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עמוד בית
Mon, 06.02.23

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March 2007
A. Farfel, M.S. Green, T. Shochat, I. Noyman, Y. Levy and A. Afek

Background: Most Israeli males aged 16–17 undergo a thorough medical examination prior to recruitment into the army. During the last 50 years, extensive data have been gathered enabling a study of time trends in the prevalence of common diseases in this age group.

Objectives: To examine the current prevalence of common diseases, compare the results with those of previous cohorts, and assess the influence of the massive immigration during the 1990s.         

Methods: The health examination at the recruitment centers includes a medical history, complete physical examination, and review of medical documentation provided by the family physician. If needed, additional tests and referral to specialists are ordered. The prevalence of selected diseases and severity was drawn from the computerized database of the classification board. Two cohorts, 1992–94 and 2003–04, were examined and compared with three previous cohort studies in 1957–61, 1977–78 and 1982–84. Data were stratified according to origin and country of birth.

Results: The prevalence of asthma increased dramatically during the years from 10.2 per 1000 examinees in 1957–61 to 111.6 per 1000 examinees in 2003–04. The prevalence of tuberculosis declined and then increased from 0.6 per 1000 adolescents in 1982–84 to 2.4 per 1000 adolescents in 2003–04. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes mellitus increased from 0.2 cases per 1000 examinees in 1957–61 to 0.8 cases in 1977–78 and 1982–84 and 0.9 cases per 1000 examinees in 2003–04. The prevalence of severe heart defects and severe epilepsy declined in the last 20 years (1.4 and 1.7 cases per 1000 examinees in the 1982–84 cohort to 0.4 and 0.3 cases per 1000 examinees in the 2003–4 cohort respectively). The patterns of disease prevalence were different for immigrants: tuberculosis was more common while asthma and allergic rhinitis were less prevalent.

Conclusions: The prevalence of common diseases among adolescents in Israel has changed over the last 50 years. There is a different pattern for immigrants and for those born in Israel.


January 2007
Z. Kaufman, W-K. Wong, T. Peled-Leviatan, E. Cohen, C. Lavy, G. Aharonowitz, R. Dichtiar, M. Bromberg, O. Havkin, E. Kokia and M.S. Green

Background: Syndromic surveillance systems have been developed for early detection of bioterrorist attacks, but few validation studies exist for these systems and their efficacy has been questioned.

Objectives: To assess the capabilities of a syndromic surveillance system based on community clinics in conjunction with the WSARE[1] algorithm in identifying early signals of a localized unusual influenza outbreak.

Methods: This retrospective study used data on a documented influenza B outbreak in an elementary school in central Israel. The WSARE algorithm for anomalous pattern detection was applied to individual records of daily patient visits to clinics of one of the four health management organizations in the country.

Results: Two successive significant anomalies were detected in the HMO’s[2] data set that could signal the influenza outbreak. If data were available for analysis in real time, the first anomaly could be detected on day 3 of the outbreak, 1 day after the school principal reported the outbreak to the public health authorities.

Conclusions: Early detection is difficult in this type of fast-developing institutionalized outbreak. However, the information derived from WSARE could help define the outbreak in terms of time, place and the population at risk.

[1] WSARE = What’s Strange About Recent Events

[2] HMO = health management organization

October 2006
S. Avital, H. Hermon, R. Greenberg, E. Karin and Y. Skornick
 Background: Recent data confirming the oncologic safety of laparoscopic colectomy for cancer as well as its potential benefits will likely motivate more surgeons to perform laparoscopic colorectal surgery.

Objectives: To assess factors related to the learning curve of laparoscopic colorectal surgery, such as the number of operations performed, the type of procedures, major complications, and oncologic resections.

Methods: We evaluated the data of our first 100 elective laparoscopic colorectal operations performed during a 2 year period and compared the first 50 cases with the following 50.

Results: The mean age of the study population was 66 years and 49% were males. Indications included cancer, polyps, diverticular disease, Crohn’s disease, and others, in 50%, 23%, 13%, 7% and 7% respectively. Mean operative time was 170 minutes. One patient died (massive pulmonary embolism). Significant surgical complications occurred in 10 patients (10%). Hospital stay averaged 8 days. Comparison of the first 50 procedures with the next 50 revealed a significant decrease in major surgical complications (20% vs. 0%). Mean operative time decreased from 180 to 160 minutes and hospital stay from 8.6 to 7.2 days. There was no difference in conversion rate and mean number of harvested nodes in both groups. Residents performed 8% of the operations in the first 50 cases compared with 20% in the second 50 cases. Right colectomies had shorter operative times and fewer conversions.

Conclusions: There was a significant decrease in major complications after the first 50 laparoscopic colorectal procedures. Adequate oncologic resections may be achieved early in the learning curve. Right colectomies are less difficult to perform and are recommended as initial procedures.

September 2006
D. Nitzan Kaluski, E. Barak, Z. Kaufman, L. Valinsky, E. Marva, Z. Korenman, Z. Gorodnitzki, R. Yishai, D. Koltai, A. Leventhal, S. Levine, O. Havkin and M.S. Green

Contamination of food with streptococci could present with unusual outbreaks that may be difficult to recognize in the early stages. This is demonstrated in a large food-borne outbreak of streptococcal pharyngitis that occurred in 2003 in a factory in Israel. The outbreak was reported to the public health services on July 2 and an epidemiologic investigation was initiated. Cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. An estimated 212 cases occurred within the first 4 days, the peak occurring on the second day. There was a wave of secondary cases during an additional 11 days. The early signs were of a respiratory illness including sore throat, weakness and fever, with high absenteeism rates suggesting a respiratory illness. As part of a case-control study, cases and controls were interviewed and throat swabs taken. Illness was significantly associated with consumption of egg-mayonnaise salad (odds ratio 4.2, 95% confidence interval 1.4–12.6), suggesting an incubation period of 12–96 hours. The initial respiratory signs of food-borne streptococcal pharyngitis outbreaks could delay the identification of the vehicle of transmission. This could be particularly problematic in the event of deliberate contamination.

August 2006
Z. Kaufman, G. Aharonowitz, R. Dichtiar and M.S. Green
Background: Early clinical signs of influenza caused by a pandemic strain will presumably not differ significantly from those caused by other respiratory viruses. Similarly, early signs of diseases that may result from bioterrorism are frequently non-specific and resemble those of influenza-like illness. Since the time window for effective intervention is narrow, treatment may need to be initiated prior to a definitive diagnosis. Consequently, planning of medications, manpower and facilities should also account for those who would be treated for an unrelated acute illness.

Objectives: To estimate usual patterns of acute illness in the community as a baseline for integration into pandemic influenza and bioterrorism preparedness plans.

Methods: Between 2000 and 2003 we conducted 13 telephone surveys to estimate the usual incidence and prevalence of symptoms of acute illness in the community.

Results: On average, 910 households were included in each of the surveys, representing about 3000 people. The compliance rates for full interviews ranged from 72.3% to 86.0%. In winter, on average, about 2% of the Israeli population (individuals) suffered each day from fever of ≥ 38ºC, and about 0.8% during the other months. The prevalence of cough was higher, 9.2% in winter and 3% during summer. Daily incidence of fever ranged from about 0.4% per day in winter to about 0.2% in the fall. The prevalence and incidence of both fever and cough were highest for infants followed by children aged 1–5 years.

Conclusions: These background morbidity estimates can be used for planning the overall treatment requirements, in addition to actual cases, resulting from pandemic influenza or a bioterrorist incident.

April 2006
G. Ofer, B. Rosen, M. Greenstein, J. Benbassat, J. Halevy and S. Shapira

Background: Debate continues in Israel as to whether to allow patients in public hospitals to choose their physician in return for an additional, out-of-pocket payment. One argument against this arrangement is that the most senior physicians will devote most of their time to private patients and not be sufficiently available to public patients with complex cases.

Objectives: To analyze the patterns of surgical seniority in Jerusalem hospitals from a number of perspectives, including the extent to which: a) opting for private care increases the likelihood of being treated by a very senior surgeon; b) public patients undergoing complex operations are being treated by very senior surgeons, c) the most senior surgeons allocate a significant portion of their time to private patients.

Methods: Demographic and clinical data were retrieved from the operating room records of three of the public hospitals in Jerusalem for all 38,840 operations performed in 2001. Of them, roughly 6000 operations (16%) were performed privately. Operations were classified as "most complex," "moderately complex" and "least complex" by averaging the independent ratings of eight medical and surgical experts. The surgeon's seniority was graded as "tenured" (tenured board-certified specialists, including department heads), "senior" (non-tenured board-certified specialists), and "residents." For each operation, we considered the seniority of the lead surgeon and of the most senior surgeon on the surgical team.

Results: The lead surgeon was of tenured rank in 99% of the most complex private cases and 74% of the most complex public cases, in 93% of the moderately complex private and 35% of the moderately complex public cases, and in 92% of the least complex private and 32% of the least complex public cases. The surgical team included a tenured physician in 97%, 66%, and 53% of the most complex, moderately complex, and least complex public operations, respectively. In both private and public cases, a board-certified (tenured or senior) specialist was a member of the surgical team for almost all of the most complex and moderately complex operations. On average, over half of the operations in which the lead surgeon was a department head were performed on public patients. Among tenured surgeons, those who spent more hours than their colleagues leading private operations also tended, on average, to spend more hours leading public operations.

Conclusions: Private patients have an advantage over public patients in terms of the seniority of the lead surgeon. However, there is also substantial involvement of very senior surgeons in the treatment of public patients, particularly in those cases that are most complex. 

U. Abadi, R. Hadary, L.Shilo, A. Shabun, G. Greenberg and S. Kovatz
March 2006
G. Muhamed, E. Greenbaum and Z. Zakay-Rones

Background: The evaluation of influenza vaccine activity and potency are based on the immune response to hemagglutinin, and protection is indicated when a ≥ 1:40 titer of hemagglutination inhibition serum antibody is present. Neuraminidase, the second surface glycoprotein, may also have a role in protection, but little information on the immunologic response to this component is available.

Objectives: To determine whether any response to neuraminidase is evoked by intranasal immunization with a novel, whole, inactivated anti-influenza vaccine.

Methods: This study was part of a more comprehensive study of mucosal and serum immune response to this vaccine. Fifty-four young adults were immunized intranasally, 9 intramuscularly and 18 received a placebo. Twenty-three elderly people were immunized intramuscularly, and 21 elderly and 17 children were immunized intranasally. Serum and nasal antibodies to antigens N1 and N2 were determined by the lectin neuraminidase test.

Results: Serum response following intranasal vaccination was lower than after intramuscular vaccination, and ranged from 21.4 to 35.3% and 33.3 to 64.7% following intranasal vaccination and 52.2 to 77.8% and 47.8 to 88.9% after intramuscular vaccination, to N1 and N2 respectively. Nasal antibody response was low and was found only after intranasal vaccination, and response to N2 was better than to the N1 antigen.

Conclusions: It may be beneficial if future vaccines would include competent hemagglutinin and neuraminidase, which would afford a higher level of protection.

January 2006
D. Tanne, U. Goldbourt, S. Koton, E. Grossman, N. Koren-Morag, M. S. Green and N. M. Bornstein

Background: There are no national data on the burden and management of acute cerebrovascular disease in Israel.

Objectives: To delineate the burden, characteristics, management and outcomes of hospitalized patients with acute cerebrovascular disease in Israel, and to examine adherence to current guidelines.

Methods: We prospectively performed a national survey in all 28 hospitals in Israel admitting patients with acute cerebrovascular events (stroke or transient ischemic attacks) during February and March 2004.

Results: During the survey period 2,174 patients were admitted with acute cerebrovascular disease (mean age 71 ± 13 years, 47% women; 89% ischemic stroke or TIA[1], 7% intracerebral hemorrhage and 4% undetermined stroke). Sixty-two percent of patients were admitted to departments of Medicine and a third to Neurology, of which only 7% were admitted to departments with a designated stroke unit. Head computed tomography was performed during hospitalization in 93% of patients. The overall rate of urgent thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke was 0.5%. Among patients with ischemic stroke or TIA, 94% were prescribed an antithrombotic medication at hospital discharge, and among those with atrial fibrillation about half were prescribed warfarin. Carotid duplex was performed in 30% and any vascular imaging study in 36% of patients with ischemic events. The mean length of hospital stay was 12 ± 27 days for ICH[2] and 8 ± 11 days for ischemic stroke. Among patients with ICH, 28% died and 66% died or had severe disability at hospital discharge, and for ischemic stroke the corresponding rates were 7% and 41% respectively. Mortality rates within 3 months were 34% for ICH and 14% for ischemic stroke.

Conclusions: This national survey demonstrates the high burden of acute stroke in Israel and reveals discordance between existing guidelines and current practice. The findings highlight important areas for which reorganization is imperative for patients afflicted with acute stroke.

[1] TIA = transient ischemic attack

[2] ICH = intracerebral hemorrhage

Z. Habot-Wilner, H. Desatnik, A. Greenbaum and I. S. Barequet.

Orbital dog bites, although uncommon, occur mostly in children and are reported to be associated with severe ocular adnexal injury without globe involvement.

December 2005
M. Iancovici Kidon, M. Stein, C. Geller-Bernstein, Z. Weisman, S. Steinberg, Z. Greenberg, Z. T. Handzel, Z. Bentwich.

Background: Since 1984, several waves of Ethiopian immigrants have settled in Israel. On arrival they were found to be highly infected with intestinal parasites and to have increased serum immunoglobulin E and eosinophilia. 

Objectives: To study serum IgE [1] levels in Ethiopian children growing up in the environment of Israel . 

Methods: We assessed four groups of children of Ethiopian origin: a) adolescents examined on their arrival to Israel (group 1, n=11); b) adolescents born in Ethiopia and living in Israel for more than 7 years (group 2, n=10); c) children of Ethiopian origin born in Israel, without a history of allergy or asthma (group 3, n=15); and d) asthmatic children of Ethiopian origin born in Israel (group 4, n=8). A thorough clinical interview and examination as well as serum IgE levels, stool parasites and absolute eosinophil count were performed. 

Results: Group 1 (11 newly arrived Ethiopian adolescents) had a mean eosinophil count of 688 cells/ml (0–1739) and a mean serum IgE of 1043 IU/ml (253–2932), P < 0.0009 as compared to group 2. Helminthic parasites were observed in 8/11 individuals; after 1 year of follow-up and anti-parasitic treatment, serum IgE levels did not change significantly. Group 2 (10 Ethiopian born adolescents living in Israel for on average 10 years, 7–15 years) had a normal leukocyte count, MEC [2] 192 cells/ml (range 54–289), serum IgE 142 IU/ml (range 14–399 IU/ml) and no parasites in stool. Group 3 (15 Ethiopian children born in Israel) had a normal leukocyte count, MEC 128 cells/ml (0–324), serum IgE 55 IU/ml (7–189 IU/ml), similar to age-matched Israeli controls. In group 4 (8 Israeli born children of Ethiopian descent diagnosed with asthma), serum IgE showed significant elevation compared to Israeli age-matched asthmatic children (P < 0.005).  

Conclusions: High levels of IgE found in Ethiopian children on arrival to Israel declined to Israeli control levels after several years of living in the new environment. Ethiopian children born in Israel had normal levels of IgE, suggesting that environment is the main factor affecting IgE levels in this population. Israeli born Ethiopian children with asthma had significantly increased serum IgE levels compared to asthmatics of Israeli origin. These findings suggest that both environmental and genetic factors determine the level of serum IgE in these children. 


 [1] Ig = immunoglobulin

 [2] MEC = mean eosinophil count

November 2005
O. Baron-Epel, A. Haviv, N. Garty, D. Tamir and M.S. Green
 Background: Increasing physical activity and thereby reducing a sedentary lifestyle can lower the risk of chronic diseases. Raising the population's involvement in physical activity is a major challenge for public health and healthcare services.

Objectives: To identify subpopulations with a sedentary lifestyle and low levels of adherence to physical activity recommendations.

Methods: The Israel Center for Disease Control performed two national surveys during 2002–2003, interviewing 7,307 Jewish Israelis and 1,826 Arab Israelis over age 21. Respondents were asked if they engaged in physical activity lasting at least 20 consecutive minutes, and if so how frequently: less than once a week, once or twice a week, nearly every day or every day.

Results: Arab respondents were less physically active than Jewish respondents after adjusting for gender, age, level of religiosity, marital status, education, self-reported health, smoking, body mass index, and type of survey. Multiple logistic regression analysis run separately for Jews and Arabs found a more sedentary lifestyle, in both groups, among women, the less educated, those who were married and those with poor subjective health. Among Jews, younger people, increased religiosity, smoking and high BMI[1] were associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Conclusions: The Jewish population is in need of more targeted and specific interventions for lower adhering subpopulations, such as women, the less educated and those with other risk factors. In the Arab population a more thorough understanding of the benefits of physical activity is needed; however, it seems that a general intervention is required to decrease the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle all round.


[1] BMI = body mass index

September 2005
I. Greenberg-Wolff, E. Konen, I. Ben Dov, D. Simansky, M. Perelman and J. Rozenman
Background: Cryptogenic organizing pneumonia is increasingly being recognized as a major cause of diffuse infiltrative lung disease. The differential diagnosis of non-infectious diseases that resemble pneumonia should include this entity. Understanding the radiologic features of this entity will help in defining the correct diagnosis, although lung biopsy is needed to provide histopathologic confirmation. Treatment with steroids achieves an excellent response.

Objectives: To present a variety of radiologic findings on high resolution computerized tomography in eight sequential patients with COP[1], together with clinical and pathologic correlation.

Methods: Sequential HRCT[2] examinations of eight patients (four males) aged 53–80 years (mean 65.5 years) with pathologically proven COP were retrospectively analyzed by a consensus of two experienced chest radiologists for the existence and distribution of airspace consolidation, ground-glass opacities, nodular thickening along bronchovascular bundles, small (<1 cm) and large (>1 cm) nodules. The distribution of radiologic findings was classified as unilateral or bilateral, located in the upper, lower or middle lobe, and central or peripheral. Also recorded was the presence or absence of mediastinal lymphadenopathy and pleural effusion. Correlation with clinical symptoms was analyzed.

Results: All eight patients had bilateral airspace consolidations: in two cases consolidations were limited to central fields, in four they were peripheral, and in the remaining two cases they were both central and peripheral. Small nodules were noted in six cases and large nodules in three. Ground-glass opacities were found in four cases. All patients had enlarged lymph nodes (1–1.5 cm) in the mediastinum. Radiologic abnormalities resolved or improved after steroid treatment in all patients.

Conclusions: HRCT findings of bilateral multiple heterogenic lung infiltrates and nodules associated with mild mediastinal lymphadenopathy in a patient with non-specific clinical symptoms are suggestive of COP; in such cases, lung biopsy is indicated. Radiologic resolution of abnormalities correlates well with clinical improvement under adequate steroid treatment.


[1] COP = cryptogenic organizing pneumonia

[2] HRCT = high resolution computerized tomography

August 2005
E. Konen, I. Greenberg and J. Rozenman
 Background: Chest radiography is still the most frequently performed radiologic imaging study. Digital radiography is gradually replacing the conventional systems.

Objectives: To compare the subjective visibility of normal anatomic landmarks in the chest on storage phosphor-based digital radiographs versus conventional screen-film radiographs.

Methods: Digital phosphor-based and screen-film posteroanterior chest radiographs were obtained during 1 year in 140 asymptomatic patients without any known pulmonary disease (119 men, 21 women; mean age 52.1 years, range 23–86). Both sets of films were independently compared by two experienced radiologists in different sessions. The visibility of each of the following anatomic landmarks was graded from 1 to 3: pulmonary fissures, carina, bronchi to left upper lobe, right upper lobe and left lower lobe, bronchus intermedius, anterior and posterior junctional lines, and vessels behind the heart and diaphragm. Additionally, subjective general quality impression of each radiograph was graded similarly. Statistical analyses were performed using the chi-square test. A P value less than 0.05 was considered significant.

Results: Visibility with the digital images was statistically significantly higher for the carina, left lower lobe bronchus, bronchus intermedius, and vessels behind the heart and diaphragm. Subjective general quality impression of digital radiographs was also higher (P < 0.001). No significant visibility differences were found for pulmonary fissures or junctional lines.

Conclusion: Subjective visibility of anatomic structures behind the heart and diaphragm and at the hilae is significantly improved with phosphor-based digital radiography compared with conventional screen-film radiography. This suggests that pathologic processes such as pulmonary nodules, masses or consolidations projected over those structures may be more easily and reliably depicted on digital than conventional chest X-rays.

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