Objectives: To examine the distribution of trans-aortic PG[1] in patients with severe AS[2] and severe LV[3] dysfunction and compare the clinical and echocardiographic characteristics and outcome of patients with high versus low PG.

Methods: Using the echocardiographic laboratory database at our institution, 72 patients with severe AS (aortic valve area ≤ 1.0 cm2) and severe LV dysfunction (LV ejection fraction ≤ 30%) were identified. The characteristics and outcome of these patients were compared.

Results: PG was high (mean PG ≥ 35 mmHg) in 32 patients (44.4%) and low (< 35 mmHg) in 40 (55.6%). Aortic valve area was slightly smaller in patients with high PG (0.63 ± 0.15 vs. 0.75 ± 0.16 cm2 in patients with low PG, P = 0.003), and LV ejection fraction was slightly higher in patients with high PG (26 ± 5 vs. 22 ± 5% in patients with low PG, P = 0.005). During a median follow-up period of 9 months 14 patients (19%) underwent aortic valve replacement and 46 patients (64%) died. Aortic valve replacement was associated with lower mortality (age and gender-adjusted hazard ratio 0.19, 95% confidence interval 0.05–0.82), whereas trans-aortic PG was not (P = 0.41).

Conclusions: A large proportion of patients with severe AS have relatively high trans-aortic PG despite severe LV dysfunction, a finding partially related to more severe AS and better LV function. Trans-aortic PG is not related to outcome in these patients.






[1] PG = pressure gradient



[2] AAS = aortic stenosis



[3] LV = left ventricular


November 2009
A. Amital, D. Shitrit, B.D. Fox, Y. Raviv, L.Fuks, I. Terner and M.R. Kramer

Background: Blunt chest trauma can cause severe acute pulmonary dysfunction due to hemo/pneumothorax, rib fractures and lung contusion.

Objectives: To study the long-term effects on lung function tests after patients' recovery from severe chest trauma.

Methods: We investigated the outcome and lung function tests in 13 patients with severe blunt chest trauma and lung contusion.

Results: The study group comprised 9 men and 4 women with an average age of 44.6 ± 13 years (median 45 years). Ten had been injured in motor vehicle accidents and 3 had fallen from a height. In addition to lung contusion most of them had fractures of more than three ribs and hemo/pneumothorax. Ten patients were treated with chest drains. Mean intensive care unit stay was 11 days (median 3) and mechanical ventilation 19 (0–60) days. Ten patients had other concomitant injuries. Mean forced expiratory volume in the first second was 81.2 ± 15.3%, mean forced vital capacity was 85 ± 13%, residual volume was 143 ± 33.4%, total lung capacity was 101 ± 14% and carbon monoxide diffusion capacity 87 ± 24. Post-exercise oxygen saturation was normal in all patients (97 ± 1.5%), and mean oxygen consumption max/kg was 18 ± 4.3 ml/kg/min (60.2 ± 15%). FEV1[1]. was significantly lower among smokers (71.1 ± 12.2 vs. 89.2 ± 13.6%, P = 0.017). There was a non-significant tendency towards lower FEV1 among patients who underwent mechanical ventilation.

Conclusions: Late after severe trauma involving lung contusion, substantial recovery is demonstrated with improved pulmonary function tests. These results encourage maximal intensive care in these patients. Further larger studies are required to investigate different factors affecting prognosis.

 

 






[1] FEV1 = forced expiratory volume in the first second


October 2009
U. Nussinovitch, U. Katz, M. Nussinovitch and N. Nussinovitch

Background: Familial dysautonomia is a genetic disease that affects the sensory and autonomic nervous systems with varying severity. The deep breath test is one of several measures used to assess the severity of autonomic diseases, but its value in familial dysautonomia has not yet been investigated.

Objectives: To determine the diagnostic value of the DBT[1] in patients with familial dysautonomia.

Methods: Eight patients with familial dysautonomia and eight healthy volunteers were examined by electrocardiography for 1 minute at rest and during forced deep breathing. The following values were recorded: maximum expiratory and minimum inspiratory heart rate and the difference between them (ΔE/I), standard deviation of the heart rate values, interbeat intervals, and E/I[2] ratio. Spectral power analysis of heart rate variability was also performed.

Results: The patients with familial dysautonomia showed a lesser change in heart rate in response to the change in breathing pattern than the controls. Mean values in the study group were significantly higher for minimal inspiratory heart rate and significantly lower for ΔE/I, heart rate standard deviation and E/I ratio, indicating a non-flexible heart response and abnormal parasympathetic function. These findings were supported by power spectral analysis.

Conclusions: Patients with familial dysautonomia have a significantly disturbed response to physiological stimuli. The DBT may serve as a reliable means to quantify autonomic dysfunction in this patient population.






[1] DBT = deep breathing test



[2] E/I = expiratory/inspiratory


August 2009
S. Godfrey, C. Springer and E. Bar-Yishay
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